Sources within the Rwandan Government in Kigali, Rwanda tell AfroAmerica Network that several Non Government Organizations (NGOs) have started to shut down their offices and leaving Rwanda. The flight of the NGOs is consecutive to the drastic cuts in international aid by several Western Governments, including Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, the United States, The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The measures were taken after the United Nations Security Council accused Rwandan Military and Government leaders of forming, arming, and supporting Congolese rebels, known as M23. M23 rebels have been accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their leader, General Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.
According to the sources, some of the NGOs are leaving Rwanda, while others appear to have relocated to other countries in the region. A large number of NGOs have already closed shop as of December 2012 or have sent out layoff notices to their Rwandan employees. The expatriates are being relocated to other African countries. The sources add that the diverse effects from the aid cuts have started to show and the devastation is expected if the international aid is not reestablished very soon.
Sources in Rwanda who follow the NGOs have observed that as of January 14, 2013, Care International Office in Rwanda has moved to Ziguinchor, Senegal, in Western Africa. Rwanda is located in Eastern Africa. NGOs associated with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have given layoff notices to their employees that they will soon close, no later than March 31, 2013. The Netherlands based SNV World has moved most of its activities especially Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energy to the neighboring Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC). Sweden has been supporting the democratization process and Environment in Rwanda through Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). When Sweden cut aid, SIDA started phasing down its programs. In 2011, the aid amounted to US$ 40 million. In 2013, around US$4 billion are appropriated to SIDA for projects around the World. In Africa, the aid that was going to Rwanda will be directed to South Sudan.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has reduced aid to Rwanda and completely severed the aid for 2012 and 2013, directing it instead to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rwanda is a very poor country. Most of its budget is funded through international aid. Western aid amounts to 40-50% of the Rwandan government budget and covers most of the healthcare costs. The aid to private and some parastatal institutions is funneled through international Non Government Organizations (NGOs). These sources bring in the much needed foreign currency reserves and in turn make the Rwandan currency stable. Without that aid, the Rwandan government has no other choice than massive layoffs of civil servants; the military and security forces and teachers may not be paid for long, and the Rwandan currency will most likely collapse in the near future, creating a spiral of inflation.
From sources in Rwanda, since November 2012, after the UN Security Council Report was published, the Rwandan franc has been losing its value against the US dollar and the inflation has been creeping up. The ripple effects from inflation and the lack of foreign currency are expected to create a vicious circle of collapses across the entire sectors of the Rwandan economy: imported goods, including raw materials, construction and transportation equipment, gas, etc. will be so expensive that trading businesses and manufacturing will cease to function and transportation will be paralyzed. Already, the balance of payment, that had been positive for several years, was negative in 2012.
With this nightmarish scenario, security has been deteriorating, with Rwandan rebel attacks in December 2012. If the unpaid military and security forces start engaging in organized crime, and the layoffs and corruption start to weaken state institutions, Rwanda may slide into more tyranny and chaos and the humanitarian situation deteriorate very quickly.
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