The Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) is the 4th largest contributor to UN missions globally and the 2nd largest continental contributor (source). As well as participating in multilateral missions, at the beginning of 2020, Rwanda started signing bilateral agreements. These agreements offered military support to Mozambique and Central African Republic (CAR) (source). The Mozambique mission was successful at driving out Islamist militants from the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province (source). The international community regards these missions as a type of ‘military diplomacy’ which supports Rwanda’s economic ambitions (source). These missions also help to improve Kigali’s foreign relations (source). As a result, Rwanda is emerging as a reliable security partner for the EU and the US. Rwanda is countering insurgent groups in the region.
Key Judgement 1: In the next 12 months, Rwanda will likely deploy a military mission to Benin to support the security situation at the Northern border.
Key Judgement 2: It is likely that Rwanda military missions will continue to secure economic and political support from the West. This is in order to reduce the influence of Russia.
Key Judgement 3: It is unlikely that Rwanda will face sanctions for their role in supporting the M23 rebel group in the next 12 months because of their strong military missions.