VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Ivan Lewis, the visiting British Minister for International Development Friday morning paid a visit to President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village.
Shortly after their discussions, the British Minister told reporters that the “very constructive and open meeting with the President” had dwelt on Rwanda-UK relations and the situation in neighbouring DR Congo.
“We wanted to talk about the positive relationship between the United Kingdom and Rwanda and the progress that has been made over the last ten years,” Lewis said.
He stressed that they were proud of the support that the UK has offered, and are also exceptionally impressed by the leadership of the President in terms of beginning to make a difference for the people of Rwanda in areas such as education and health.
Lewis is in charge of the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK Government Department responsible for promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty, especially in Africa.
DFID is presently helping co-ordinate humanitarian initiatives in DR Congo’s volatile eastern region, and Lewis, who has recently visited the region, gave some further details about what his “frank discussions about the situation in DRC” with President Kagame entailed.
“We stressed the importance, of DRC and Rwanda working together to resolve the issue to ensure that humanitarian aid gets through to those people who most need it, and ultimately, together find a way of disarming the militia who have for too long been terrorizing the civilian population in the DRC,” he explained.
“It was a positive, frank discussion, and it focused on our strategic relationship – UK and Rwanda – which is a very positive one, but it also focused, in a business-like way, on the need for Rwanda and DRC to work together to see an end to the violence,” he concluded.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister James Musoni who accompanied the President at the meeting, said Lewis had visited DFID-supported projects in the country.
Musoni pointed out that the UK assistance to Rwanda was largely in terms of budget support, though some financial assistance was channelled directly into the sectors of education and health.
According to Musoni, the UK gives Rwanda 50 million pounds (about USD100 million), every year, 75 percent of which goes to budget support and the rest to the other UK assisted initiatives.
“They are even planning to increase this for the next three years starting next year,” Musoni revealed.