UK rechannels Rwanda aid

Students at a school in Rwanda. Part of the 16 million pounds aid money from the U.K. to the country will be used to provide textbooks for primary and secondary students. Photo by: Ivo Posthumus / CC BY-ND

Justine Greening is ready to unblock aid pounds to Rwanda but it won’t be through the African country’s government.

The United Kingdom is one of several Western donors that last year suspended general budget support to Rwanda after a U.N. report suggested that the latter is supporting M23 rebels in Congo. Last month, Germany resumed some aid to Rwanda although the money will come in the the form of sectoral budget support.

“None of this funding will be released to Rwanda as general budget support,” the U.K. secretary of state for international development said.

Greening was alluding to the amount of 16 million pounds ($24 million), the bulk of which will be channeled through independent aid agencies and development projects that directly benefit the poorest in Rwanda, such as cash grants or cash-for-work programs. The assistance will also help provide textbooks to primary and secondary students and emergency relief to refugees as well as set up UNICEF early childhood facilities and VSO education support programs across the country.

The move echoes the recommendation made by the chairman of the International Development Committee following the aid suspension.

“Alternative channels for the delivery of aid [in Rwanda] must be explored,” Malcolm Bruce suggested, arguing that while the government cannot risk getting its funds used to support rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “the people of Rwanda need our help and we should not let them down.”

The Department for International Development has not yet announced the use of the remaining 5 million pounds in frozen budget support to the government. The money and future assistance will depend on the Rwandan government’s “full” adherence to the aid agency’s partnership principles, which also form part of the U.K.-Rwanda memorandum of understanding.

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About the author

  • 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.