Letter to Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America
Dear President Donald Trump
I wish to bring to your attention something that might seem unrelated to you and the United States. The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is giving US$39 Million to an English soccer club. For this amount of money, the club’s players will wear a logo on their sleeves that reads “Visit Rwanda.” The soccer club will also teach Rwandans how to play the game of soccer. By this, President Kagame claims that thousands of tourists will flood Rwanda thereby enabling the country to pay its way out of poverty.
As the largest donor to Rwanda, the United States should be among countries that hold Kagame to account
President Trump, in its January 2017 report, the Rwanda government indicated the United States is by far Rwanda’s top bilateral donor . We must also not forget that the US is the top contributor to the World Bank — which is Rwanda’s largest multilateral donor. In total, aid disbursed to Rwanda in 2016 was nearly US$1 Billion, while accumulated per project aid stood at US$3.5 Billion. The US leads other donors in both categories.
How does a country that receives US$3.5 Billion foreign aid spend US$39 Million on a soccer club?
President Trump, I also wish to highlight the fact that other donors are alarmed by Kagame’s behavior. For example, Dutch MPs have reacted as follows:
“We want to know why a country which receives so much aid from the Netherlands is able to invest €30m in sponsoring the club’s shirts.”
This is not the first time that President Kagame is acting recklessly and abusing those who support Rwanda.
President Trump, you may recall that on March 29, 2018, you gave a 60-day notice for suspending Rwanda from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). As you explained, Rwanda is impeding American exports of apparel products. You concluded that the Kagame government’s actions are contrary to the US trade and investment, as required by AGOA. This is a man who consistently refuses to play by the rules.
President Paul Kagame can’t have it both ways.
President Trump, the people of Rwanda need and appreciate support from the US and other generous nations. Unfortunately, Kagame is biting the hand that feeds Rwanda by seeking to have it both ways. On the one hand, as a head of state in a country where per capita income is a mere US$702, he badly needs massive amounts of foreign aid. But on the other hand, Kagame boasts that he has turned Rwanda into a wealthy nation. We request that the United States unequivocally informs Kagame that he cannot continue to receive billions in foreign aid while squandering millions on half-baked projects.