By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame has US$200 million leftover from the US$620 million debt he raised to pay off the US$400 million debt that built the Kigali Convention Centre and bought aircraft for RwandAir. I bet Kagame will plough the US$200 million leftover into his dream of building an mRNA plant to turn Rwanda into an African hub for producing Covid19 vaccines.Whether Rwanda has basic human capital and scientific foundation to launch a pharmaceutical industry is besides the point for Kagame.
General Paul Kagame has accumulated debt amounting to US$7 billion, of which US$5.2 billion is external debt; US$1.3 billion is domestic debt, and US$514 million owed by the state-owned enterprises. Regarding who the US$7 billion is owed, US$4.1 billion was borrowed from the multilateral bodies, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. US$:640 million is owed to bilateral agencies while US$428.4 million is owed to commercial institutions. The US$620 million Eurobond that Rwanda just raised is to pay off the US$428.4 million owed to commercial institutions. The bulk of the commercial loan to be paid off is the US$400 million borrowed in 2013 to build the Kigali Convention Centre and buy aircraft for RwandAir.
This means that Kagame has about US$200 million change from the US$620 million newly-acquired debt. So, what might the General do with the US$200 million? Kagame has several pet projects – including a mass transit system for Kigali, a railway line from the Tanzanian border to Kigali, and an mRNA vaccine plant to Covid19 vaccines to supply not only Rwanda but the rest of Africa. I bet that Kagame will use US$200 million to build an mRNA vaccine plant. Whether Rwanda has the basic human capital and scientific foundation to launch a pharmaceutical industry is besides the point for Kagame. Stay tuned.