General Kagame, you reap what you sow

By David Himbara

Kagame’s Fantasy Of Transforming Rwanda Into A Middle-income Country With US$1,240 Per Capita By 2020 Will Remain A Fantasy. Kagame Will Not Achieve That Mirage Even By 2022.

Since 2000, the government of Major-General Paul Kagame has been implementing Rwanda Vision 2020. The purpose of the vision was to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country with a per capita income of US$1,240 by 2020. In 2012, Kagame claimed that Vision 2020 was being achieved. He attributed the purported success to the strengths of Rwanda culture. This is how, in 2012, Kagame celebrated the progress of implementing Vision 2020:

“More than a decade since implementation of the vision began, the results speak for themselves. Out of the 47 indicators in the original Vision 2020; 26% (12) have already been achieved…It is a demonstration of what can be achieved when we give value to ourselves and the work we do when we strive to find solutions from the strengths of our culture.”

It appears that Kagame was fantasizing here. The latest data and projections by the Internation Monetary Fund (IMF) confirm what we have long suspected. Kagame’s fantasy of transforming Rwanda into a middle-income country of US$1,240 per capita income by 2020 will remain a mirage. Kagame will NOT achieve the US$1,240 per capita income even by 2022.

Here are the IMF’s comparative data and projections of Rwanda’s per capita income relative to its East African neighbors for the period 2018–2022.

Rwanda’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$953
  • 2021 — US$890
  • 2020 — US$832
  • 2019 — US$793
  • 2018 — US$776

As shown here, Rwanda will remain a low-income by 2020 with a per capita income of US$832. And Rwanda will remain low income even by 2022 with a per capita income of US$953.

Kenya’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$2,242
  • 2021 — US$2,109
  • 2020 — US$1,995
  • 2019 — US$1,897
  • 2018 — US$1,790

As the regional leader and economic powerhouse, Kenya has already attained a middle-income status . It will move further ahead by 2020 and continue to do so in 2022.

Tanzania’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$1,448
  • 2021 — US$1,359
  • 2020 — US$1,275
  • 2019 — US$1,195
  • 2018 — US$1,118

Tanzania will in 2018 consolidate its middle-income status, as the second largest economy in East Africa.

Uganda’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$917
  • 2021 — US$845
  • 2020 — US$833
  • 2019 — US$769
  • 2018 — US$730

Uganda will remain a low-income country in the same league as Rwanda.

Burundi’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$612
  • 2021 — US$582
  • 2020 — US$529
  • 2019 — US$481
  • 2018 — US$439

Burundi will remain a low-income country as well.

South Sudan’s per capita income, 2018–2022

  • 2022 — US$231
  • 2021 — US$230
  • 2020 — US$214
  • 2019 — US$212
  • 2018 — US$223

Conflict-ridden South Sudan will remain a low income country, too.

General Kagame, you reap what you sow

Dear General, developing a country requires that you win the hearts and minds of citizens. Only then can they genuinely and willingly participate in nation building. This crucial necessity was recognized in the original Rwanda Vision 2020. Let me quote you in this context:

“Vision 2020 is a reflection of our aspiration and determination as Rwandans, to construct a united, democratic and inclusive Rwandan identity, after so many years of authoritarian and exclusivist dispensation. We aim, through this Vision, to transform our country into a middle-income nation in which Rwandans are healthier, educated and generally more prosperous. The Rwanda we seek is one that is united and competitive both regionally and globally.”

General Kagame, the reason you will never transform Rwanda is that you have done the opposite of what you stated in Vision 2020. Instead of constructing a united, democratic, and inclusive Rwandan identity, you built a violent regime that instills terror in society. You are reaping what you sowed.