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UK envoy in Rwanda speaks out on changes in DfID operations

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The United Kingdom is one of the biggest development partners to Rwanda.

The two entities were in September merged to form the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The changes will not affect the UK’s development cooperation with Rwanda according to Jo Lomas, the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda.

In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Lomas said that the Department for International Development (DfID) was not scrapped but rather merged for strategic reasons.

“On the second of September, DfID and the Foreign Commonwealth Office Rwanda merged, there was no scrapping of either department. It is now the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The reasoning behind it was to make our international development policy more strategic and joined up,” she said.

The Envoy said that the merger into one entity will address the joint challenges more strategically.

“If you take the instance of working in Rwanda, either in Covid-19 recovery or CHOGM, there are development aspects and political aspects. The idea is to take a holistic view and address the joint challenges more strategically. There is no change to our commitment to continue working in development,” Lomas said.

She said that while development programmes often change depending on the funds available or the partners’ priorities, the merger will not have an impact on the programmes implemented or rolled out.

“Development programmes constantly change depending on what finance is available or what the priorities are. The merger itself will not change that. We still have the same development relationship,” she added.

The adjustment will also not require any changes in approach from the Rwandan government side in development partnership and cooperation.

 “We are not looking for major changes from the Rwandan side, we hope that they see it as a seamless, it is an internal process but also a more strategic approach. Hopefully they will be dealing with us as one body as opposed to different department,” Lomas added.

DfID statistics show that the organization had a planned budget of £57m in 2018/19 and a budget of £54m in the just concluded financial year 2019/20.

DfID commenced engagement with Rwanda in 1998 and works in areas such as social protection, agriculture and education.

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