Monday, 7 April 2014

Rwanda, Tony Blair and the Missionary Position on Africa.

'For the last five years, my foundation – the Africa Governance Initiative – which provides countries with the capacity to deliver practical change, has been operating in Rwanda. Though there have been criticisms of the government over several issues, not least in respect of the fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the progress has been extraordinary'. ( 20 years after the genocide, Rwanda is a beacon of hope, Guardian, Sunday 6 2014 )
So pines Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister of Britain and now a man on a mission to save Syria through advocating intervention there as well as using the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide of 800,000 Tutsis to renew his duty to help developing lands overcome their demons.

The true aim of foreign aid being is to use aid to tie the African governments closer to Britain and so allow UK based companies such as Pella Resources Ltd to extract casselite ( tin ) and tungsten from the Musha and Ntunga mining concessions in Rwamagana District in the east of Rwanda.

UK Development secretary Justine Greening also showed renewed concern for Rwanda in 2013 and putting its development on the right track. That followed on from controversy in 2012 that Kagame's regime was stoking up the war in neighbouring Congo by backing the M23 militia group.

Clearly, between 2012 and 2013 British policy took a decisive swing towards favouring the current President Paul Kagame. Apart from the careers in the beneficent humanitarian development and 'soft power' sector of the British economy, clearly there is a certain interest Britain has in Rwanda.

As for Tony Blair's interest in Rwanda, it gives him a chance to outline what might have been done in Africa back in the 1990s in promoting development and 'good governance' had there been enough 'goodwill'. Hence Blair's 'Africa Governance Initiative'.

The problem is that his close friendship with Kagame was criticised after the Rwandan president was accused of war crimes and authoritarianism in a UN Report, by Human Rights Watch and even the White House. It is said Blair defends Kagame because he believes he can persuade him to reform Rwanda.

But though Rwanda itself is not one of the largest exporter of minerals, neighbouring Congo is-via Rwanda and the process of resource smuggling.Indeed, the M23 rebels are paid for via the revenue accrued from tin, tungsten and tantalum smuggled in from Congolese mines.

Much of the backing given to Kagame from the US and emissaries such as Blair is connected to controlling the resources of war torn Congo in a New Great Game against its main rival in China which seeks to dominate supplies of precious rare earths used in flat-screen televisions, smart phones and laptop batteries.

The idea that cynical realpolitik can co-exist with humanitarian principles on the basis that western involvement for political reason has higher motives in mind and, in any case, the west is better-it gives aid promotes good governance-is both self serving and can only make Africa's condition worse.

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