By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame government acknowledges that Rwanda’s mining sector is mostly artisanal with low-level production. Yet, Rwanda’s gold exports are projected to reach US$732 million in 2021. This is a steep increase from Rwanda’s gold exports of US$276 million in 2019. The June 2021 report of the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo documents how the mineral wealth is smuggled from DR Congo to Rwanda.
General Paul Kagame government is the first one to acknowledge that Rwanda’s mining remains “untapped” and that “currently, Rwanda’s mining sector is mostly artisanal” in which production “is low compared to the proven potential.” Yet, Rwanda is exporting an awful lot of gold. According to the IMF and government data published in June 2021, Rwanda exported US$276 million worth of gold in 2019. In comparison with Rwanda’s other mineral exports, they fetched US$100 million. In 2020, Rwanda’s gold exports increased to US$648 million versus other mineral exports of US$83 million. Rwanda’s gold exports are projected to reach US$732 million in 2021, while other mineral exports are expected to reach US$115 million.
So, where does Rwanda get the gold? DR Congo, of course. The latest confirmation comes from the June 2021 report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The report emphasizes the point that the smuggling of Congolese mineral wealth was not limited to gold: “Cross-border smuggling of untagged tantalum and tin into Rwanda continued.” Stay tuned.