EU mulls scaling up support to Rwanda

The European Union is considering increasing its bilateral assistance for Rwanda’s development agenda, the bloc’s outgoing envoy to Kigali has said.
Ambassador Michel Arrion speaks to the media after meeting President Kagame yesterday.   The New Times/ Village Urugwiro.
Ambassador Michel Arrion speaks to the media after meeting President Kagame yesterday. The New Times/ Village Urugwiro.

The European Union is considering increasing its bilateral assistance for Rwanda’s development agenda, the bloc’s outgoing envoy to Kigali has said.

Ambassador Michel Arrion was speaking to journalists yesterday after bidding farewell to President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.

Observing that he envisions greater ties between Rwanda and the EU, the diplomat said the latter will soon announce a new seven-year bilateral support to Kigali.

“Within two weeks, we will probably be able to announce an amount for the next seven years. It’s a long term financial envelope of a magnitude above the previous one,” he said, keeping the exact amount of aid undisclosed.

Over the last five years, the EU has been supporting programmes that strengthen the country’s good governance and the rule of law, economic and financial management capacities, trade and regional integration, as well as development of the private sector.

From 2008 through 2013, the bloc spent €294.4 million to foster pro-poor growth and rural economic development, national reconciliation and justice, and in direct funding to the country’s general budget.

Ambassador Arrion said that support from the EU to Rwanda in the next seven years will help in the implementation of the country’s development programmes such as Vision 2020 and the recently launched second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2) which seeks to the middle income economy.

He also praised the country’s macroeconomic performance which was described as “thriving” in recent years.

“We believe that the EDPRS 2 is a good policy and strategy. We just have to align ourselves to the strategy and to respond positively. We are not the only ones to believe that; I think Rwanda’s development partners are willing to accompany Rwanda on this path,” he said.

The outgoing EU ambassador also commended Government for making progress in restoring peace and security, fostering national reconciliation, establishing the foundations for democracy and reforming institutions after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

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