Rwanda’s post-genocide foreign aid relations: Revisiting notions of exceptionalism

This article studies donor-government relations in Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide. The notion that Rwanda enjoyed or enjoys exceptional relations with donors because of guilt regarding their inaction during the genocide is widespread in the literature and in policy circles. To assess this myth, the article first looks at aid trends for Rwanda and comparable countries, and then takes an in-depth look at aid relations with two average-size donors: Canada and the Netherlands. It demonstrates that Rwanda is not as exceptional as claimed, but instead should be considered one amongst a group of exceptional cooperation partners. The article further highlights that donors operated informally immediately following the genocide, but soon renormalized aid relations, and that there has always been a complex set of rationales determining donor behaviour regarding Rwanda.

Title: Rwanda’s post-genocide foreign aid relations: Revisiting notions of exceptionalism
Authors: Desrosiers, Marie-Eve
Swedlund, Haley J.
Year: 2019
Periodical: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Volume: 118
Issue: 472
Pages: 435-462
Language: English
Geographic term: Rwanda
External link: https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/ady032
Abstract: This article studies donor-government relations in Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide. The notion that Rwanda enjoyed or enjoys exceptional relations with donors because of guilt regarding their inaction during the genocide is widespread in the literature and in policy circles. To assess this myth, the article first looks at aid trends for Rwanda and comparable countries, and then takes an in-depth look at aid relations with two average-size donors: Canada and the Netherlands. It demonstrates that Rwanda is not as exceptional as claimed, but instead should be considered one amongst a group of exceptional cooperation partners. The article further highlights that donors operated informally immediately following the genocide, but soon renormalized aid relations, and that there has always been a complex set of rationales determining donor behaviour regarding Rwanda.