UK Aid to Rwanda - International Development Committee Contents

1  Introduction

The context for the inquiry

1. 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[1] to the Government of Rwanda as a result of "concerns about what was happening in the Kivus in the DRC".[2] This followed allegations in the addendum to the interim report of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that the Rwandan Government had violated the UN arms embargo and sanctions regime through its provision of both direct and indirect assistance to the insurgent group known as the M23 in the DRC.[3]

2. The M23 group consists of soldiers who participated in a mutiny from the Congolese national army in April and May 2012. Fighting between the M23 and Government forces has displaced 320,000 people in North Kivu, many of whom have fled to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.[4] The ongoing violence, including mass rapes, murder and pillaging, has led to an alarming humanitarian situation.[5]

3. On 4 September 2012, as he left office, Mr Mitchell announced that the delayed budget support would be partially restored, and the remaining £8 million would be reallocated directly to education and agricultural programmes. Because of new arrangements to provide budget support in two tranches, there would be an opportunity to take stock again before the next payment was due in December.[6] The decision prompted much media criticism about the process as well as about the UK's relationship with the Government of Rwanda in the light of the allegations.

Our Report

4. We decided to undertake a short inquiry into this series of events and the implications of it for future development assistance to Rwanda with the intention to focus our recommendations to the UK Government on the decision to be taken in December 2012. We held two evidence sessions, the first with the former Secretary of State Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, and the second with the current Secretary of State Rt Hon Justine Greening MP. We received written evidence from 15 individuals and organisations, some from Rwanda, and some from Rwandans and Congolese living abroad. We are grateful to all those who contributed to our inquiry.

5. In 2011 the Committee produced a report on Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: DRC and Rwanda.[7] As part of the inquiry process the Committee visited the region and noted, among other things, the progress Rwanda had made in reducing poverty. Our conclusions here reflect and build on that experience.

6. Subsequent to our evidence sessions, on 20 November, the M23 entered and took charge of the regional capital of North Kivu, Goma.[8] The UN Security Council has passed a resolution condemning the takeover[9] and Rwanda, DRC and Uganda have had discussions, under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes, to consider how best to restore the government to Goma and produce a long-term regional solution to the violence.

1   General budget support is aid which is channelled directly to the Government of Rwanda's central budget. See para 8. Back

2   Q 1 Back

3   The soldiers claimed their mutiny was to protest against the Congolese government's failure to implement in full the March 23, 2009, peace agreement (hence the name M23), which had integrated them into the Congolese army. Many were previously members of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a former Rwanda-backed rebel group that integrated into the Congolese army in January 2009.The group's senior commanders have a history of serious abuses against civilians.Ev w5. See also Ev w21 Back

4   UN Security Council, Statement by the President, 19 October 2012 Back

5   HC Deb, 23 October 2012, col 214 WH Back

6   Qqs 1, 40 Back

7   International Development Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2010-12, Working Effectively in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: DRC and Rwanda, HC 1133 Back

8   DRC Rebels in streets of Goma, The Telegraph, 20 November 2012 Back

9   UN Security Council, Resolution 2076, 20 November 2012  Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 30 November 2012