In recent years, western media has been harping on about the economic miracle that is Rwanda. However, one simply has to question the efficacy of imperialists celebrating African economic progress, especially when considering that since the end of colonialism the west has jointly sabotaged economic development on the continent to keep it incapacitated.
Even more compelling, 27 years ago, the world watched a nation of uneducated subsistence farmers, eeking out a Malthusian existence, murder a million of their fellow countrymen out of sheer destitution caused by their Belgian colonial legacy. All of a sudden, this state that was engineered by the west to fail like Congo, has supposedly risen out of the clutches of neo-colonialism to become Africa’s poster child. All with the approval of imperial powers?
Surely on a continent where progress is stage managed and controlled neo-colonially, such change is an anomaly begging inquisition? The whole affair simply feels a bit too good to be true and the old adage: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, applies.
Why would the west be so approving of Rwandan success today? Yet not too long ago they were happy to selectively evacuate a handful of Belgian and French citizens from the same country, leaving behind a million Rwandans being butchered in a genocide resulting from their divide-and-rule, tribal, colonial policy that was designed to ensure future failure of the colony.
Not to mention that French neo-colonialism on the continent continues unabated; stifling economic development in every single one of its former and still CFA colonies, supported by what is currently the greatest military deployment of US soldiers and assets on African soil via Africomm.
Now we are supposed to believe that the same French have let Rwanda develop and even put former Rwanda Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, as head of Francophonie that oversees all former French colonies globally, without issue. Surely, this doesn't make sense.
To address my curiosity, I decided to delve into some research on the numbers and structure of the Rwandan economy. The aim was to establish whether Rwanda is really a nation undertaking a unique organic transformation under the tutelage of a repentant imperial west or indeed we are witnessing a fairytale.
What Is Rwanda
The Rwandan story would be incomplete without the backdrop of it being a former Belgian colony at the center of the instability in the Great Lakes region. It is led by a greater-than-life military leader. Some call him a dictator, trained at the US Army Command General Staff college of Fort Leavenworth and groomed by Museveni as an ally and protege.
Rwandan Economy Breakdown
The nation’s GDP today in 2019 is a mere $11 billion dollars, about $822 per capital, which makes it a poor country by the definition of the UN. The biggest source of income in the country is agriculture, which contributes 39% of gdp, employing 75% of the population, in mainly subsistence agriculture. Main agricultural products are coffee, tea, bananas and coconuts which are mainly exported to neighboring countries.
The sector saw a 2% decline in contribution to gdp between 2016-2017 due to bad rains plaguing the region over the period.
After agriculture comes wholesale & trade and then financial services, which contribute 15% each to gdp. Augmenting these is the services sector in which tourism and hospitality contribute the lion’s share of this sector’s output.
Fast Economic Growth Sector
The fastest growing sectors of construction and real estate follow close behind as they registered the biggest growth to gdp sector contribution in 2017. These two sectors have seen Kigali’s skyline rocketing with world class hotels, skyscrapers on the backdrop of western style infrastructure, the well promoted world-class connected schools in a country with some of the lowest literacy in Africa, and government offices which adorn the covers of international financial and travel magazines.
After agriculture, the civil service of Rwanda is the second biggest employer contributing to Rwanda’s low 3.2% unemployment rate. A rate suspiciously lower than even the EU and United States averages.
On this note we are brought to government debt, currently sitting at 43% of gdp and growing, meanwhile, some 70.9% of the government's budget is funded by aid and much of that aid is spent on the military and intelligence which as in Israel is dedicated to fighting wars in neigbhoring countries like Congo and subjugating the majority Hutus in a military state of apartheid.
Aid makes Rwanda one of the top three aid receipients in the world. Trailing far behind government debt is private debt which is at a measly 9%.
What Then Is Driving The Banana Republic
Now, having gone through this economic profile of Rwanda, the question that comes to mind is what exactly is driving this illusion of an economy which by all intents and purposes is a banana republic economy?
The economy is driven predominantly by a subsistence agrarian economy which relies on bananas that are rainfall dependent and not vested in commercial irrigation.
90% of the human talent are low literacy farmers, farm workers, subsistent farmers and government employees with low debt and consumption. Many are largely unbankable, in a nation with high government expenditure, debt and aid driving most expenditure.
Who Are The Investors
How does such a stagnant money market economy drive the substantial financial services, hospitality and construction sectors in the manner that has made Rwanda Africa’s success story?
Who [in this economy] is investing in the acclaim winning skyline, real estate, hotels and infrastructure that have seen Kagali awarded the title of Africa’s most beautiful city? With what is Kigali funding the world class connected schools, technologically advanced government buildings, modern public infrastructure and public housing? And why is Rwanda still leading in illiteracy if the hype is to be believed?
