Kagame claimed Rwanda would achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs)

By David Himbara

Kagame claimed Rwanda would achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) and middle-income level by 2034 after his Vision 2020 flopped. According to the IMF, Rwanda will attain SDGs after 2050.

The International Monetary Fund says that even before the Covid19 pandemic, Rwanda was incapable of reaching SDGs and middle-income level in 2034. The pandemic has made a bad situation worse by sharply curtailing economic growth amidst collapsed revenue collection. IMF calculates that Rwanda will achieve SDGs after 2050 on three conditions, namely, greater private sector participation in SDGs, attraction of larger foreign investment, and more infusion of bilateral and multilateral aid. General Paul Kagame who will be 93 in 2050 might finally see Rwanda emerge from its current membership in the 25 poorest and vulnerable countries in the world.

After classifying Rwanda as one of the 25 poorest and most vulnerablecountries in the world, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published another set of bad news. Rwanda will not achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and middle-income status in 2034 as fantasized by the government of General Paul Kagame. In the current policy circumstances and fiscal constraints worsened by the Covid19 pandemic, Rwanda will achieve SDGs and middle-income status after 2050.

Rwanda’s economy was too weak to address SDGs even before the Covid19 pandemic

Even before the Covid19 pandemic struck Rwanda, the economy was too weak to generate the resources required to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. As the IMF explains,

“Rwanda faced serious development challenges at the onset of the pandemic. Poverty remained high and nutrition indicators disappointed; stunting affected many children, hampering early childhood progress, and in turn affecting learning outcomes; access to qualified healthcare providers was low, and access to clean water and sanitation remained difficult…Only 46 percent of households were connected to the [electricity] grid.”

The Covid19 pandemic worsened the deplorable circumstances in Rwanda in numerous areas. The pandemic sharply reduced economic growth. GDP growth rate projections plummeted to -0.2 percent in 2020. Gross public debt (excluding government guarantees) is set to rise by some 13 percentage points of GDP higher than in pre-COVID projections. As a result, available fiscal resources to invest in SDGs will sharply decline over the medium and long terms. The IMF calculates that “under current policies, Rwanda would meet its SDGs right after 2050.”

What could Rwanda do to avoid this ugly scenario?

The IMF examines various SDG financing options in post-pandemic Rwanda, all of which call for three imperatives. The only way Rwanda would attain SDGs would be to generate additional resources of 15.7 percent of GDP per year – which is a tall order. Another imperative is that Rwanda has to attract a large share of foreign direct investment comparable to the top quartile of its peers’ performance. That way, higher private sector participation in SDGs would substantially lessen Rwanda’s SDG gap. And as the IMF reminds us, financing Rwanda’s SDG will not be achieved without foreign aid by securing additional concessional resources from both bilateral and multilateral donors.

Kagame will be 93 years old when Rwanda achieves SDGs and middle-income level in 2050

According to the 2015 Rwanda constitution, Kagame is free to rule the country until 2034. He will mostly amend the constitution to stay in power arguing that he needs to transform Rwanda into a middle income state by 2050. Assuming he makes it that far, Kagame will be 93 years old. He will have led the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front for 60 years since crossing into Rwanda to wage a “liberation war” in 1990.