Where does Rwanda’s money go? Where does Paul Kagame’s wealth come from?

By Arnold Gakuba

Introduction

In this article, two main questions are asked: Where does Rwanda’s money go? Where does Paul Kagame’s wealth come from? The Rwandan has researched on these questions to find out the response.  

Rwanda: the country to receive a large amount of aid

For more than 20 years, Rwanda has been one of the first countries in the world to benefit from Public Development Aid (PDA).

Graph showing the evolution of the granting of development aid to Rwanda 1960-2019 (in billion US dollars)

Over the five-year period from 2013 to 2017, according to the latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and proportionally to its population, Rwanda was the third largest recipient of foreign aid. The entire African continent (excluding countries with war, such as South Sudan, and very small countries with less than a million inhabitants, mainly islands). With an annual budget of $ 1.116 billion on average, it has been overtaken, per capita, only by Liberia and Sierra Leone (two English-speaking countries that are among the three poorest countries in West Africa, with Niger). Rwanda received 81% and 91% aid per capita.

These massive funding that Paul Kagame regime receives is mainly given by the United States and the United Kingdom, which clearly shows that Rwanda is particularly “targeted” by American and British aid. Given the great poverty that still afflicts the country (apart from its Capital City-Kigali), the very small size of the Rwandan territory (which would make the entire territory easily accessible, and much easier the implementation of a national development policy). The legitimate question to ask is, therefore, where is the money going?

Do Rwandans benefit from this aid?

The answer is straightforward. Rwanda is one of the poorest countries on the continent, with a GDP per capita of just $ 773 at the beginning of 2019, according to data provided by the World Bank. This is a lower level than that of many countries of sub-Saharan Africa that have poor natural resources, such as Senegal ($ 1,522, or + 97%), Mali ($ 901, or + 17%), Benin ($ 902, or + 17%) or Ivory Coast ($ 1,715, or +122%). A very significant gap with the latter country, but which has nevertheless not allowed Rwanda to achieve greater or equal economic growth over the last seven years (period 2012-2018).

From 2014 to 2018, the populations in Southern and North-eastern Rwanda were hit by a severe food crisis, following a drought that also affected other countries in East Africa. However, the Rwandan Government was the last of the governments in the region to recognize this dramatic situation and to ask, on the sly in 2016, for the support of the World Food Program (WFP, one of the UN structures), thus preferring to leave deteriorate the health of part of the population rather than publicize its failure to meet the most basic needs of the country’s inhabitants. What an attitude of the regime that claims itself to be popular?

In addition to the food crisis that has gripped Rwanda in recent years and continues nowadays, there is another structural problem affecting, to varying degrees, all rural regions of the country: that of chronic malnutrition among less than five years old children. According to the latest data available (published by the UN), 37% of Rwandan children of this age group were affected by this problem in 2017. This shows the diversion of aids given to the Government of Rwanda. What exactly these aids do?

As an example, here is what the aid granted to Rwanda does for the economic development of its population. According to (https: //www.musabyimana. Net /), Paul Kagame has two private jets through Crystal Ventures, an RPF-owned company chaired by Paul Kagame. Each time Kagame travels, these planes are hired by the Rwandan Government which pays the company of which Paul Kagame is in control; a beautiful way that Paul Kagame uses to plunder the country. Renting this kind of plane costs a huge fortune. To get an order of prices for this type of rental, here is what the site https: //www.aircharters erviceusa.com/ indicates for aircraft in the Gulfstream category:

AircraftCapacityCruising SpeedCost per hour flight  timeMax flight time
Bombardier Challenger 85016 Passengers850 KM/H / 528 MPH$11,5005 Hours
Gulfstream G30014 Passengers819 KM/H / 508 MPH$13,5006 Hours
Gulfstream G55016 Passengers850 KM/H / 528 MPH$14,00014 Hours
Airbus A31919 Passengers850 KM/H / 528 MPH$20,0008 Hours
Boeing BBJ25 – 50 Passengers870 KM/H / 541 MPH$20,00012 Hours

As it can be observed from the table above, the posted prices for Gulfstream aircraft ($ 13,500 for 6 hours or $ 14,000 for 2 hours) give the magnitude of the expenses made on each trip of the President. To this must be added the costs of food and accommodation. While in New York (USA) where he attended the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, Paul Kagame stayed in a hotel that costs $ 20,000 a night. When you have to add other costs incurred by a whole team that accompanies him: members of the delegation, flight attendants, bodyguards, etc.), the total count makes you dizzy.

Rwandan subsoil and economic ambiguity

Since 2013, Rwanda has been the world’s largest producer and exporter of tantalum, a strategic mineral from an ore called coltan. In 2013, the country exported 2,466,025 kg of tantalum, or 28% of world production. According to data from the Rwandan National Bank (BNR), in 2013 the country recorded $ 226.2 million in mining revenues, with $ 134.5 million coming from coltan alone. Couldn’t this export of minerals be an element that would increase Rwanda’s economic development? Notwithstanding, Rwanda is among the ten poorest countries in the world with 62.2% of the population living below the poverty line (US $ 1.90 per day). Where does this huge amount of money really go?

However, the Rwandan subsoil is very poor in coltan, of which the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone holds more than 60% of the world’s reserves (although scattered over several continents). This paradox can be explained, simply and sadly, by the massive and systematic looting of the natural wealthy in Eastern DRC, a country neighboring Rwanda. This clearly explains Paul Kagame’s desire to perpetuate insecurity in the Eastern DRC.

Paul Kagame: one of the richest people in Africa

According to the US business Magazine Forbes, Paul Kagame was placed among the top 10 richest kings and presidents of Africa in 2019 with a capital of 500 million US dollars. Apart from the looting of minerals from Eastern DRC, President Paul Kagame is said to benefit from development aid from Rwanda. This causes the country to fall into total poverty where a big number of the population lives under extreme poverty. As an illustration, Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in the East African Community, except Burundi with 56.5% of the population living below the poverty line; which places the country among the last ten poorest countries of the world.

The year 2020 was not easy for the Head of Rwandan State but millions of euros he collected will be a sweet consolation. Paul Kagame, 63 years old, has taken the No. 1 spot on ‘highest paid heads of state in 2021’ with an estimated $ 96 million of earnings (Paul Kagame: Highest-paid head of state in the world in 2021 – Médiamass (mediamass.net). In 2018, the career of the Head of State seemed to have come to a standstill. The return to the top is more spectacular. According to the American economic magazine People with Money and its eagerly awaited list of “leaders” of the highest paid states in the world” published Monday (March 1, 2021), Kagame would have amassed, between February 2020 and February 2021, the prodigious sum of 96 million euros, hard and fast which made an increase of almost 60 million compared to the previous year, enough to increase his morale.

Paul Kagame’s income thus enabled him to own immense fortune in judicious stock market investments, substantial real estate assets and the very lucrative advertising contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, several restaurants in Kigali (including the chain “Chez l’gros Paul”), two private jets via Crystal Ventures, a perfume “Eau de Paul“, and so other many financial successes.

Conclusion

We do not conclude on this subject but we just pause the discussion because the lighting of the Rwandan population on the management of the public wealth (of Rwanda) and research in this matter continues. The Rwandan is now opening it’s the eyes to those wondering where the money of Rwanda is going, one of the most indebted countries in the world; which debts should improve the standard of living of Rwandans. We also had a look at the origin of the wealth of Kigali strongman Paul Kagame. It’s time to wake up. 

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