For alleged arms support, Rwanda loses development aid

Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The country's government is starting to lose aid as a result of its alleged support for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by: Commonwealth Secretariat / CC BY-NC

First it was just military funds. Now, Paul Kagame’s government is starting to even lose development aid as a result of its alleged support for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Netherlands announced Thursday (July 26) it is suspending its $6.15 million budget support to Rwanda, BBC reports. This is not the first time the European nation cancelled budget support to Rwanda for the country’s violation of a U.N. arms embargo. In 2008, it also suspended aid to the country for reports of supplying arms to rebels in Congo.

The latest Dutch decision is only one of several donor actions to respond to Rwanda’s alleged involvement in the recent rebellion in northern Congo, which Kagame has denied. The African Development Bank is also delaying the disbursement of a $38.9 million budget aid to Rwanda — a move influenced by Scandinavian countries sitting on the bank’s board, according to the Financial Times. The United States, meanwhile, cut military aid worth $200,000 to the country this week.

Rwanda’s biggest bilateral donor — the United Kingdom — is also delaying aid to the country. U.K. aid to Rwanda is pegged at 83 million pounds ($130 million) a year until 2015.

But Britain is being more cautious on its foreign aid decision.

“Any response would need to be carefully assessed,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told FT, adding that suspending its aid program would “only serve to hurt those who most need our assistance.”

Rwanda continues to face “huge challenges,” according to the U.K. Department for International Development’s operational plan for the African nation covering the period 2011-2015. About 45 percent of the country’s population continue to live in poverty, and a large number of Rwandans rely on agriculture for a living, the department said.

These latest donor actions have stemmed from a U.N. report accusing the government of Rwanda of supplying weapons to the M23 rebels, who defected from the Congolese military in April.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.