This article explores the relationship between the UK and Rwanda, using the lens of the UK Department for International Development’s integrated approach to state building and peace building in fragile and conflict-affected states. It identifies a number of priorities for UK aid under such a framework, but shows that in the case of Rwanda these have not been foregrounded in the bilateral aid relationship. The article suggests a number of reasons for this, arguing that, by refusing to acknowledge or address Rwanda’s deviations from what was considered a positive development trajectory, the UK is becoming internationally isolated in its support for the rpf regime. It concludes that, while this bilateral relationship may support achievement of stability and relative security in Rwanda, promoting such a narrow form of state building is detrimental to more holistic peace building, both nationally and regionally.
Rwanda is not a traditional provider of troops for peacekeeping missions, yet since 2004 it has been the second largest contributor to both the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and its successor the hybrid African Union–UN Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). This paper analyses some of the key motives for Rwanda’s contribution to these missions, situating its actions within a wider framework in which African states benefit in specific ways from being seen to contribute to ‘African solutions to African problems’. Highlighting changing narratives on Africa’s role in international security, I argue that Rwanda’s ruling party has been able use its involvement in peacekeeping to secure its position domestically and to attract or retain the support of key bilateral donors. I briefly explore the implications of these dynamics for Rwanda’s political development, suggesting in conclusion that the focus on building military capacity for peacekeeping purposes may contribute to future African, and Rwandan, security problems as much as to potential solutions.