Rwanda Information Portal

NGOs Leaving Rwanda Due to Cut in International Aid?

January 16, 2013 – Sources within the Rwandan Government in Kigali, Rwanda tell AfroAmerica Network that several Non Government Organizations (NGOs) have started to shut down their offices and leaving Rwanda. The flight of the NGOs is consecutive to the drastic cuts in international aid by several Western Governments, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The measures were taken after the United Nations Security Council accused Rwandan Military and Government leaders of forming, arming, and supporting Congolese rebels, known as M23. M23 rebels have been accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their leader, General Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

According to the sources, some of the NGOs are leaving Rwanda, while others appear to have relocated to other countries in the region. A large number of NGOs have already closed shop as of December 2012 or have sent out layoff notices to their Rwandan employees. The expatriates are being relocated to other African countries. The sources add that the diverse effects from the aid cuts have started to show and the devastation is expected if the international aid is not reestablished very soon.Sources in Rwanda who follow the NGOs have observed that as of January 14, 2013, Care International Office in Rwanda has moved to Ziguinchor, Senegal, in Western Africa. Rwanda is located in Eastern Africa.

NGOs associated with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have given layoff notices to their employees that they will soon close, no later than March 31, 2013.
The Netherlands based SNV World has moved most of its activities especially Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy to the neighboring Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC).
Sweden has been supporting the democratization process and Environment in Rwanda through Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). When Sweden cut aid, SIDA started phasing down its programs. In 2011, the aid amounted to US$ 40 million. In 2013, around US$4 billion are appropriated to SIDA for projects around the World. In Africa, the aid that was going to Rwanda will be directed to South Sudan.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has reduced aid to Rwanda and completely severed the aid for 2012 and 2013, directing it instead to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda is a very poor country. Most of its budget is funded through international aid. Western aid amounts to 40-50% of the Rwandan government budget and covers most of the healthcare costs. The aid to private and some parastatal institutions is funneled through international Non Government Organizations (NGOs). These sources bring in the much needed foreign currency reserves and in turn make the Rwandan currency stable. Without that aid, the Rwandan government has no other choice than massive layoffs of civil servants; the military and security forces and teachers may not be paid for long, and the Rwandan currency will most likely collapse in the near future, creating a spiral of inflation.
From sources in Rwanda, since November 2012, after the UN Security Council Report was published, the Rwandan franc has been losing its value against the US dollar and the inflation has been creeping up. The ripple effects from inflation and the lack of foreign currency are expected to create a vicious circle of collapses across the entire sectors of the Rwandan economy: imported goods, including raw materials, construction and transportation equipment, gas, etc. will be so expensive that trading businesses and manufacturing will cease to function and transportation will be paralyzed. Already, the balance of payment, that had been positive for several years, was negative in 2012.
With this nightmarish scenario, security has been deteriorating, with Rwandan rebel attacks in December 2012. If the unpaid military and security forces start engaging in organized crime, and the layoffs and corruption start to weaken state institutions, Rwanda may slide into more tyranny and chaos and the humanitarian situation deteriorate very quickly.

Source: AfroAmerica Network.

January 16, 2013   No Comments

Hotel Rwanda’s Rusesabagina Asks Tony Blair to Denounce Paul Kagame’s Activities in the Congo

Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina calls on Britain’s Tony Blair to denounce Rwanda’s Paul Kagame for his crimes in Rwanda, the Congo and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Jan. 14, 2013 – Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation President Paul Rusesabagina today made public a letter that he sent to Tony Blair regarding Blair’s involvement with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. The text of the letter is below. The letter is also referenced in this article by Ian Birrell, Man Who Turned Amorality Into an Art Form .

Paul Rusesabagina

HRRF’s Paul Rusesabagina

Dear Mr. Blair,

For many years I have been thankful that you have been interested in my beloved Rwanda.  My name is Paul Rusesabagina. You might know my story from the movie Hotel Rwanda, or from my autobiography, An Ordinary Man.

During the 1994 Genocide I tried by every means to reach the outside world and to ask them to help rescue my countrymen from the Hell that we were living in. I could not get any one to listen then. I was very happy that you have been taking an interest in my country now.

However, I hope that you can see what is going on in Rwanda with a clear vision.  I am afraid that you, like many others outside of Africa, have been shown only one side of our country, a kind of African Potemkin Village.

I believe that you do care about Rwanda. But, I also think that you need to see more of the real Rwanda.  A few years ago, my foundation, the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, issued a paper about the Rwandan economy. The paper chronicled the growing gap between Rwandans living in the City and those living in the countryside. Since we authored this paper, things have gotten worse, not better.

We also investigated the healthcare system in Rwanda and issued a briefing paper this summer which I am attaching to this letter.  The report shows that the quality of healthcare services for the elite in Kigali is vastly superior to the level of healthcare that is available to people living in the rural areas. While I applaud the efforts of the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation to increase health care facilities in the countryside, the problem is systemic.

This summer the international community has finally opened its eyes about President Kagame’s activities in the Congo. The UN Group of Expert’s reports have shown that Rwanda is clearly behind the crimes of M23.

Conflict Minerals looted in the DRC and paid for with the lives of millions of innocent Congolese men, women and even children fuel President Kagame’s jets.  The price that has been paid to carry you and President Kagame around on these planes is too high. There is blood on the wings of those planes.

In 1994, I felt that you, and the rest of the international community, turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to our pleas for help.  As I sheltered the 1,268 people at the Hotel des Milles Collines, I vowed that if we made it out alive, I would never be silent when I saw people being slaughtered.  I cannot be silent today. I cannot stand by and do nothing, say nothing, when I know that President Kagame and his M23 thugs are murdering and looting in the Congo everyday.

Mr. Blair, I call upon you to show the moral leadership that I know you are capable of, and denounce President Kagame and his activities in the Congo.  Call him and ask him to stop these deadly activities. Ask him to stop killing, jailing and exiling the journalists and political leaders in Rwanda. You are one of the few people in the world that he still might listen to, please stop him before more innocent people are slaughtered.

Please do not let your personal friendship with President Kagame stand in the way of your conscience. I know that you did not hear our pleas for help in 1994.  Please listen to them today. You have a special relationship with President Kagame, please use it to save lives. Stop President Kagame.

Peace,

Paul Rusesabagina
Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

January 16, 2013   1 Comment