Britain to give £16m Rwanda aid direct to humanitarian agencies

 

Britain is to give £16m in aid to Rwanda after support for the country was suspended amid claims that its rulers were linked to militias accused of rape and murder.

The cash will be channelled direct to humanitarian agencies rather than paid to the Rwandan government as originally planned.

Ministers have spoken of their dismay over evidence that Rwanda is helping the rebel M23 movement in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

They had planned in November to give Rwanda £21m, but Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, decided to withhold the cash.

An earlier £16m tranche of “general budget support” for Paul Kagame’s government was signed off by her predecessor, Andrew Mitchell, on his last day in office in September.

Ms Greening said yesterday: “This reprogrammed development spend will be channelled through projects that directly reach and protect the poorest people in Rwanda.”

She said money would be targeted on 500,000 Rwandans living in extreme poverty and to pay for almost two million school textbooks. It will also support aid agencies working in refugee camps.

Ms Greening said: “The UK Government remains fully committed to supporting long-term solutions which bring stability and resolve the causes of conflict in eastern DRC and will continue to work with our international and regional partners to achieve this goal.”

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