Don’t tie aid for Rwanda to RDC situation – says Brookings Institution
Suspending aid to a reforming country like Rwanda isn’t the solution
International Community that frequently puts allegations that Rwanda has been part of DRC problems has this time lost its stance as the country has support of other African leaders and Various Intellectuals in the continent who see the unfairness in the whole issue saying Rwanda seems to be the victim other than the player.
While economic issues such as Foreign Direct Investment and other complex monetary policies dominated discussions at the 7th annual African Economic Conference 2012, which comes to a close today (Friday) here in Kigali, a prominent Kenyan scholar has chosen to shine the spotlight elsewhere.
Writing for the renowned Brookings Institution think-tank, Dr Mwangi S. Kimenyi touched on a topic that few are willing to discuss openly but nonetheless remains pertinent; ‘transparency and interference in donor aid’.
Writing in a first-person account of how President Paul Kagame expressed his frustration with the international donor community in his keynote address to officially launch AEC 2012, Dr. Mwangi – who attended the conference – shared his views on how to handle the volatile situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to Dr. Mwangi, suspending aid to Rwanda is hardly the solution to the DRC crisis.
“My view is that the DRC’s problems require serious focus by the African Union and the international community. Suspending aid to a reforming country like Rwanda is ill-advised,” says Dr. Mwangi.
Rwanda remains embroiled in a saga with Western donors and rights organizations over her alleged involvement in a rebel uprising in the mineral-rich Eastern region of the DRC.
An initial United Nations (UN) report prepared by a highly questionable UN Group of Experts accusing Rwanda of fomenting political instability in the DRC had caused a number of donor countries to suspend aid, such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Most of the donor aid that was suspended has since been re-instated however, as the government fought back by displaying irrefutable proof of its non-involvement in the creation and arming of the M23 rebel group as was alleged.
A second UN GoE report, which was leaked several weeks ago, however, alleged that the mutinous M23 rebels were under the command of the Rwanda government.
There was no significant backlash from that report as the credibility of the Group of Experts remains in doubt, and Rwanda’s winning a seat on the UN’s Security Council overshadowed it.
Mwangi’s position on the matter is not a first, as British Prime Minister David Cameron recently took Rwanda’s side in the ongoing finger- pointing saga, saying investing in Rwanda – despite the allegations – remains “the right thing to do” given Rwanda’s rise from the ashes of despair caused by the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, to become a rare African success story.
Dr. Mwangi also expounded on the issue of just how effective donor aid was to the recipient government, saying that in most instances only a small fraction of the donor aid actually reaches the people it is meant to help, since the donor country deducts expenses such as exorbitant salaries and benefits of expatriate workers – which means that only about 10% of the aid actually makes it to the recipient government.