Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps

By Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation
in collaboration with Emmanuel Hakizimana, Ph.D.,
Université du Québec à Montréal,
and Brian Endless, Ph.D.,
Loyola University Chicago.
April 5, 2009
Chicago, Illinois.

Paul Rusesabagina Commemorates 15th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide
Report on Rwandan Poverty & Plea for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission
April 6, 2009

Paul Rusesabagina, Founder and President of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, spoke about today’s 15th Anniversary of the beginning of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

Rusesabagina said, “The memory of the genocide is never far from my thoughts. As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the tragedy in Rwanda, I am hopeful that the international community will work with us to build a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the African Great Lakes Region so that we can create a peaceful future. To that end, the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation has issued a report about the economic inequalities in today’s Rwanda. We want to make sure that the tensions in Rwanda today do not lead to another tragedy. We hope this report alerts the donor community to the problems that could lay the groundwork for increased violence.”

The report, entitled “Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps” is an economic analysis of the situation in Rwanda today prepared by the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation in collaboration with Emmanuel Hakizimana, Ph.D., Université du Québec à Montréal and Brian Endless, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago.

Some of the key findings include:

. Members of one minority tribe (the Tutsis) have seven times more representation in the government, per-capita, than members of the majority tribe (the Hutus).

. In a discriminatory measure, the government recently banned the use of the French language in teaching and administration, despite the fact that the vast majority of Rwandans speak French in addition to Kinyarwanda. French has been used for decades as the language of commerce, education and law in Rwanda. French speaking Rwandans now find their entire careers and livelihoods at risk.

. Rwanda has gone from being a “low-inequality” country in the 1980’s to being in the world’s bottom 15% in terms of inequality today.

. One-third of Rwanda’s population now suffers from nutritional deficiencies, and life expectancy is among the 20 lowest in the world at only 44 years.

. Wealth and power are concentrated in the cities, the government’s stronghold, leaving 92% of the poor in underrepresented rural areas.

The full report is available in both English and French:
Rwanda Today: When Foreign Aid Hurts More Than It Helps

Le Rwanda actuel : Quand l’Aide étrangère fait plus de Mal que de Bien

Related Materials:
Country profile: Rwanda - BBC Africa

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