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Yes Minister

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Do you think announcements by British Government Ministers make any difference at all to people in Rwanda?  If I told the woman in the red cap who walks everyday along the road past my front gate here in Kigali what Douglas Alexander and Jack Straw said today (7th July), would she take any interest? I reckon that the two statements made today would certainly catch her attention.

Genocide poster
Genocide poster

The first was by Jack Straw, Minister of Justice.  He said that the UK is going to change the law on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to ensure that people accused of these crimes since 1991 can be prosecuted in the British courts.  This is to rectify the situation where suspected genocide criminals from the 1994 Rwandan genocide have not been tried because their crimes took place before 2001. This will put right what many Rwandans feel has been a loophole in British justice.

The second was the launch by Douglas Alexander, DFID's Secretary of State of a new UK policy paper on international development.  You can get all the details here, but I want to highlight a few things that we will be following up hard in DFID Rwanda.  He makes the important point that we need to keep pursuing the Millennium Development Goals - so, it's still a big ‘yes' to health, education and clean water.  But the world - and Rwanda - has been changing since the MDGs were established over 10 years ago, and now we recognise even more the importance of climate change, conflict, and economic growth, which underpin all the efforts to get basic services to the poorest people.

My team here are trying to make this a reality.  On climate change we're working with the Rwandan Government to take a leading position in Africa's negotiations running up to the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in November this year.  On conflict we have a project with the Mines Awareness Trust to finally clear the country of all land mines left over from the war of the early 1990s.  And on growth, we are going to give substantial support for Rwanda's entry into the East African Community, boosting trade, jobs and incomes.

UKAid - DFID's new logo

I expect the woman in the red cap may never have known what ‘DFID' meant.  But now we have a new logo that she can recognise: ‘UKaid': it's clear and simple, and I believe it does what it says on the tin.

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  1. Comment by A Nonny Mouse posted on

    Honestly guys, UKAID? I hope someone came up with that in the shower, rather than showering unmarked bills on some corporate branding guru. One whole letter different than USAID. Which is also one letter different to AUSAID. That won't confuse anyone at all, especially if roman characters aren't a native script. Tin label, granted.... but does it make your brand/vision about aid, or about development -- which may or may not have anything to do with provision of aid in a given circumstance...?

    I hope you gave due consideration to other rebrands. Why not Cosmic Relief? AKA The Department for Flash Gordon Saving The Universe?

  2. Comment by Martin Leach posted on

    Thanks for the comment on UKaid: all good points. My opinion on this is:

    1 The UKaid brand is essentially for increasing recognition with the British public of what the Government aid programme does. There is very limited name recognition with 'DFID', and I am fed up with having to explain to people what DFID is - it's not a Welsh county, nor an American NGO. The UKaid brand put alongside DFID will be good for making connections to the really positive development work that we achieve.

    2 The use of the word 'aid' or 'development' is certainly debatable, and I agree that aid and development are not always the same thing. But it is easily understood, and it does not undermine DFID's purpose which is to 'lead the British Government's fight against global poverty'.


  3. Comment by Justine Mbabazi posted on

    I am glad some changes are happening- It was exactly 14years ago when I asked some Representatives from Uk in an Noirobi Conference Why DFID name is not UKAID?? Now that it is happening or about to happen, So much better!!