Rwanda Energy and Security

By | June 1, 2022

Economy, energy and environment

The Rwandan economy has experienced considerable growth in recent years. Driven by the good results recorded in the agricultural sector (tea, coffee and other agricultural products for sale), the GDP growth rate should reach 6.5% in 2015, a result in line with previous years. Alongside the large monoculture companies, there are many small or very small family-run farms that practice subsistence agriculture. The service sector offers great growth potential, especially since the program to roll out wireless Internet across the country was launched. The lack of skilled labor and the lack of infrastructure remain severe limits to development.

Rwanda is one of the African countries that have done the most to reform their economy, even if the changes have not achieved significant results in reducing poverty and unemployment. In May 2013, the government approved the second strategic plan for economic development and poverty reduction (Edprs2), through which it aims to achieve an average annual growth rate of 11.5% in the five-year period 2013-18. However, its ability to implement it is limited by the lack of revenue, especially as a result of the reduction in international aid, which has led to a significant deterioration in the budgetary situation. To remedy this, the country is carrying out a series of reforms aimed at making the country an attractive destination for foreign investors: to open a business in Rwanda today it takes only two bureaucratic steps and two days of time.

According to indexdotcom, privatizations of large agricultural and service companies, together with public administration reform, have reduced corruption: according to Transparency International, Rwanda ranked 55th out of 175 countries in 2014. Until 2014 there was a notable reduction in inflation, which fell from 22% in 2008 to 1.8% thanks to a prudent monetary policy. Among the main expenditure items are education, public administration and defense.

At least 28% of the Rwandan population does not reach the minimum level of food security. The informal economy is very extensive, contributing 48% of GDP (in 2008), with direct negative consequences on the capacity of the taxation system.

Kenya and Uganda, in addition to being political allies, are also among the major trading partners. To these has been added in recent years China, which sees in Rwanda the opportunity to relocate manufacturing companies. In 2014, the Rwandan government signed a $ 10 million deal with a Chinese company to build a textile factory in Rwanda.

Defense and security

After the official withdrawal of Rwandan forces from Congo in 2002, the government inaugurated an ambitious army reorganization plan that led to the demobilization of thousands of soldiers and the formation of an elite army of about 33,000 in ten years. Rwanda, with an allocation of around 5,000 troops, is a major supporter of the UN missions. After hosting the Unamir mission during the civil war, which involved a dozen countries and over 200 non-governmental organizations, it participated with its own contingent in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo. Today Rwandan troops participate in missions in Sudan (Unamid), South Sudan (Unmiss) and Central African Republic (Minusca).

Tensions with the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The civil war and genocide of the early 1990s in Rwanda had major repercussions in neighboring countries, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Hutu militias, responsible for the genocide, in fact, used refugee camps in eastern Zaire as bases against the Tutsi government. In October 1996, Rwandan troops entered the DRC, triggering the so-called First Congo War. The Rwandan army supported the Congolese opposition led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila against the government of Mobutu Sese Seko to destroy the Hutu bases in Congo. At the same time he tried to gain control of the exploitation of the important natural resources of the eastern provinces of the country. The attempt by Rwanda and Uganda to extend their influence over the new Congolese government led to the rupture between Kabila and his allies and triggered a further phase of the conflict (the Second Congo War) involving Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia in support of the Congolese government. After the peace accords signed in 2003 in Sun City (South Africa), Rwandan and Ugandan troops withdrew from the country between 2002 and 2003.Cndp), a group opposing the government of Joseph Kabila, son of Laurent-Désiré. The Rwandan army also continued to carry out cross-border raids against the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (Dflr), a Hutu movement opposed to Paul Kagame.

In 2012, relations between Rwanda and the DRC further deteriorated due to mutual accusations of support for rebel groups. If Kinshasa blamed Rwanda for funding the new Congolese rebel militia known as M23 for ethnic and economic reasons, Kigali argued that the DRC was not doing enough to hit the Dflr. Tension has increased over the publication of a report by the M onuc(United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which revealed the involvement of Rwanda and Uganda in supporting M23. Kigali rejected the insinuations, pointing out that it was Kinshasa who protected the veterans of the Interahamwel, the extremist Hutu militias responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The M23 group, led first by General Bosco Ntaganda, accused by The Hague of crimes against humanity, and then by Sultani Makenga, he was stopped by the Congolese armed forces (Fardc, Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) flanked by the Un troops of the M onusco mission (ex Monuc). In November 2013, the rebel group was defeated in Goma.

Even today, the tension between Rwanda and the DRC remains high both for territorial issues, fed by porous borders, and for Rwanda’s lack of commitment to hand over M23 members to the Congolese authorities and for the slow progress of the Kinshasa government in disarming the Dflr..

However, the rebel groups pose a threat to both states and greater collaboration between the forces of the two countries is desirable. On January 2, 2015, the deadline granted by regional leaders to the forces of the Dflr to lay down their arms expired. In February Kinshasa launched an offensive against the Rwandan group. The operation, which initially should have been supported by the A, is mainly carried out by the F ardc. The lack of international support, combined with the difficult territory and the tendency of the Dflr to strike civilians to take revenge for the attacks suggests that the intervention will be prolonged over time.

New escalations, including violent ones, between Rwanda and R dc can not be ruled out. In particular, a failure of the Congolese forces in the fight against the Dflr and a reorganization into a new group of former M23 rebels, many of whom are now in Rwanda, would lead to a quick deterioration of relations.

Rwanda Energy