The UK should not provide general budget support to Rwanda in future since, according to the recent UN report, the Government there is continuing to support the M23 Rebel Group fighting in the DRC, MPs on the International Development Committee have demanded.
Sir Malcolm Bruce MP, Chairman of the International Development Committee said:
"We have found no basis for the allegations that Andrew Mitchell acted as a 'rogue' minister in making the decision in September to reinstate general budget support to Rwanda, but in the light of recent evidence we believe general budget support should cease.
The people of Rwanda need our help and we should not let them down, but Britain cannot risk its funds being used by the Government to support rebel groups fighting in the DRC.
Alternative channels for the delivery of aid must be explored."
The Committee has seen the progress which Rwanda has made, using aid effectively, towards the Millennium Development Goal targets and its achievements in reducing poverty. The MPs believe that the UK should continue to provide aid to the country. However, the best way to deliver this assistance should be reconsidered in the light of the evidence, including the recently published UN report, which reveals that elements of the Government of Rwanda have provided support for the M23 rebel group which is causing humanitarian suffering in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Government of Rwanda should meet all three of the Prime Minister’s conditions before further general budget support is disbursed.
The Report also recommends that as one of the largest donors in the region the UK Government should give a higher priority to regional peace processes. Continuing unrest and violence threaten the effectiveness of DFID’s aid efforts which are in danger of being wasted. In addition, DFID should place greater emphasis on the human rights aspect of its partnership with Rwanda.
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 controversy - about the decision-making process and about whether the decision was the right one.
Mr Mitchell has assured the International Development Committee 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 the Committee believes to be reasonable and consistent with the aid agreement between the UK Government and the Government of Rwanda. These were that:
- Rwanda should engage constructively in the peace process
- it should publicly condemn the M23 Group
- there should be continuing ceasefire in the Kivus and practical support to the M23 should end.