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Cablegate: Rwanda - Diaspora Engagement

P 090900Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6275
INFO AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KINSHASA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY

UNCLAS KIGALI 000548


S/GPI MKWALKER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EINV RW
SUBJECT: RWANDA - DIASPORA ENGAGEMENT

REF: STATE 86401


(U) This cable responds to State 86401. Responses are queued
to questions A-M in paragraph 15. Post POC is Alexander
Sokoloff. Email: Sokoloffaw@state.gov

A. (U): Rwanda's diaspora is a well-established and clearly
identifiable community. The 1994 genocide galvanized
Rwandans living abroad to provide aid to genocide survivors
and contribute economic and human capital to rebuild Rwanda.
According to some estimates, over 1 million of the diasporan
community returned to Rwanda following the genocide. The
Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a "Diaspora
General Directorate" (DGD) to maintain contact with Rwandan
communities abroad. DGD organizes annual diaspora
conferences--the next is scheduled for December 2009. The
Rwanda Diaspora Global Network serves as an umbrella group
for diaspora communities with a specific objective of
promoting solidarity and better communication among Rwandans
living abroad. Other diaspora organizations such as the
Rwanda Diaspora Investment Ltd., channel diaspora funds to
investment opportunities in Rwanda.

B. (U) During the 1994 genocide, most educated and/or
professional Rwandans resident in Rwanda died or fled the
country. Following the genocide, Rwandans from all parts of
the world returned to Rwanda to assist in the rebuilding of
the country. Fifteen years later, diasporans continue to
play a key role in governing the country, supporting families
in Rwanda with remittances, and actively participating in
Rwandan civil society. Many GOR ministers, government
employees and private sector investors are themselves
diasporans.

C. (U) The diasporan community has been active in Rwanda
since the end of the genocide in 1994 and will likely remain
active for the foreseeable future.

D. (U) The diasporan community is leading efforts to attract
investment and micro-enterprise development, job creation,
entrepreneurship and institutional capacity building. There
is no aspect of Rwandan economic development that does not
include a significant involvement by the diasporan community.
Post expects that this level of involvement will continue
for the foreseeable future.

E. (U) As noted in paragraph D, the diasporan community is
intimately involved in Rwanda's economic development
including working towards scientific, engineering, medical
and educational institution building. Diasporans with
backgrounds in these fields have, and will likely continue,
to welcome opportunities to engage in science diplomacy
programs. Until recently the Minister for Science and
Technology in the President's Office was a diasporan

F. (U) The Rwandan government and many in the diaspora
community are bound together, and equally engaged, in
conflict resolution and peace building. This is one of the
main reasons for the diaspora returning to Rwanda. The
diaspora community will likely continue to be engaged in
these processes. To some extent, this engagement could be
translated to other bilateral or regional priorities provided
the Rwandan government "buys in" to the engagement.

G. (U) The diaspora community is actively engaged in meeting
the health, education and welfare needs of Rwandans living in
Rwanda. Engagement includes financial, human capital and
QRwanda. Engagement includes financial, human capital and
political support. Prominent examples of this are the One
Dollar Campaign and the Diaspora Mutual Fund designed to
encourage diasporan support for Rwandan economic development
and providing assistance to genocide survivors.

H. (U) The primary focus of the diaspora and the Rwandan
government is to rebuild Rwanda, provide a foundation for
economic, social and educational development and promote
national unity and reconciliation. Government leaders and
the diaspora community support good governance,
accountability and civic education as essential components of
economic development. Citing Rwanda's past history of ethnic
tensions, the government is wary of ethnic-based divisions
that might rekindle conflict. Its approach to democratic
debate is cautious. The diaspora community supports this
approach, although a significant part of the diaspora is
critical of, and remains opposed to, the government.

I. (U) The Rwandan government and diasporan community
overlap. For example, many key members of the President's
cabinet are diasporans. The Rwandan Ministry of Foreign
Affairs maintains a "Diaspora General Directorate" (DGD)
specifically to maintain contact with Rwandan communities
abroad. The Commercial Bank of Rwanda offers a "Diaspora
Banking Service" and a "Diaspora Mortgage Facility." Rwandan
diasporans play an active role in promoting Rwanda as a
tourist and investment destination.

J-M. (U) As noted above, many of the diaspora community are
currently serving in the Rwandan government. For example,
the Minister of Information is a diasporan who lived in
Washington D.C for 22 years before returning last year to
Rwanda. The former Minister of Science and Technology is
also a diasporan who lived for many years in Atlanta before
returning to Rwanda to serve in the government. In July
2009, he returned to Atlanta for family reasons. With so
many diasporans taking leadership roles in Rwanda, our public
outreach to the GOR, the private sector and Rwandan civil
society has effectively included the diasporan community.
Post has not initiated any programs specifically customized
to the diasporan community living outside of Rwanda.


SYMINGTON

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