Colonel Makenga (c.) commander of the M23 rebel movement, stands on a hill overlooking the border town of Bunagana, Congo, Sunday, July 8. Rebels have seized several towns in volatile eastern Congo and have threatened to move on Goma, the major town in North Kivu. (Photo: Marc Hofer/AP)
Kigali: A major global agency said Monday that recent decisions by some donors to suspend some aid will not affect Rwanda – as government has other ways it can cover up the loss, RNA reports.
Fitch Ratings, a US-based debt ratings agency said in a statement on Monday that the loss of aid which has been announced by some donors is “manageable”. Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, Britain and the United States have at different times in recent weeks pulled the plug on aid for Kigali following a contested UN report linking Rwanda to Congolese M23 rebels.
“The amount at stake, about USD40m (0.5% of GDP) so far, seems manageable for the authorities to react to through adjusting public spending and possibly increasing domestic debt issuance,” said Fitch.
Rwanda has dismissed the allegations of role in east DRC latest conflict with a 131-page rebuttal submitted to the UN Security Council. Several other pieces of evidence have surfaced showing how some of the evidence in the report was fabricated. For example, a soldier Captain Saddat Janvier, an alleged M23 rebels, is raised in the report as a Rwandan solder.
New details released in Kigali shows the officer was actually a Congolese army officer with ID #166964208920. A former CNDP commander, Captain Saddat was integrated into the FARDC in 2009. There has been no reaction from DRC or the UN.
In the past weeks, Mr Steve Hege, the coordinator of the UN Group of Experts which wrote the allegations, has himself come under fire over accusations he is an apologist of the Rwandan FDLR rebels – blamed for slaughter of Tutsis. Critics have branded him a genocide denier, and survivors umbrella group IBUKA has petitioned the UN Secretary General to fire him.
In its statement, Fitch Ratings also affirmed Rwanda’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’. The Outlooks are Stable. Fitch has simultaneously affirmed Rwanda’s Country Ceiling at ‘B’ and Short-term foreign currency rating at ‘B’.
“Rwanda’s rating is supported by solid economic policies and a track record of structural reforms, macroeconomic stability and low government debt (22.8% of GDP),” said Fitch.
The simple explanation here is that it means Rwanda can be trusted to pay its debts if it’s to borrow from the global money markets. The ratings also ascertain to lenders that their money could be going to the right country and government with good policies, say experts.
Meanwhile, Fitch also repeated last year’s assessment that the “stability” that has been enjoyed in the country under President Kagame needs to be maintained post his current and last term in 2017.
“President Kagame’s lengthy rule and the stability it has brought highlight the importance of an orderly succession after 2017,” said the agency. “Any threat to political stability would be rating negative”.
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