What Is This Man Reading, And Why Is He Smiling? Great News From Rwanda

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As I was surfing various websites tonight, I tried to enter the Rwanda Social Security Board’s (RSSB) website. To my complete surprise, I easily got into the site, and was able to access its latest data.

Why is this great news?

After we continuously exposed how Rwandan pension resources had been captured by the ruling party holding company, Crystal Ventures Ltd, RSSB locked its website. Whenever I tried to enter the RSSB website, it demanded a password – which of course I could not apply for. So I was literally locked out.

Lo and behold, the RSSB website is open – and I was able to get in just now (21h00, September 28, 2016).

This is most welcome because, for a researcher, the pension system and the health of the pension system is extremely important from the perspective of understanding the state of our country. And my interest here is more than the people who rely on it for their retirement income.

Pension funds are also vital pillars for economic and financial market development. Indeed, pension funds constitute some of the largest institutional investors in most countries. Put differently, retirement savings and the associated capital flows are vital feeders into financial markets. And Rwanda is no exception – RSSB funds constitute one of the largest pools of capital. Hence my interest in it.

So what did I just find out from the now open RSSB website?

As of June 2015, Rwanda’s pension funds invested in and outside Rwanda amounted to RWF518 billion or USD643 million. To appreciate how tiny this is, annual foreign aid to Rwanda is more that USD1 billion.

Meanwhile, the management of RSSB assets is in total shambles. As the New Times is reporting today, RSSB has been faulted “for inappropriate accounting and bookkeeping, unreliable financial statements, reckless investments that threaten the sustainability of the pension fund and inadequate monitoring of investments.” http://www.newtimes.co.rw/

But at least RSSB has opened its website. This is great news indeed.

David Himbara

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