By David Himbara
Rwanda’s statistics are rigged through and through. This is especially true for investment statistics produced by Rwanda Development Board (RDB). There is, however, a more credible source of investment statistics in Kagame’s Rwanda — the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR). There is less room to lie and cheat in BNR because, as the central bank of the country, it is closely monitored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As the IMF points out, it promotes effective central bank frameworks
”through multilateral surveillance, policy papers and research, bilateral dialogue with its member countries, and the collection of data for policy analysis and research.”
So what do BNR’s foreign investment statistics tell us?
There are three types of foreign private capital (FPC) in Rwanda, according to BNR. These are 1) foreign direct investment (FDI), 2) portfolio investment (PI), and 3) other investment (OI). The largest foreign private capital invested in Rwanda is FDI which stood at US$2.2 billion in 2018. PI and OI amounted to US$109 million and US$804 million, respectively. The total cumulative amount of foreign private capital in Rwanda was US$3.1 billion in 2018. The US$3.1 billion of investment has accumulated over a period of twenty years.
BNR’s statistics are in agreement with the data from UNCTAD which tracks global foreign direct investment.
According to UNCTAD, the stock of foreign direct investment in Rwandaexpanded from US$55 million in 2000 to US$2.2 billion in 2018. UNCTAD’s figure of US$2.2 billion of FDI stock in Rwanda in 2018 is precisely the same figure cited by BNR — US$2.2 billion. It is important to point out that BNR conducts annual surveys to determine the amount of foreign private capital in Rwanda. As BNR explains:
”The Foreign Private Capital (FPC) Census 2019 is the tenth in a series of annual censuses jointly conducted by the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR), National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Private Sector Federation (PSF). The main objective of the census was to collect information required for the compilation of the Rwanda Balance of Payments (BOP), International Investment Position (IIP), and the National Account Statistics. This census provided actual flows and stocks of Foreign Investments in Rwanda for the year 2018.”
Forget Rwanda Development Board’s fake statistics.
RDB announced that it ”registered” US$2.4 billion of investment in Rwanda in a single year of 2019, up from US$2 billion in a single year of 2018. In other words, the amount of investment that Rwanda supposedly registered in 2019 is more than FDI Rwanda accumulated over 29 years. ”Registered” is a bogus term — the list of the ”registered” investors includes anyone who merely declared an intent to invest in Rwanda by filling a form and paying a fee of US$500. BNR’s data is based on tangible assets or capital stocks that were transferred to Rwanda. Therefore, forget RDB’s fake statistics and consult BNR’s data if you wish to learn about private foreign capital in Rwanda.