Rwanda: Central Bank Chief Economist Kigabo Who Just Died Was a Man of Integrity in Rotten Regime

Thomas Kigabo was a man of integrity in a rotten regime. Chief economist of the National Bank of Rwanda since 2007, Kigabo died of Covid-19 on January 15, 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya. Due to the shambolic health facilities in Rwanda, Kigabo had to be evacuated to Kenya where died a day after arrival.

Since joining the central bank, Kigabo played the leading role in the formulation and implementation of monetary and financial policies in Rwanda. As Chief Economist, Kigabo guided the National Bank of Rwanda and the country itself on strategic priorities and the technical quality of financial and economic statistics and analysis. These tasks were not easy for Kigabo due to fact that the Rwanda regime is addicted to manipulating statistics to overstate its economic achievements. Kigabo’s work was also crucial in informing the negotiations between Rwanda and its principal financiers, namely, the International Monetary Funds and the World Bank.

Kigabo will be remembered for his leadership and supervisory role in data generation, research and analysis at the National Bank of Rwanda and the country’s financial sector. Thanks to his leadership, the National Bank of Rwanda’s data and analyses are relatively credible, unlike statistics from the Rwandan government ministries and departments which are largely manipulated.

Kigabo and I became great friends bonded by our joint efforts for advocating for credible statistics and statistical systems to enable Rwanda to make policies based on evidence. When the Institute for Policy and Research (IPAR) was launched in 2008, I was its founding chairperson, while Kigabo became the deputy chairperson.

Kigabo was widely published, including his 2011 book, Estimate of Money Demand Function in Rwanda and Burundi. Kigabo was a PhD holder in monetary, finance, and international economics and a Masters Degree in applied mathematics. May Thomas Kigabo Rest In Peace.

David Himbara