Category Archives: Development

The IMF and the World Bank Should Say No To Cronyism in Rwanda — Open Letter to Ms. Christine Lagarde and Dr. Jim Yong Kim

KCCAugust 5, 2016

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, The International Monetary Fund, 700 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20431, United States

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, 1818 H St NW, Washington, DC 20433, United States

Dear Ms. Lagarde and Dr. Kim,

RE: Cronyism will plunge Rwanda into chaos if left unchecked by the country’s financiers

I begin my letter by thanking you for supporting my home country, Rwanda. In 2016 alone, your two agencies will lend Rwanda nearly a half billion dollars — the World Bank’s loans and grants amount USD285 million while the IMF’s Standby credit totals USD204 million.

The purpose of this open letter, however, is about cronyism in Rwanda. Case in point is the Kigali Convention Centre (KCC), financed by the larger part of the USD400 million Eurobond the Kagame government raised in 2013. Shockingly, a company by the name of Prime Holdings Ltd is a major shareholder with 50% shares.

Now, Prime Holdings Ltd’s notoriety is documented in the IMF’s records, as I discovered when researching for my new book, Kagame’s Economic Mirage(2016). Back in 2006, the IMF concluded that Rwanda’s “adherence to conditionality was poor” because, among other things, “the publication of Prime Holdings’ audit was not met.” At the time, Rwanda was building two major hotels that would be the launchpad of its tourism business. Prime Holdings Ltd was in charge of this project.

In response to the IMF’s findings, the Kagame government admitted that Prime Holdings was corrupt and should not be in business. In a letter dated May 18, 2006, to the then IMF’s Managing Director, Mr. Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo, Rwanda’s Finance Minister, James Musoni, and Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, Francois Kanimba, described Prime Holdings Ltd as follows:

“With a view to enhancing transparency related to Prime Holdings’ two hotels, we have published a financial audit and business plan of Prime Holdings in December 2005 (missed end-September performance criterion). As the auditors concluded that “it was not possible to determine if proper books of account were kept by the hotels”, we have canceled the contract with the management company and are in negotiations with the Intercontinental group to take on the management of the hotels.”

So now, how does the discredited Prime Holdings Ltd which the Kagame government terminated a decade ago reemerge to own 50% of KCC? That is not all. Crystal Ventures Ltd (CVL) is also a shareholder in KCC. Owned by the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), CVL is synonymous with cronyism in Rwanda. Without government contracts in building roads, chartering executive jets to President Paul Kagame, or constructing a stadium for a local municipality, CVL would collapse. CVL is the most critical deterrent to domestic and foreign investment in Rwanda — and explains why Rwanda’s top rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators hardly make a difference.

There is no question that we are witnessing in KCC entrenched cronyism via state capture by the ruling elite in Rwanda. Prime Holdings Ltd is a shadowy front. It does not have an address or website. Prime Holdings’ premises in Kimihurura were turned into military officers’ quarters by President Kagame in 2009. Rwandans thought we had seen the last of this mafia-like company, only to reemerge, in control of even much larger assets — KCC.

As Rwanda’s leading financiers, the IMF and the World Bank have an obligation to hold the Kagame government accountable to transparency. We urge your two agencies to leverage your lending and surveillance powers to intervene before Rwanda’s ruling elite bankrupts the nation.

At the very least, the government of Rwanda should explain how, when, and why it resuscitated Prime Holdings Ltd, after assuring the IMF that the corrupt company closed ten years ago.

Most Sincerely,

David Himbara

Source: https://medium.com/@dhimbara

Rwanda : vers une solution de l’énergie électrique?

centrale_electrique 2

C’est à juste titre que les Rwandais et particulièrement les riverains du lac Kivu, peuvent être fiers de la centrale KivuWatt. D’abord parce que le pompage du méthane réduira le niveau du gaz (potentielle menace à la vie), et ensuite, du fait que ce produit, au départ dangereux, sera transformé en énergie électrique; une première au « pays des mille collines ». Après 14 mois, le Rwanda vient donc, d’inaugurer une nouvelle centrale. Mais, la production est-elle satisfaisante au jour d’aujourd’hui?

