Rwanda: Rebels Return to the Bush

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August 31, 2007: Rwanda has decided to shake up the East African Community (EAC). The EAC is a very loose regional association, the kind of organization that serves as a platform for the pontificating types. Rwanda wants to turn the EAC into an economic union. Rwanda wants the EAC to end trade barriers. The first step would be to "harmonize" tariffs. but the Rwandan government is really advocating free trade. Over time, free trade and liberalized economies produce greater wealth for more people. East Africa is poor. This is a "regional solution" rather than a "donor-driven solution" (ie, aid). Rwanda has the right idea. However, tariffs do more than protect political cronies - they also line the pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Rwanda has a fight on its hands.

August 15, 2007: Bad news from Burundi. After resigning from a ceasefire monitoring team, key members of the Forces for National Liberation (FLN) have reportedly returned to the jungle. The FLN is a Hutu organization and one of its factions was the last to join the peace process. The Burundi government is concerned that the FLN splinter group may try to re-ignite the civil war. Up to this point the UN has regarded Burundi as something of a limited peacekeeping success. The official UN force has been withdrawn, though several international contingents remain in Burundi. South Africa has the largest contingent, with around a thousand troops.

 

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