International "Development" Assistance to Rwanda and Good Governance

By Ruth Nabakwe

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 2, 2002

Since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda the country has benefited from a colossal amount of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) from both multilateral and bilateral donors.

According to the latest edition of a Paris based independent bi-monthly French Newsletter ‘’ La letter Du Continent’’ of Indigo publications quotes figures from the Central Projects and External Finance Bureau in Kigali which indicate that Rwanda received bilateral assistance totaling US 258 million Dollars for the 2000-2001 period.

The leading donor countries to Rwanda include Britain (US82 million Dollars), followed closely by the United States with US42.9 million Dollars and Germany ( US32.3 million Dollars).

Other donor countries during the same period included Sweden (US26.9 million Dollars), Netherlands (US25.8 million Dollars,) Belgium and France (US8.9 million Dollars) and Luxembourg (US6.9 million Dollars).

Besides bilateral donors, Rwanda has received multi-lateral Aid with the World Bank leading the multilateral donor pack with some US51.4 million Dollars followed by the African Development Bank US54 million Dollars, The UN Development programme (UNDP) US32.7 million Dollars and UNICEF, US22.8 million Dollars.

While donor assistance is expected to contribute towards Rwanda’s post civil war reconstruction with a major focus expected to be on enhancing health and education infrastructure, the Kigali regime of President Paul Kagame appears to have other plans totally opposed to the overall well being of his people.

Despite an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper launched by Kagame’s government in November 2000 which is expected to reduce chronic poverty in the country, reports from Rwanda expected to demonstrate what the Kigali regime does with all the donor Aid that is continually trickling into the country appear to be much more visibly discerned in the DRC where the Kigali regime has forces occupying the country and who need to be fed, clothed and housed as they continue to plunder and fight in a senseless war.

A report issued in December 2001 by officials in Kigali indicated that the country earned some US 44 million dollars from Coltan exports. Although the officials said that the Coltan, (Columbite Tantalite) used in the manufacture of high technology equipment was found in many Rwandan provinces, a UN Report cited Rwanda as one of the countries engaged in the plunder of Coltan and other mineral resources in the DRC.

According to a new book entitled , "Les Secrets Du Genocide Rwandais- Enquête Sur Les Mystères D’un President (The Secrets of the Rwandan genocide-Investigation on the Mysteries of a President)" recently published in Paris which is currently at the centre of a storm with the Kigali regime and which questions Kagame’s political and economic management,"Rwanda concentrates about 29 percent of it’s annual budget on defence and mainly in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo," a country presently under occupation by the Rwandan army.

The author of the book Charles Onana contends that Rwanda’s balance of payment shows that the government budget was largely supported by external aid to the tune of US 26.6 million Dollars in 1997 to US 51 million Dollars in 1999 which was almost double in a period of two years.

For Onana, this massive amount given to Rwanda without any control has favoured the funding of war in the DRC and generated overall instability in the Great lakes region and not promoted the development of Rwanda as is widely expected.

For instance, Reports on Thursday (March 28, 2002) indicated that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was concerned about the chronic levels of poverty in Rwanda which was aggravated by the civil war. As a result of such poverty levels IFAD provided some us 12 million Dollars to the Umutara province of Rwanda to support community and infrastructure development expected to benefit some 180,000 persons or 42,000 households.

In March 2000 a UN Security Council report cited Rwanda among countries involved in the plunder of DRC resources and questioned the silence of multilateral donors such as the World Bank on the attitude of the Rwandan army in the DRC.

Several other Organizations among them the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have issued reports condemning continuing human rights abuses in Rwanda.

While the RSF recently urged the Rwandan authorities to do all in their power to identify the killers of a Rwandan journalist Jean Marie Hategekimana, the journalist who worked for a pro-government weekly newspaper "Imvaho-Nshya", was just one among many other Rwandans who have fallen victim to Human Rights abuses in Kagame’s Rwanda.

For several months now the former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu has been languishing under House arrest inflicted by the Kagame regime.

Bizimungu and fellow politician Charles Ntakirutinka were quoted Thursday (March 28, 2002) by PANA as saying in a letter to Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza that since they decided to launch a new political party known as PDR-Ubuyanja (the Party for Democratic Renewal), which they say was banned unjustly by the government of Rwanda has been facing what they described as, "regular denials of our fundamental rights and that situation is extending to members of our families".

The difficulties currently being experienced by former President Pasteur Bizimungu just as the pains associated with the murder of the Rwandan journalist come at a time when a New Compact for Development announced by US President George W. Bush stresses that the new US funds would only be distributed to countries that demonstrate good governance, rooting out corruption, upholding Human Rights, adherence to the rule of Law, and investment in the health and education of their people as the essential conditions for the successful development of their people.

But the more Rwanda violates both international and national standards of respect for Human rights in both Rwanda and the DRC, the more Funds the Kagame government keeps getting from a double-standard international community that conveniently chooses to close its eyes to Kagame's Human Rights abuses in Rwanda and says practically nothing helpful to the suffering DRC people on Kagame's illegal armed occupation of parts of DRC. It leaves many wondering which yardsticks are used by donor countries to measure support to regimes such as those of Kigali and the barometer currently being dangled menacingly against viable programmes such as the new African baby NEPAD ostensibly because of a difference of appreciation between largely Western states and African leaders on President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in Zimbabwe.

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