The World Bank’s Rwanda Systematic Country Diagnostic, issued on June 25, 2019 challenged Rwanda head of state General Paul Kagame to come clean on the ruling party businesses. In this report, Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL), the largest investment group in Rwanda, owned by the Rwandan Patriotic Front is not mentioned by name. Rwanda Systematic Country Diagnostic calls CVL “Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) holdings (e.g. building materials, security, coffee, and dairy) organized into one holding company.”
Rwanda Systematic Country Diagnostic proposes the following steps Kagame should take to make his ruling party businesses transparent:
- All government and party businesses “should regularly issue audited financial statements to the public because 1) the government needs reliable financial information to guide economic policy, regulation, and investment decisions; 2) leading international private investors who might provide additional equity or debt financing require such information; and 3) Rwandan citizens are all stakeholders, and regular and reliable financial reporting would serve to maintain the public’s trust.”
- All government and party businesses’ “financial statements should follow International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)” because extending the scope of public accountability seems reasonable.
- All government and party businesses “should publicly disclose other important information such as: (a) governance, ownership, and voting structures…; (b) remuneration of board members and key executives; (c) board member qualifications, selection process, roles of other company boards; (d) any material foreseeable risk factors and risk mitigation measures; (e) any financial assistance, including guarantees, received from the government and…commitments arising from public-private partnerships; (f) any material transactions with the government or government-related entities…”
General Kagame, these suggestions are basic stuff known as corporate governance. These are rules and practices by which companies world-over follow to ensure accountability, fairness, and transparency in companies’ relationship with stakeholders. Remember, you lead a government. Its stakeholders are Rwandans. The World Bank has given excellent advice.