Kagame’s government has been officially exonerated by the World Bank from any wrongdoing in regard to falsifying foreign investment data. Strangely, the Bank shifted the blame to foreign investors rather.

By David Himbara

I have over the years shown with evidence how the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) falsifies the volume of foreign direct investment inflows and the employment they create. The World Bank accepts this in its June 2023 Rwanda Economic Update. However, the World Bank exonerates the regime of General Paul Kagame from any wrongdoing and shifts the blame to foreign investors. This is how the World Bank explains its bizarre conclusion:

“The initial investment that firms report when they register with RDB tend to be significantly greater than the realized inflows. Similarly, foreign investors tend to overestimate the number of jobs they expect to create when registering their FDI projects with the RDB…The reasons for the discrepancy are unclear and call for further investigation as they are likely to have policy implications.”

Reprimanding foreign investors for faking the national statistics is peculiar, to say the least. Why do the reasons for the discrepancy “remain unclear” over the past decade? Why has the government not investigated the discrepancy given policy implications? And who is in charge of surveying, collecting and disseminating economic development data in Rwanda? Surely, it is not the foreign investors.

I have been writing about the RDB’s falsification of foreign direct investment over and over again. These were my words on 13, January 2020: “Rwanda’s statistics are rigged through and through. This is especially true for foreign investment statistics produced by the Rwanda Development Board.” On September 29, 2023, I challenged the RDB to enter the annual World’s Biggest Liar Competition. I was reacting to RDB’s astonishing declaration that Rwanda “attracted US$ 1.6 billion worth of transformative investments” in 2022. This is disgraceful. I disputed this with evidence. The World Bank data and UNCTAD statistics showed that Rwanda attracted US$399 million in foreign investment in 2022.

Will Kagame order an investigation into the RDB’s foreign investment data scandal? Stay tuned.