In July 2012 the former Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, delayed the payment of £16 million of general budget support to the Government of Rwanda in the light of concerns about the role of Rwanda in the M23 rebellion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In September he re-instated half the aid as general budget support, and paid the other half directly to the education and agricultural sectors. This sparked some controversyabout the decision-making process and about whether the decision was the right one.
Mr Mitchell has assured us that he carried out extensive consultations within the UK Government and with the Government of Rwanda before making his decision. The new Secretary of State agreed that the decision-making process had been robust.
As part of this process, the Prime Minister set out three conditions for the restoration of aid which we believe to be reasonable and consistent with the aid agreement between the UK Government and the Government of Rwanda. These were that 1) Rwanda should engage constructively in the peace process, 2) it should publicly condemn the M23 Group and 3) there should be continuing ceasefire in the Kivus and practical support to the M23 should end.
We did not receive any evidence to back up claims that the former Secretary of State was a "rogue" minister acting without the knowledge of the Foreign Secretary or the approval of the Prime Minister. However the former Secretary of State said that Rwanda had moved significantly against two of the three conditions set by the Prime Minister. We are not privy to all the information and advice upon which he made this assessment, but, on the basis of the other evidence we received, we do not understand how he reached the conclusion that support for the M23 had ceased.
Our main conclusions are:
In the light of Rwanda's progress towards the Millennium Development Goal targets and its poverty reduction efforts, DFID should continue to provide aid to Rwanda;
However, as the Prime Minister's conditions have not been met, general budget support cannot continue;
The Government of Rwanda should unambiguously comply with all three of the Prime Minister's conditions before further general budget support is disbursed;
Until then, DFID should consider alternative channels to deliver its aid;
DFID should consider the wider implications for its aid programmes of continuing unrest in the region and the UK Government should give a higher priority to the regional peace process; and
DFID should place greater emphasis on the human rights aspect of its partnership with Rwanda.