Au regard de la situation, on est encore trop loin du compte. Les attentes restent trop élevées, et deux questions pertinentes se posent. Pourquoi un tel retard dans un secteur aussi important? Pourquoi l’électrification n’a pas été parmi les priorités? Ces mêmes questionnements méritent également des solutions dans un autre secteur vital, très en retard, à savoir l’alimentation en eau potable et raccordement au réseau d’eau.

Restons sur le sujet en titre. Il est vrai que 54MW acquis en une année,  ne sont pas négligeables. En mars 2015, c’était la centrale hydro-électrique de Nyabarongo pour produire 28MW, et le 16 mai 2016 c’était l’inauguration de la centrale au méthane sur le lac Kivu, déjà opérationnelle depuis décembre 2015 avec 26 mégawatts. Construite à l’Ouest du pays, cette centrale produit de l’énergie qui s’ajoute à la capacité de production d’environ 160MW dont disposait déjà le pays.

Quel était l’objectif 2020 en électrification?

Le gouvernement rwandais avait tablé sur 563MW d’une valeur de 2.7milliards d’ici 2019-2020. De très bonnes ambitions, mais avec quelles stratégies et capacités financières? Le pays prévoit d’importer 30MW du Kenya (sachant que la distance est de 1350kms) et 400MW de l’Ethiopie (à 2700kms du Rwanda). C’est un projet coûteux et difficile à réaliser dans 3 ans. En 2012, le ministre de l’époque, ayant en charge des infrastructures, avait même promis la production de 1000MW pour 2017!

Selon  geopolitique-electricite.fr, « 700 000 Rwandais avaient accès à l’électricité en 2008, et presque un million en plus début 2013. La proportion est passée de 6 à 17% de la population de 2008 en 2014 ». Un pas a été franchi,  cependant, beaucoup reste à faire. En 2016, on n’a même pas atteint ¼ de la population ayant accès à l’électricité.

Ce ne sont pas des financements qui font défaut!

Selon la Banque mondiale, le programme de déploiement d’électricité au Rwanda, en anglais EARP (Electricity Access Rollout Project) est financé par un crédit de 70 millions de dollars, sans intérêts, de l’Association internationale de développement (IDA), de la Banque mondiale, en partenariat avec la Banque africaine de développement, la Banque arabe pour le développement économique en Afrique, la Belgique, l’Union européenne (UE), le Japon, les Pays-Bas, le Fonds de l’OPEP pour le développement international (OFID) et le Fonds saoudien pour le développement qui ont, au total, mobilisé 348,2 millions de dollars pour ce programme.

nyabarongo 2

Les coupures, problèmes d’entretien, exploitation et le coût élevé

Il y a deux ans, une enquête menée par la Banque mondiale faisait état de 14 coupures d’électricité par mois, c’est-à-dire, une coupure tous les deux jours. Sur une dizaine de centrales inspectées, huit n’étaient pas en état d’entretien régulier, et subissaient des pannes fréquentes. Les inspecteurs auront aussi remarqué que les transformateurs et pylônes n’étaient pas tous intacts. Par ailleurs, la centrale hydro-électrique de Nyabarongo avait été en arrêt quelques mois seulement, suite à la forte diminution du flux liée au manque de stratégies efficaces en faveur de l’écologie.

D’après un responsable de la Commission Economique des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique (UNECA) basé à Kigali, l’électricité est plus chère au Rwanda qu’à ses voisins. En moyenne, le prix est de 0,24 $ le kWh, comparé à 0,15 $ au Kenya, 0,17$ en Ouganda et 0,05$ en Tanzanie. Même en se basant sur une autre source qui indique 0,20$ le kWh, le prix reste plus élevé.

Les experts dans le domaine, estiment qu’il faudrait au moins 1000MW pour satisfaire les attentes de 12millions de Rwandais, en plus des investisseurs étrangers, les ambitions d’aménagement et planification à moyen et long terme.

