Kagame’s 12.2 Percent Economic Growth Claim Is Bogus

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame’s claim that Rwanda’s economy grew by 12.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019 is bogus. Three things happened in agriculture to make such growth rate impossible:

  1. Poor rains negatively impacted tea and coffee, Rwanda’s main cash crops and major exports.
  2. International commodity prices fell.
  3. Kagame closed the common border with Uganda which saw Rwandan diary exports to Kenya and Uganda collapse.

Even Kagame’s New Times already explained agriculture’s poor performance in 2019 as follows:

”the decrease…was a result of a drop in diversified and horticulture products exported to regional and EAC countries, reduced rainfall that affected production, and amount of export in tea and coffee affected by the fall in international prices.”

The New Times quoted James Biseruka, Managing Director of Kagame’s business empire, Inyange Industries Ltd, confirming that the collapse of Rwanda’s dairy exports was partly due to losing Rwanda’s dairy market in Uganda and Kenya. As Biseruka explained to the newspaper,

”A lot of milk was being exported to Uganda and Kenya as they accounted for about 90 per cent of milk export…On the way forward, we are engaged in looking for other export market alternatives such as in DR Congo, and Central Africa,”

For these reasons, it is impossible that the agriculture sector expanded to the extent of contributing 28 percent to GDP growth as claimed by Kagame and the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda. And without agriculture, the rest of the sectors could not possibly lead to a 12.2 percent GDP growth rate. On the contrary, agriculture declined. Overall, Rwanda’s agricultural exports shrank to US$465 million in 2018/2019 down from $515 million in the 2017/2018 year, as reported by the New Times. Beyond the New Times,see the National Bank of Rwanda’s January-July 2019 data which shows that Rwanda’s milk and milk products collapsed by 70 percent.

General Kagame, we give you a red-card for telling a big lie.