By David Himbara
Rwanda does not publish gold data for the obvious reason – gold and other minerals are not legitimately traded but smuggled from DR Congo. This thieving is regularly reported by the UN Group of Experts on DR Congo. In their December 2020 report, for example, the UN Group of Experts state that Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold were smuggled to Rwanda in 2020. The UN Group of Experts tracked illicit gold transfers from Bukavu in DR Congo, which were transported to Kamembe Airport in Rwanda, to Kigali International Airport, and then flown to Dubai by RwandAir.
Rwanda has started to publish gold data, however, thanks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF explains how it persuaded Rwanda to change its attitude towards publication of gold export data as follows:
“Rwanda made the following statistical revisions following the BPM6 recommendation: (i) gold exports and imports are explicitly covered in trade statistics, and (ii) non-fuel imports going to warehouses and later re-exported without entering the domestic market are added to imports. The inclusion of non-fuel re-exporting items in imports resulted in a higher current account deficit.”
Forcing Rwanda to publish gold statistics will not end the looting of DR Congo minerals, but it is an improvement, nonetheless. Stay tuned.