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EU Considers $42.8mln Aid for Rwandan Troops in Mozambique

Thursday, 20 June 2024 16:12
EU Considers $42.8mln Aid for Rwandan Troops in Mozambique

(Ecofin Agency) - After the Central African Republic, Mozambique sought Rwanda's help in 2021 to restore security in a strategic province for exploiting natural gas reserves. These interventions, which position Kigali as a leading security actor on the continent, have sparked accusations of "economic predation."

The European Union (EU) plans to discuss a new funding package of €40 million ($42.8 million) for Rwandan troops in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province. Bloomberg reported this on June 15, 2024, citing EU officials. The funds, proposed by the most influential EU member states, will come from the European Peace Facility (EPF). They will be used for non-lethal military equipment and air transport for Rwandan Defense Forces stationed in Cabo Delgado.

In 2022, the EU had already provided €20 million to support Rwandan troops in the region. Recently, Rwandan Defense Forces spokesman Ronald Rwivanga announced the deployment of an additional 2,000 soldiers, adding to the 2,500 Rwandan troops and police officers already present since 2021.

Cabo Delgado, rich in gas resources, has faced an insurgency from the jihadist group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, locally known as Shebabs, since late 2017. This insurgency has disrupted major gas projects, including TotalEnergies' $20 billion natural gas complex. In April 2021, TotalEnergies suspended its project following a violent jihadist attack near its site.

In response to a request from Maputo, Rwanda deployed 1,000 soldiers in July 2021 to support Mozambique's armed forces in reclaiming Cabo Delgado. Since then, Rwandan forces have reported several successes, including recapturing the port city of Mocimboa da Praia.

Despite these efforts, jihadist attacks have resumed this year, worsening the security situation just as TotalEnergies plans to restart its project, which is crucial for diversifying the EU's energy supply.

This is not Rwanda's first military intervention in Africa. The country has previously sent troops to the Central African Republic (CAR) to help the government fend off rebel groups during the 2020 presidential election campaign. Alongside CAR's army and Russian Wagner paramilitaries, Rwandan forces helped repel the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), a rebel group formed by former president Bozizé.

However, Rwanda's increasing security role in Africa has sparked accusations of "economic predation," particularly in CAR, where deals for natural resource investments have been struck between Bangui and Kigali. The International Crisis Group (ICG) warned in a July 2023 report that the dual mission of securing and profiting could lead to unrest. Central Africans fear organized exploitation by Rwandan investors who allegedly enjoy unfair advantages from their government. This sentiment, compounded by the secrecy of Kigali's economic operations, might lead to looting and violence against Rwandans.

Several Rwandan companies in construction and mining, such as Macefield Ventures, NPD Limited, and Strofinare Mozambique, have already established operations in Mozambique.

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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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