By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame’s prime minister, Eduard Ngirente, publicly acknowledged that falsifying statistics is widespread in Rwanda. Ngirente warned public officials that “providing false figures derails national development and it must stop.” There is one problem. Falsification of achievements and results begin at the very top of the Rwandan state. As the ancient proverb goes, “a fish rots from the head down” — meaning that leadership is the root cause of organizational failure. This is true in Kagame’s Rwanda. The General consistently informs the world that he has transformed Rwanda into an economic lion. Here is an example of Kagame shamelessly falsifying his socioeconomic achievements:
”The World Bank this year ranked Rwanda as the eighth easiest place in the world to start a business. A recent index in Foreign Policy magazine named the country the fifth best investment destination worldwide…In our pursuit of progress, we have of course looked to East Asia’s so-called “tiger” economies for inspiration…So while being described as an “African tiger” is a welcome recognition of how far Rwanda has come, perhaps it isn’t quite right. After all, our continent has its own big cat. Step forward the new lions of Africa.”
Imagine Rwanda as an economic lion with one of the lowest per capita income in the world at US$748. Imagine Rwanda as “fifth best investment destination worldwide.” In 2017, for example, the top five destinations for foreign investment were the US, Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, and Germany. Fifth-Ranked Germany received US$77 billion in foreign investment. Rwanda received a pitiful US$293 million. Now, if Kagame openly lies like this, what do you expect of his ministers and mayors?