Burundian refugees to benefit from $1 million AfDB emergency assistance

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The Government of Rwanda and the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, signed a US $1-million (RWF 753-million) emergency assistance grant to Burundian refugees in Rwanda.

The main objective of the assistance is to respond to the urgent and immediate need of procuring sufficient wood to meet domestic needs of refugees and to increase the usage of energy-efficient charcoal stoves to reduce deforestation.

“The increased refugee population, currently estimated at 148,000, and their demand for firewood has put a lot of pressure on the country’s environment and depleted available emergency finance assistance reserves in the National Treasury,” Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, said in a statement.

The implementation of emergency humanitarian relief assistance will be entrusted to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees.

“The emergency support comes at an opportune time when we are looking at environmentally friendly energy alternatives. As the number of refugees continue to increase, we need to come up with sustainable energy solutions,” Seraphine Mukantabana, the Minister for Disaster Management and Refugees, said.

The African Development Bank’s Resident Representative in Rwanda, Negatu Makonnen, said, “The Bank stands in solidarity with the Government in responding to the emergency needs for Burundian refugees and promptly approved the grant facility from the special relief fund established since 1974, to help the Government cope with the refugee crisis.”

The AfDB has maintained good development cooperation relationship with Rwanda in the past 41 years. The Bank’s operations in Rwanda are mainly in infrastructure, transport, energy and water supply, as well as human development, agriculture and private-sector development.