House of Lords
Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat)
Following my visit to the Kivus region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in July I delayed the disbursement of general budget support (GBS) to Rwanda because of concerns about the impact of the conflict on civilians in the region and reports of Rwandan involvement in the M23 mutiny. At this time I sought assurances from President Kagame that Rwanda was adhering to the strict partnership principles around GBS which I strengthened in the summer of 2011.
Rwanda has engaged constructively with the peace process initiated through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and there is a continuing ceasefire in the Kivus. Given this progress and recognising that the Government of Rwanda has continued to demonstrate its strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving its financial management, Britain will partially restore its general budget support to Rwanda. We will now disburse half (£8 million) of the delayed GBS tranche and will reprogramme the remaining £8 million. This decision reflects our responsibility to protect the poor, but also caution as concerns remain over Rwanda's involvement with the M23 rebels. The reallocated money will be directly channelled to programmes for education and food security, to ensure that the poorest people in Rwanda are not hurt by this change. It will put over 60,000 more Rwandan children into primary school, half of whom will be girls, and increase production of key food security crops by an estimated 5,130 metric tonnes.
There are still concerns that Rwanda could do more to meet our joint partnership principles in full. This is the first of two budget support payments scheduled for the financial year 2012-13. The next disbursement is due in December 2012. A decision on that disbursement will be made in due course. The UK will continue to closely monitor the Government of Rwanda's role in bringing about peace in the eastern DRC region.