By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame announced on national television that he will never allow Rwanda to suffer the fate of Africa which was savaged by poverty due to leadership corruption, tribalism and nepotism for the past 50 years. The joke is on Kagame. Rwanda is classified as one of the world’s 25 poorest and most vulnerable countries. Besides Rwanda, the poorest and most vulnerable countries are war-torn states of Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Haiti and Yemen.
General Paul Kagame warned his new ministers, General James Kabarebe and Francis Gatare, that he should not put up with mediocrity in his cabinet. Kagame went on to lecture that Rwanda is not the usual African country where political elites have in the past 50 years impoverished fellow citizens while enriching themselves. He added that Africa is a tale of lost opportunities and extinguished hopes due to one characteristic of African elites. Their stranglehold on political power traps Africans in poverty, corruption, tribalism, and nepotism. Kagame concluded that he does not tolerate the chest-thumping and wearers of fancy neckties who preach change that never comes.
The joke is on Kagame. His portrayal of fellow African rulers as architects of poverty put the spotlight on Kagame. Rwanda is one of 25 countries that are classified by the International Monetary Fund as “our poorest and most vulnerable members. The 25 poorest and most vulnerable countries are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.
Meanwhile, with a gross national income per capita of US$930, Rwanda is poorer than the failed state of Haiti whose per capita income is US$1,610 and sits at the bottom of among its eastern African peers, except for Burundi.
Kenya and Tanzania are middle-income defined as countries with a GNI per capita between US$1,036 and US$4,045. With a GNI per capita of US$1,020, Ethiopia is poised to graduate to middle-income leaving Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi at the bottom of the heap in the low-income category. Stay tuned.