By David Himbara
On January 7, 2019, Rwanda Prime Minister, Eduard Ngirente, promised serious consequences to local authorities who manipulate statistics to exaggerate their achievements. Ngirente issued his warning at a gathering in Bugesera District attended by over 200 local government officials from governors to members of district and city councils across Rwanda. Days after the Prime Minister’s warning, Rwanda Development Board issued the following statistics:
”The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in 2018 registered 173 investment projects in Rwanda worth US$ 2.006 billion…The largest share of the 2018 investment registrations or 49%, was posted by domestic investors.”
Here is the problem — 49% of US$2 billion is US$980 million. RDB would have us believe that domestic investors registered businesses worth of US$980 million in 2018! Who are these Rwandans who registered nearly US$1 billion worth of projects in one year? What kind of businesses did these Rwandans register? This is pure fantasy.
There is a bigger problem. RDB keeps publishing ”registered investments” — which is a mere propaganda exercise. Registering a project is not making an actual investment. Registering a project is an indication of an intent that may or may not materialize. Normal countries report only real investment made in a particular year— not promises. The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) reports annual foreign investment to Rwanda in the normal way. According to BNR, foreign investment increased from US$343 million in 2010 to US$541 billion in 2016. The figures for other years are shown in Table below.
Lastly, the World Bank has raised serious concern about Rwanda’s inability to attract investments, despite its ranking in Doing Busing indicators. As the Bank explains, ”Continued weak private sector response to the improved investment climate remains a key risk.”
Kagame’s prime minister should pay a visit to RDB. They are cooking statistics.