The European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, has said the EU was aligning its development projects with Rwanda’s national development reforms and priorities.
His comments came shortly after meeting President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro yesterday.
“We do not want our development cooperation to come as a kind of donation. We want to be partners that do not export our views on development but we would like, always, that development changes come from the inside,” the Croatian politician and diplomat told reporters.
Mimica said he welcomed the opportunity to discuss such an arrangement with the President with whom he also discussed other wider and broader peace and security issues in the region where, he said Rwanda was “an important contributor to peace and stability.”
Before meeting President Kagame, he noted that the politico-economic union of 28 European member states would continue supporting Rwanda’s economic development agenda for the next five years.
Speaking during a meeting with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, Mimica said the bloc was satisfied and impressed with how Rwanda used EU grants.
“Infrastructure improvement and better regional connectivity are recognised as one of the important factors stimulating trade, investment and economic growth. The EU looks forward to a continued partnership with Rwanda in terms of supporting programmes in key priority sectors for the next five years,” he said.
“We are also impressed with the excellent leadership in Rwanda and therefore urge the private sector to take full advantage and contribute to the country’s economic development.”
Gatete acknowledged that EU support was contributing significantly to the socio-economic transformation of Rwandans.
“They [EU] also continue to support our regional integration plans through the recently launched Kigali-Gatuna road as well as their contribution to the rehabilitation of Rusumo-Kayonza-Kagitumba road under the EAC framework,” Gatete said.
In June, the EU also approved a grant of €20 million for Rusumo–Kayonza–Kagitumba road project rehabilitation under EAC framework.
Rwanda has in the past received significant support through the European Development Fund (EDF).
In 2003, it received a €218 million; €429.7 million in 2007 and €460 million in 2014 in grants.
The current and eleventh EDF signed in 2004 for the period running from 2015-2020 was allocated to energy (€200 million); agriculture (€200 million); governance (€40 million); capacity building (€10 million); and civil society programmes (€10 million) sectors.