The government has signed strategic financing agreements with its European partners Sweden and Netherlands, which will be injected into specified development projects.
Among the agreements signed included a grant of Euro 44.9 million (about Rwf37.6 billion) from the Kingdom of Netherlands, as well as $8.6 million (about Rwf5.6 billion) from the Swedish government.
Pietre Dorst, the Dutch head of cooperation, said a large portion of the grant will support government’s programmes that emphasise infrastructural and economic growth at district level, while Euro8.9 million will support the Lake Kivu monitoring programme.
Projects to benefit
The Lake Kivu programme aims at ensuring that the water body’s resources, particularly methane gas, are exploited without causing harm to the environment.
The justice sector will also be allocated one million Euros from the funds.
Funds from the Swedish government will be channelled through the National University of Rwanda to support domestic research geared towards improving livelihoods.
At the signing ceremony, the Minister for Finance, Amb. Claver Gatete, said the finance implementation will cover three years up to 2016, focusing on facilitating all districts in the country with technical and financial support to develop and maintain their infrastructure in accordance with rural transformation objectives.
“These funds will boost income activities in the rural areas, such as supporting districts through modernisation of markets and other selling points such as abattoirs and milk collection centres, as well as support the water and sanitation structures,” Amb. Gatete added.
European partners bury hatchet
Both Sweden and Netherlands last year suspended aid to Rwanda, citing allegations that government supports M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo.
When asked whether the financial grants represented a shift in their position, both Sweden and Netherlands representatives acknowledged that Rwanda “is not the problem but part of the solution in DR Congo.”
“We have a good relationship with Rwanda and our development cooperation has continued through this year. What happened was that some disbursements were temporarily frozen in response to serious allegations from the UN Group of experts,” Maria Håkansson, the chargé d’affaires at the Swedish Embassy in Kigali, said.
“Sweden is a small country multilaterally and the UN has always been a strong component of our foreign policy. In such a situation it was very difficult to ignore this kind of information… but obviously Rwanda is part of the solution in the region.”
On his part, Pietre Dorst, the Netherlands Head of Cooperation, said that his country decided to work with Rwanda and other countries in the region to find stability and peace in the region.
“We will continue to work with Rwanda in order to find means to reduce poverty and realise Vision 2020 and have normal bilateral and mutual interests,” Dorst said.