Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: DRC and Rwanda - International Development Committee Contents

1  Introduction

Government expenditure in fragile and conflict-affected states

1. Spending in fragile and conflict-affected states will increase from 22% to 30% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) between 2010 and 2015 according to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). This equates to an increase in annual expenditure from £1,839 million in 2010-11 to £3,414 million in 2014-15.[1] DFID identifies 21 of its 28 (or three out of four) focus states, as being fragile or conflict-affected.[2]

2. The Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, told us that the Government was committed to working in fragile and conflict-affected states because it was the right thing to do, and because it was in our national interest.[3] The World Bank's annual World Development Report 2011 on Conflict, Security and Development pointed out that:

No low income fragile or conflict affected state has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal. People in fragile and conflict affected states are more than twice as likely to be undernourished than those in other developing countries, more than three times as likely to be able to send their children to school, twice as likely to see their children die before age five, and more than twice as likely to lack clean water.[4]

3. The Government's recent paper, the Building Stability Overseas Strategy, also highlighted that conflict detracts from development efforts, and suggested that conflicts cost developing countries the equivalent of 30 years of GDP growth.[5] It also flagged up the interconnections between conflict in certain parts of the world and refugee flows, terrorist activity and organised crime groups which can impact on UK security. The strategy makes comparisons between the high cost of managing conflict through the use of armed forces and the lower costs of preventing or reducing instability.[6] Thus "our security and prosperity" is seen as closely connected with "peaceful development and security across the globe."[7]

4. In fragile states, the mechanisms for managing disputes are "weak, illegitimate or dysfunctional"[8] and this often leads to violence. The Secretary of State pointed out: "until you tackle conflict, it is very difficult indeed for people to lift themselves out of poverty."[9] DFID has a long track record of working in fragile and conflict-affected states and plays an important role internationally in encouraging other bilateral and multilateral donors to do likewise. The Secretary of State noted that DFID was heavily involved in the production of the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development,[10] and DFID has been an active member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's conflict and fragility network (INCAF).[11]

5. Given the priority which the Coalition Government has attached to fragile states, and its increasing expenditure in these states, we decided to examine the impact of its work in this area. We propose to do this through a number of reports. This first one focuses on conflict and fragility in two of the three countries which we visited in June 2011, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.[12] Although most of the examples used in this report are taken from DRC and Rwanda, the conclusions are not necessarily restricted to those countries: many also apply to DFID's general approach to fragile and conflict-affected states.

Our inquiry

6. In June 2011 we visited Rwanda, eastern DRC and Burundi. All three have been caught up in often interconnected violent conflicts, with impacts which have spread across state borders. We did most of our travelling by road and boat wanting to learn more about what was happening on the ground. Our itinerary is included as an annex to this report.

7. Rwanda appeared to us to be a well-ordered country making good progress since the 1994 genocide. The economy has grown by 8% a year between 1998 and 2008, largely driven by the growth in services. It increased its per capita GDP from $200 in 2001 to $525 in 2010.[13] However, 57% of the population still live below Rwanda's poverty line with 37% considered extremely poor and Rwanda remains substantially off-track for Millennium Development Goal targets in maternal mortality, national poverty and use of improved water sources.[14] Nevertheless the Government of Rwanda is confident it will meet all the targets and aims to transform Rwanda into a thriving middle income regional trade and investment hub by 2020.[15]

8. Rwanda is heavily dependent on aid which provides 45% of government expenditure.[16] The UK provided £62 million to Rwanda in 2010-11.[17] Of this, approximately £35.75 million was in the form of general or sector budget support to improve the delivery of key services, for example in education and health.[18]

9. We have discussed in some detail in our 10th report our concerns about DFID's decision, arising from the Bilateral Aid Review, to end bilateral aid to Burundi. As we concluded in our report, Burundi is doing less well than its neighbours with a per capita income of $150 in 2009 and 80% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day.[19] Burundi ranked 166th out of 169 countries in the UN's Human Development Index and is substantially off-track for most of the MDGs. The political situation there is still unstable five years after the end of the conflict. Since our visit we have heard that the situation is deteriorating. As our findings from that leg of the visit are set out in our Burundi report, we have not repeated them here.

