By David Himbara
Head of state Paul Kagame and investment boss Clare Akamanzi are lying their way into US$2.4 billion investments that Rwanda supposedly attracted in 2019. The investment arm of the Kagame’s government, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has declared that Rwanda achieved a record high investments in 2019. RDB says it attracted and registered US$2.4 billion of investment in 2019. RDB compares 2019 investments with 2018 as follows:
“The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) registered investments worth US$ 2.46 billion in 2019, an increase of 22.6% from the previous year. In 2018 RDB registered investments worth US$ 2.01 billion. Energy and manufacturing accounted for 75% of all investments registered (45% and 30% respectively).”
RDB then indicates the top five investments registered in Rwanda in 2019 as follows:
“The top five projects registered in 2019 in terms of the size of investment were Rusizi III Energy (US$613 Million), Gasmeth Energy (US$ 442 Million), Ampersand (US$152Million), Remote Estate (US$145Million) and Nots Solar Lamps (US$72Million).”
According to RDB, joint ventures involving foreign and domestic investors contributed 44 percent of the investments versus foreign direct investment at 37 percent and 19 percent by domestic investors. RDB explains why the joint venture performed best:
“The increase in joint ventures is attributed to two major investments registered in the energy sector: Rusizi III Energy (US$613 million) and Gasmeth Energy (US$442 million).”
The categorization of the Rusizi III Energy Project as a joint venture investment involving foreign and domestic investors is bizarre.
Rusizi III Energy is an African Development Bank (AfDB) project financed by foreign aid donors including Canada, Germany, UK, Spain Denmark and Norway. This is how AfDB describes the Ruzizi III project:
“The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, on December 16, 2015 in Abidjan, formally approved US$138 million of loans and grants to finance the Ruzizi III Hydropower Plant Project. Implementation of the project will be carried out at a total cost of US$ 625.19 million. Ruzizi III hydropower plant is part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and involves Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda…Implementation has been possible following a grant awarded…by NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) to finance transaction advisory services for the Ruzizi III Hydropower Plant Project…The grants are used to carry out pre-feasibility, feasibility, technical and engineering designs as well as transaction advisory services. NEPAD-IPPF is supported by Canada, Germany, UK, Spain Denmark and Norway.”
The Kagame government, especially RDB should explain two things. First, how does foreign aid given to three countries, namely, Burundi, DRC and Rwanda become “joint venture investment” involving foreign investors and Rwanda investors? Second and most shocking – are we to believe that the Kagame government does not know the difference between foreign aid and foreign investment?
Foreign aid channelled through a multilateral development agency such as AfDB is just that – aid.
Foreign aid includes grants and “soft” loans where the grant element is at least 25% of the total. This is what AfDB gave to Rwanda together with Burundi and DRC to the amount of US$625 million. General Kagame government is hereby busted. Here is a government that has made lying and exaggerating its socioeconomic performance an art. What a shame.