Britain is withholding £21m of aid to Rwanda amid concerns that the state is supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it was announced today.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the money, due to be handed over next month, would not be released because the regime of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s had breached agreements.
“This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership principles set out in the memorandum of understanding and, as a result, I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda.”
Violence in DRC has been spiralling, with reports of summary executions by the rebel M23 group and growing numbers of refugees.
The UK suspended the last tranche of £16m of aid in July after an interim UN report highlighted Rwanda’s role in backing the insurgents.
However, Ms Greening’s predecessor, Andrew Mitchell, controversially reinstated the aid on his last day in the job. He authorised £8m as direct budgetary support, and diverted the other half to specific development programmes.
Pressure to halt the aid payments again intensified earlier this month when UN experts presented more evidence of Rwanda’s involvement in fuelling the conflict.
Ms Greening also said today that DfID will provide a further £18m of immediate humanitarian support in DRC, providing emergency food for 100,000 people, clean water and education.