How Has President Paul Kagame Performed Economically Since 2000?

By: Dr. David Himbara

The one-sided debate inside Rwanda that calls for 3rd presidential term for Kagame pushes the line that he is a rare and economic miracle performer.

But hold on.

Take look at this data from the just published 2015 World Development Indicators by the World Bank. We can use the indicators to make evidence-based judgment on what Kagame presidency has actually meant for Rwandans.

Structurally, Rwanda’s economy remains the same as it was in 2000.
* Growth domestic product was $1.7bil in 2000 and grew to $7.5 billion in 2013.
* Agriculture contributed 37% to GDP in 2000 and decreased to 33% in 2013. 
* Industry contributed 14% to GDP in 2000 and increased to 15% in 2013. 
* Manufacturing contributed 7% to GDP in 2000 and declined to 5% in 2013.
* Services contributed 49% to GDP in 2000 and increased to 52% in 2013.

As shown here, services and agriculture remain dominant as top two contributors to GDP. Meanwhile manufacturing declined – with 5% contribution GDP, Rwanda hardly manufactures anything.

Agricultural mechanisation has declined.
* Tractors per 100 sq. km of arable land was 0.7 in 2000 and declined to 0.5 in 2009.

Rwanda remains a very poor society. 
* 82.3% of the population are poor defined by people who earn less than $2 a day.
* 63% of the population are poor defined by people who earn less than $1.25 a day.

Rwanda remains an unequal society.
* The highest 10% among the well-off earns/consumes 43% of national income.
* The lowest 10% earns/consumes 2% of national income.

Financial access remains very limited.
* Borrowers from commercial banks per 1,000 adults – 15 people.
* Commercial branches per 100,000 adults – 6 branches.

Rwanda is aid-dependent.
* Aid as % of gross capital formation (infrastructure development) – 47%.
* Aid as % of central government expenditure – 84.1%.

Is this a great performance? The 3rd term people should find other reasons for supporting their cause – not economic performance.

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