10. Poverty levels are high in the DRC with three out of five of its 65 million population living on $1.25 per day and the country is off-track to meet most of the MDGs.[20] We visited Goma and Bukavu in eastern DRC. We did not visit Kinshasa on this occasion, as it is nearly 1000 miles to the west with limited air connections. DFID's programme in the DRC is set to increase substantially from £147 million in 2011-12 to £258 million in 2014-15. Of this the largest sector increases will be for wealth creation[21] and for reproductive, maternal and newborn health. DRC has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world at 670 per 100,000 live births.[22] However, DRC receives relatively little international aid compared to other countries with similar development indicators—receiving only £15.70 per capita.[23]

11. Since the formal end of the conflict in DRC in 2003, fighting has continued in eastern DRC between a variety of militia groups with origins in the DRC and in neighbouring countries, especially Rwanda. Because of this, eastern DRC is host to the largest UN peace-keeping force in the world, the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). For some of us, this was our second visit to the region—our predecessor Committee had visited Kinshasa and Bukavu in 2006 as part of its inquiry into post-conflict reconstruction, and we were able to draw comparisons between the visits.[24]

12. We received written evidence from 25 organisations and individuals including the Government, academics and Non-Governmental Organisations working on conflict issues in Africa. We held three oral evidence sessions with a cross-section of these including International Alert, Global Witness, and Drs Wheeler and Leonard from the Institute of Development Studies. We are grateful to all those who have contributed to our inquiry in writing or orally and especially to the people we met on our visit, many of whom were beneficiaries of UK development assistance.

13. Our report is structured as follows. Chapter 2 looks at the UK Government's approach to fragile states and the implications of the Building Stability Overseas Strategy. Chapter 3 examines different methods of delivering aid in fragile and conflict-affected states. The importance of, and success in, improving governance and accountability to manage the risks of corruption, fraud and political repression is the focus of chapter 4. Finally, chapter 5 looks at multilateral peacekeeping efforts focusing on the UN force in the DRC, MONUSCO.

1   Ev 70. Excludes allocations for Liberia, Malawi, South Sudan and Tajikistan. These figures include programme resources and operating costs.  Back

2   Ev 74. These are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe. This list was updated in May 2011. Back

3   Q 106 Back

4   World Bank, Conflict, Security and Development, World Development Report 2011, p 5 Back

5   Building Stability Overseas Strategy, p 7 Back

6   Building Stability Overseas Strategy, p 8 Back

7   Building Stability Overseas Strategy, p 8 Back

8   Building Stability Overseas Strategy, p 5 Back

9   Q 132 Back

10   Q 111  Back

11   Ev 55 Back

12   We have published a separate Report on the Government'sdecision to end its bilateral programme in Burundi. International Development Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2010-12, The Closure of DFID's Bilateral Aid Programme in Burundi, HC 1134 Back

13   DFID, Rwanda Visit Briefing, June 2011  Back

14   DFID, Rwanda Visit Briefing, June 2011 Back

15   DFID, Rwanda Visit Briefing, June 2011 Back

16   DFID, Rwanda Visit Briefing, June 2011. This figure is for 2010.  Back

17   Ev 70 Back

18   Ev 53 Back

19   International Development Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2010-12, Burundi, HC 1134 Back

20   DFID, DRC Visit Briefing 2011 Back

21   This includes work on the business climate, regional trade, building roads and a new programmeon reform of the mineral sector. DFID, DRC Visit Briefing 2011 Back

22   World Bank, Gender Inequality and Development, World Development Report 2012  Back

23   In comparison Burundi receives £42.30 and Rwanda £60 per capita. See chapter two for details on DFID'said per poor person. Back

24   International Development Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2005-06, Conflict and Development: Peacebuilding and Post-conflict Reconstruction, HC 923-1 Back

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Prepared 5 January 2012