Rwanda was under increasing levels of scrutiny on Tuesday as France and Germany made public accusations that the country was aiding and abetting armed rebels in the neighboring eastern Congo. Paris and Berlin are the most recent countries to say that Kigali helps the M23 rebels. Before that, the United States said the same thing.
The organization carried out several attacks over the course of several months, resulting in the deaths of many people and the flight of thousands more. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been saying for a long time that Rwanda has been helping the rebels. Now, there are rising concerns that international partners may follow through on their warnings by cutting funding to Rwanda, which has benefited from help in a variety of areas, including health, the military, and others.
During his trip to Congo, the junior minister in charge of development for France issued a warning to the M23, telling them that they “must halt the fighting” and retreat. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou is the person in charge of seeing to it that aid policies are carried out. According to information from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, France’s official development aid to Rwanda went from less than $4 million in 2019 to more than $68 million in 2021 as relations between the two countries got better.
Also on Tuesday, Christoph Retzlaff, the director for sub-Saharan Africa of the German foreign ministry, tweeted that Rwanda should “immediately discontinue” its assistance for the M23 and promptly contribute to a solution to the “disastrous” issue. Retzlaff called the situation in the region “disastrous.” More than 94 million dollars’ worth of official development aid was provided by Germany to Rwanda in 2021.
When asked about the conflict in eastern Congo during his speech last week at the U.S.-Africa summit, Paul Kagame, who has been president of Rwanda for a long time, denied that his country was to blame.
The east of the Congo is a volatile region rich in minerals that are essential to much of the technology around the world. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rebels from the M23 group are said to have broken a peace deal made by community leaders from East Africa last November. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council asked the rebels to leave the country as soon as possible and decided to keep peacekeepers there for longer.