International Development Committee - UK Aid to RwandaFurther written evidence submitted by DFID

Letter from Andrew Mitchell MP to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

As you know in July I visited the Kivus region in eastern DRC to witness and discuss the impact of the conflict on civilians and MUNUSCO. Based on reports of Rwandan involvement in the M23 mutiny I decided to delay the first £16 million disbursement of General Budget Support (GBS) for the financial year 2012–13. I delivered tough messaging to the Rwandans, including the President, Defence and Finance Ministers, that any support to the mutiny must end. I also sought assurances that Rwanda was adhering to its strict partnership principles on GBS, which I strengthened in summer 2011.

You recently set three conditions against which any decision on disbursing GBS should be based. I judge that Rwanda has moved significantly against two of these: the Rwandan Government has engaged constructively in the ICGLR peace talks chaired by President Museveni of Uganda (condition one). There has been a continuing ceasefire in the Kivus and reporting shows that practical support to the M23 has now ended (condition three). However, there has been no public condemnation by Rwanda of the M23 group (condition two).

Given this reasonable progress, and recognising that the Government of Rwanda has continued to demonstrate its strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving its financial management, I have now decide to disburse half (£8 million) of the delayed £16 million as GBS and to re-allocate the other half to targeted DFID programmes in education and food security. The re-programmed money will put over 60,000 more Rwandan children into primary school, half of whom would be girls. And increase production of key food security crops by an estimated 5,130 metric tonnes.

As we have discussed, this balanced approach reflects my continued concern about the crisis in eastern DRC and Rwanda’s part in that. At the same time it ensures that our response does not undermine Rwanda’s progress in reducing poverty and delivering essential services. After all, cutting GBS entirely would only hurt ordinary Rwandans, denying children an education and damaging our efforts to bolster food security.

Looking ahead it is important that the UK, on concert with others, maintains pressure on the governments in both Rwanda and the DRC to fully resolve the chronic instability in the Kivus. In December I will take a further decision or whether or not to disburse the second GBS payment for 2012–13, including an additional performance payment. I will ensure that both you and the Foreign Secretary are closely consulted in that decision.

I am copying this leter to the Foreign Secretary with whom I have discussed and agreed this approach.

Andrew Mitchell

31 August 2012

Prepared 30th November 2012