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Sweden withdraws financial support to Rwanda

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Staff writer

newsdesk@greatlakesvoice.com

Sweden is the latest country to suspend aid to Rwanda over arranged Kagame’s involvement in DRC unrest, Great Lakes Voice reports

Sweden has chosen to withhold certain disbursements within the framework of development assistance to Rwanda. This follows the findings of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo concerning Rwandan involvement in eastern DRC, where the security situation has deteriorated. Rwanda has denied the allegations.

“I am concerned about the deteriorating security situation in eastern DR Congo and take a very serious view of the findings of the UN Group of Experts on DRC concerning Rwandan involvement in eastern DRC.

For this reason, Sweden has chosen to withhold certain disbursements within the framework of our development assistance to Rwanda.

For the same reason, we also support the postponement of the decision on budget support to Rwanda in the African Development Bank and in the European Development Fund,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.

For the first time since 2008, the number of internally displaced persons now exceeds 2 million, following the latest clashes that have created several hundred thousand refugees. The fighting and increase in activity from militias have greatly reduced the likelihood of humanitarian aid reaching those affected.

An annex to a report by the UNSC DRC Sanctions Committee’s Group of Experts published in late June identified neighbouring Rwanda as a country that has provided support to the M23 and other rebel groups in eastern DRC, violating existing sanctions. Rwanda has denied the allegations. The Group’s  final report is expected in October.

In connection with the publication of the annex to the UN report, Sweden has chosen to withhold disbursements to ongoing bilateral projects that engage with state structures in Rwanda.

Sweden’s extensive development cooperation in the DRC, combined with humanitarian support, amounts to around SEK 500 million per year. Development assistance focuses, for example, on the health sector and improved governance. Almost all humanitarian support is located in eastern DRC. Sweden is currently preparing a new grant of a further SEK 20 million to a common humanitarian fund in which donors and the UN coordinate their efforts in conflict areas in the DRC.

Swedish development cooperation in Rwanda amounts to roughly SEK 180 million per year and aims to promote democracy and human rights and improve the livelihoods of poor rural people. Sweden decided to end its budget support to Rwanda in 2008, after an earlier report by the UN Sanctions Committee revealed comprehensive Rwandan involvement in the earlier fighting in eastern DRC.

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