Who is building the houses and booking into the various luxury hotels that are being built in mainly Kigali? What kind of financial services are driving the financial services industry to be the second biggest sector alongside wholesale & retail in a nation with private debt at 9% and low local banking penetration?
High Government Debt
It is clear that government debt and aid are the major drivers of this high public spending, low production economy. Something that the IMF and ratings agencies frown upon and punish [downgrade] other developing nations for. Nonetheless, in Rwanda’s case, the economic outlook from both IMF and the three ratings agencies has remained surprisingly stable. This is despite the fact that the nation’s productive sectors of agriculture and mining are all in decline over the past two years while public debt continues to grow.
What Is The Truth?
So what is really going on in Rwanda because the fundamentals do not tally with the hype. There is obviously a huge spin job being done on Rwanda by their British PR agency, Racepoint Global, and as usual we Africans never see the angles when presented with the illusion of the WaTutsi Wakanda.
If I was to take a wild guess after my above discovery process, I suspect that Rwanda is involved in some illicit off-the-book activities and money laundering that is driving the shell economy. Such may include the country being used by western nations as a proxy frontier for the pillage of Congolese resources and the laundering of the proceeds therefore.
This is the reason that spending exceeds output and there is such a huge financial services industry in a nation with very little economic productivity or activity.
For close to two decades now, battle hardened Rwandan rebels (most of them members of the Rwandan army) in Congo have been the private army and resource extractors of diamonds, timber, gold, uranium, cassiterite and coltan in Congo for leading global companies and Rwandan politicians. Estimates by some authors say Rwanda is looting over $2 billion out of Congo yearly. Albeit, the UN troops stationed in Congo have become the new-world-order guards for the overall colonial looting operation happening in that country through Rwanda.
For this service, Rwanda has been rewarded with amazing PR, aid; capital inflows from foreign investors, corrupt politicians and militia who are now investing their illicit spoils of war in real estate and facilitating government debt for public spending.
This is in sharp contrast to Zimbabwe, which was summarily sanctioned for having the audacity to put its troops in Congo, to prevent western sponsored Rwandan and Ugandan rebels from toppling Laurent Kabila and seeking resource concessions for the Zimbabwean government in that country to compensate Zimbabwe's deployment.
Joseph Kabila’s Congo
Ever-since Laurent Kabila was murdered and a man by the name of Joseph Kabila, who doesn’t speak Lingala (Congo’s main native dialect), was raised in Rwanda to a Tutsi woman as Kabila’s son and then hand picked and anointed like a King to replace Laurent as President; Congo has seen Rwandan rebels control Eastern Congo with impunity.
Vast, unaccounted for resources continue to leave Congo through Rwanda, where we see re-exporting forming a bulk of Rwandan exports. Recently, the Rwanda government and the Tanzanian governments both opened Gold refineries close to Congo where many speculate that Congolese gold is being smuggled and smelted in these refineries.
It’s almost like Leopold’s private enterprise of Congo has become Kagame’s portfolio to manage on behalf of new western owners like Glencore and the Bushs and British Royal family, who own Tenke Fungurume.
This explains why the IMF and ratings agencies give such a low productive economy, with such high government expenditure, an all clear. It’s because the bounty of Congo has become the collateral for Rwandan public debt, which sponsors western company contracts for construction, consultancy and technology business in Rwanda. It’s a win-win for all the parties involved.
Why The Propaganda?
As the Rwandan praise singing gets louder and Kagame becomes a strong man on the continent, it would seem that as a US military asset, he is now being positioned as an agent of change to deliver Africomm’s African re-colonization 2.0 on a silver platter.
As the new AU and Common Wealth Chairman, Kagame is championing the inevitable United Africa free trade area (Africa Continental Free Trade Area) which Gaddaffi was murdered for attempting to create on African terms. This time, the trade area being championed by Kagame, has now been designed to ensure that when Africa becomes a common market, the union will be for the advantage of a western world, at the exclusion of Africans, the Chinese and Russians.
Some will predictably use the well publicized trade scuffle between Kagali and Washington over used clothes, to dismiss the claim of Kagame being a western agent, as a conspiracy theory. Nevertheless, how many have heard of a false flag or gladial operation? This is what this public trade spat is: a means to bolster Kagame’s Pan African champion credentials, to gain the trust of Africans and their leaders by making him look like an enemy of the west.
The truth is if Kagame was really a Pan Africanist who challenged western interests in Africa.....he would be dead like Gaddaffi or vilified as a dictator like Mugabe, and his nation under stiff sanctions. But we all know that neither sanctions or vilification follow Kagame, illustrating that the west is very happy and comfortable with him.
Rutendo Matinyarare, a marketing and brand strategist for Frontline Strat Marketing Consultancy.