Rwanda moots deadline to end aid dependency

Thursday December 15 2016

President Paul Kagame speaks during the 14th edition of the Umushyikirano -Rwanda's national dialogue, on December 15, 2016 in Kigali. PHOTO | URUGWIRO

President Kagame has proposed that a deadline be set beyond which the country will stop relying on donor funding.

Currently, Rwanda finances up to 66 per cent of its budget, with lenders and donors taking up the remaining 34 per cent.

At the opening of the two-day national dialogue on Thursday, President Kagame said that “the issue of relying on others to pay for things that benefit us” should be stopped.

He was addressing over 2,000 participants, including members of the diplomatic community.

“It is better to face things the hard way and go straight to the heart of any problem,” he said, adding that it is not dignifying to depend on others to finance your dignity.

“Therefore, among the decisions of this Umushyikirano (national dialogue), we should resolve to set a deadline, which should come sooner rather than later, after which Rwanda will no longer be waiting for what others hand out to us.”


In late 2012 to mid-2013, Rwanda's economic growth suffered disruptions after donors cut aid on grounds that Kigali was supporting rebels in eastern DR Congo. The funding was later restored.

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The president, who is currently leading reforms to make the African Union (AU) self-reliant, is a strong opponent of development aid, even though Rwanda’s reconstruction after the 1994 genocide has heavily been funded by donors.

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President Kagame proposes a model where aid beneficiaries are allowed to contribute to the development process.

“We are at a point in our development where we can get this done if we really put our minds to the task,” President Kagame said.

Now in its 14th edition, the Umushyikirano has been praised as one of Rwanda’s successful homegrown initiatives that brings leaders and citizens together to tackle the country’s challenges in an open and transparent manner.