Rwanda Development Board Says Rwanda Earned ”Nearly $2 Billion” In Exports In 2017.” Really?

Source: RDB’s 2017 Annual Report

By David Himbara

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says Rwanda’s exports in 2017 were worth nearly US$2 Billion. In RDB’s own words, ”total exports in 2017 increased by 36% compared with 2016 almost reaching $2bn as merchandise exports grew by 58%.” But the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) says the value of Rwandan exports in 2017 were US$943 Million. Therefore, the difference between RDB’s and BNR’s export figures is nearly US$1 Billion. How is this possible?

Rwanda Development Board and the National Bank of Rwanda have some explaining to do.

RDB’s CEO Claire Akamanzi and BNR’s Governor John Rwangombwa should explain the US$1 billion difference in their export statistics.


Rwanda Development Board has defined exports differently from the National Bank of Rwanda. According to RDB, Rwanda had two types of exports in 2017 — namely, service exports of US$998 Million and merchandise exports of US$944 Million totaling nearly US$2 Bilion. But BNR reported exports of US$944 Million. How can two institutions of the same government report two totally different export figures? The difference between RDB and BNR figures is massive — almost US$1 Billion. What are these ”service exports” that RDB talks about? How come BNR does not talk about them and include them in its own statistics? Rwanda Development Board and the National Bank of Rwanda have some explaining to do. One of them is lying. And I bet which one — RDB is lying.

In today’s world, informed decision making is based on the analysis of data and information. This, in turn, requires valid and reliable data and information. Put in another way, without credible data, it is impossible to make an effective decision on any subject matter. A country such as Rwanda that manipulates statistics to impress dooms itself to wrong decisions.