1. US/Mozambique Collaboration Strengthened

U.S. Army General Stephen J. Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is visiting Maputo, Mozambique November 16-18, 2021, during an official trip to regional partner countries in southern Africa. This visit reinforces the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting a peaceful, stable Mozambique and region.

In Maputo, General Townsend and U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis W. Hearne met with Minister of Defense Cristóvão Chume and Chief of General Staff Admiral Joaquim Mangrasse. The officials discussed the importance of the U.S.-Mozambique security partnership and progress in stabilizing the situation in northern Mozambique.

“The United States and Mozambique are building a strong security partnership,” said Ambassador Hearne. “We share a mutual goal of establishing and maintaining peace and stability in Mozambique.”

“I came here to discuss with Mozambique’s security leaders our shared challenges,” said General Townsend. “We have a good bilateral relationship and U.S. Africa Command is looking for ways we can strengthen that to address those mutual concerns.”

General Townsend became the 5th commander of United States Africa Command in July 2019. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, U.S. AFRICOM is one of six joint service geographic combatant commands and is responsible for all U.S. military operations and activities to protect and advance U.S. national interests in Africa.

The AFRICOM General’s visit comes one month after Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) made a scheduled port visit to Maputo, an example of the growing U.S.-Mozambique relationship. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense conducted two Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) programs between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Mozambican Commandos and Fuzileiros. The U.S. Department of Defense also conducted tactical combat casualty care and combat lifesaver training courses for the armed forces. Mozambique participated in a second multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express and continues its long-standing participation in the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.

 

2. Continuing Clashes in Mueda

On 18 November, Deutsche Welle reported that Mueda registered new clashes between insurgents and military of the joint forces in Cabo Delgado. The information was confirmed by sources linked to civil society organizations in the province. Last week’s clashes, recorded on 12 and 13 November, resulted in around 40 people being arrested, dead or missing. On Monday 15 November soldiers from the mission of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique (SAMIM) were still searching the area. According to the same sources, another incident involving joint forces and insurgents took place the following day.

The so-called “Islamic State in the Province of Central Africa” (ISCAP) claims the death of four “crusaders loyal to the Mozambican Army” in this incident, according to security consultant Jasmine Opperman on her Twitter account.

In recent days, the district of Mueda has appeared more frequently on the map of the conflict in Cabo Delgado. This is due to the presence and action of joint forces in the coastal districts of the province, which would have forced the insurgents to flee to other districts in the interior of Cabo Delgado.

 

3. Is France using “development aid” to finance the intervention of Rwandan troops in Mozambique?

A report released by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on 21 November 2021 says that last May, Emmanuel Macron declared during a visit to Kigali that France had decided to take its development aid in Rwanda to unprecedented level giving an additional €370 million to finance various development projects in Rwanda. The amount will be managed by the French Development Agency. Rwanda’s Budget for 2021/22 is set at USD 3.7 billion, an increase of USD 330 million over fiscal year 2020/21. The French Development Agency is part of the three main sources of external financing for the Rwanda Budget.

In 2022, the United Nations will pay Rwanda USD 171 million in reimbursements for the costs of peacekeeping operations in various countries. Since the intervention of Rwandan troops in Cabo Delgado is not under the auspices of the United Nations, the question is: who is financing Rwanda’s operations in Mozambique? The United Nations has ruled out the possibility of funding a military intervention in Mozambique. Hanna Tetteh, special representative of UN Secretary General António Guterres to the African Union (AU), stated that “it is important to recognize that in some places the situation is not yet mature enough for peace operations” and that “a purely military response may not be the most effective response”. Rwanda is one of the leading troop-contributing states to United Nations peacekeeping missions. Prior to the deployment of 1.000 troops to Mozambique, there were about 6.550 Rwandan troops serving with the United Nations, mostly in hot spots such as South Sudan, the Darfur region (Sudan), and the Central African Republic. The Rwandan National Police have participated in peace and security restoration missions in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Liberia, South Sudan, and Haiti, and have assignments at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The government in Kigali uses some of the funds to modernize its armed forces and police.

