Rwanda resumes economic ties with France


Rwanda plans to repay France a €3-million debt in the next three years, its finance minister said, marking the resumption of economic cooperation between the two countries after four years.

French ambassador to Rwanda, Laurent Contini, said his country was planning to offer the central African nation budgetary support.

Relations between Kigali and Paris have been on the mend and French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Rwanda last month, underlining the importance of Rwanda in the Great Lakes region.
“This agreement is in line with the recent revival of our cooperation with France. The main reason we are signing this particular agreement is to reschedule our outstanding loan,” John Rwangombwa, minister of finance and economic planning, told reporters after a signing ceremony.
“Whatever we pay will be transformed into a grant that will be financing some of our development projects in the country.”

The two countries broke off diplomatic ties in 2006 after a Paris judge accused Rwandan President Paul Kagame and nine aides of shooting down former President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane in April 1994, sparking off the genocide.

Contini said the grants would help finance a rural electrification programme.

Rwanda is spending more than 60 billion Rwandan francs ($109 million) in energy investment programmes. External financing, including loans and grants, account for about half of the country’s budget.