However, the source of funding for the intervention of Rwandan troops in Cabo Delgado is not yet known. During the celebrations of 25 September, Armed Forces Day, in Pemba, Paul Kagame and Filipe Nyusi reiterated that the presence of Rwandan troops is in the context of good bilateral relations between the two states, funded by

the Rwandan government and does not entail future costs for Mozambique. Nevertheless, the truth is that Rwanda is not investing millions of dollars in the military intervention in Cabo Delgado without a cost-benefit perspective,

even if it is in the medium or long term. In October, Paul Kagame stated that the number of Rwandan troops fighting in Cabo Delgado had increased to two thousand men, practically double the first contingent announced in July. Now, the question that arises is how a low-income country would be financing a large-scale military operation with its own funds. Would Rwanda not be receiving indirect funding to support the costs of its intervention in Cabo Delgado? One hypothesis that has been widely put forward is that Rwanda would be receiving support from the French oil company TotalEnergies or even from the Government of France to finance the operations of its troops in Cabo Delgado. TotalEnergies has already informed that it is not providing support to foreign forces, but admitted that the

Mozambique LNG project, of which it is the operator, provides logistical support to the FDS responsible for security in Afungi, the implementation zone of the project.

For its part, the Government of Paris neither confirmed nor denied the allegations about financial support to Rwanda, merely stating that it was following with great concern the situation in Cabo Delgado and that it stood by Mozambique in the fight against violent extremism.

France may be indirectly financing Rwanda’s intervention in Cabo Delgado, through disbursements made by the French Development Agency supposedly for various development projects. During his visit to Kigali on 27 May, Emmanuel Macron highlighted the “re-engagement of the French Development Agency”, initiated at his request in 2019, as “another tangible sign” of the relaunch of the bilateral relationship between France and Rwanda. According to the French Statesman, the re-engagement “is already visible with financial support of more than €130 million in

less than two years in projects ranging from rural electrification to training”. Officially, Rwanda has applied part of the €130 million funded by France to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and to combat vulnerabilities, global warming and gender inequalities. During the visit, Macron also announced that France had decided to take its development aid in Rwanda to unprecedented levels. “€500 million will be committed over the period 2019-2023 around the main priorities of our dialogue with Rwanda, in particular health, digital technology, the Francophone,” said the French President . The additional €370 million announced on 27 May by Emmanuel Macron will be managed by the French Development Agency 4and applied in various sectors such as energy, health, youth, francophone, water, transport,

financial services, milk production, as well as technology and innovation. The French Treasury supported the “Kigali, sustainable city” programme. A donation of €5.8 million is intended to support vocational training and the teaching

of French. In October 2020, Bpifrance, the French public investment bank, and Rwanda Finance Limited, its Rwandan partner, signed an agreement to improve economic and financial cooperation between the two countries .

Also during Macron’s visit to Kigali, Bpifrance signed three memorandums of understanding with the Rwandan Sovereign Wealth Fund – AGDF Corporate Trust. In light of these agreements of 27 May 2021, Rwandan technology

companies will now be able to contact French and European investors and companies through the EuroQuity platform, a service from the French investment bank that aims to support innovative companies in their search for financing and business partnerships.

Another interesting fact is the growth seen in the Rwanda Budget. For the financial year 2021/22, Rwanda foresees expenditure in the range of 3.8 trillion Rwandan francs (Rwf), an increase of Rwf 342 billion compared to the 2020/2021 budget. The Rwf 3.8 trillion foreseen for the 2021/22 budget is equivalent to about USD 3.7 billion, with the Rwf 342 billion increase corresponding to USD 330 million. As with many African countries, including Mozambique, Rwanda’s budget is funded from three sources, namely domestic revenues, loans and grants. For the 2021/22 fiscal year, Kigali plans to finance 67% of its budget through domestic revenues, equivalent to Rwf 2.5 trillion (USD 2.4 billion). A total of about Rwf 1.26 trillion (USD 1.2 billion) will be financed from external sources: Rwf 612.2 billion (USD 591.8 million) from grants; and Rwf 651.5 billion (USD 629.8 million) from loans.

 

4. US DEVELOPMENT CHIEF WARNS EU ABOUT RWANDA COOPERATION:

American official Samantha Power, the head of the U.S. International Development Agency, dropped into Brussels last Friday to deliver a thinly veiled warning to the EU about its close cooperation with Paul Kagame’s regime in Rwanda, which she said does not meet the textbook criteria for a liberal democracy, Eddy Wax writes in to report. Her comments are particularly interesting given the EU is working so closely with Rwanda through the African Union to develop COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the country. “I don’t think that there is an environment on the ground that allows criticism, or that there’s pluralistic party development,” Power said after a meeting with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and EU development ministers. Last month, MEPs urged the EU to up its efforts to get government critic and Hotel Rwanda hero Paul Rusesabagina released from prison.

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