En toute évidence, les responsables du pays ont du pain sur la planche, pour rattraper le temps perdu, et pour améliorer le système de fonctionnement. L’électricité et l’eau sont des produits de première nécessité. Certains observateurs n’hésitent pas à relever que ces deux secteurs importants n’ont pas retenu l’attention ni la priorité qu’ils méritaient, ni les efforts qu’il fallait.

Au contraire, les investissements ont été orientés vers des secteurs moins urgents, l’objectif étant la belle image du pays, réellement en « trompe l’œil ». L’accent a été mis sur les « gratte-ciel » et la décoration de la capitale! La construction des « buildings » et l’embellissement d’une ville, est une bonne chose, si et seulement si, elle est précédée par le développement de ces deux secteurs vitaux, l’eau et l’électricité. Lors de la CHAN 2016, les organisateurs ont frôlé le scandale. Il suffit de lire les articles des journalistes étrangers venus couvrir l’évènement. Ils n’ont pas manqué de souligner le manque d’eau et les difficultés en électricité. Il est grand temps, de redoubler les efforts et mettre en avant les priorités.

Source: mulijeanclaude.wordpress.com

What Can We learn From Kagame’s First Visit With Rwandans In 2016?

kagame trips2016Kagame’s jetting schedule of late

Kagame hardly lives in Rwanda. He is almost always in the air, in his executive jet, the Middle East, a bit of Europe, but mostly in North America. From January to March 3, 2016 the Rwandan head of state was mostly overseas. He recently jetted to Rwanda, first attending the National Leadership Retreat, and now for the first time in 2016, he is visiting with Rwandans. And he just ended a three-day visit the north-western part of the country when he assessed development progress in Gakenke and Rubavu districts.
Kagame’s jetting schedule of late

So what can we learn from Kagame’s visit to Gakenke District?

We learn how the regime lies about its development success — something that is very easy to disprove, however. Here is how the regime boasts about its achievements in Gakenke District:

“ Thursday, 24 March 2016 — Today, President Paul Kagame kicks off a three-day tour in the north-western part of the country. The President started his trip in Gakenke District, Northern Province where he met and interacted with residents…Hit hard by an insurgency in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide, Gakenke is now peaceful with a vibrant agriculture sector, fast-growing electricity coverage and an impressive healthcare ‘Mutuelle de Sante’ coverage of over 90%. Gakenke boasts many tourism attractions, with imposing mountains full of ancient history, mythology and archaeology.”

This is crude propaganda — in fact pure fabrications, lies, and fantasy.gakenke
The real Gakenke district PHOTO: Gakenke government

Gakenke remains one of the poorest sub-regions in Rwanda by any indicators. This is confirmed by the “Gakenke District Development Plan, 2013–2018,” which highlights the following shocking realities:

Energy: “Only 1 percent of the 14 households have access to electricity. This adversely affect women and children because they are the ones mostly in charge of fetching woods.”

Transport Poor infrastructure: “In this regard, the rural area is broken-off and /or becomes costly to access markets and other service centers. These challenges are similarly connected to lack of master plan to guide the road network of the required standards.”

Water and Sanitation: “Some households have to walk long distances to reach water sources and the related negative externalities, such as, on child education and health.”

Urbanization: “Lack of district master plan is also a hindrance to the urbanization sector.”

Health: “Within the health sector issues like mothers giving birth at homes, quality of health facilities and access to health facilities due to the geographical difficulties in accessing health services in rural areas are still a big challenge. Also, high population growth and insufficient medical equipment in Health Centers and District Hospitals are challenges affecting health services within the district.”

guheka
Residents of Gakenke district carry a patient hospital. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA, The East African

Social Protection: “the district still has significant portion of the population under extreme poverty bracket and vulnerable groups…It is also noted that the district has limited monitoring tools like ubudehe graduation categories to facilitate the measurement of sustainability of the benefited persons from poverty.”

Youth: “stumbling block to increased youth productivity is minimal knowledge and skills in management and project preparation, i.e., business project formulation. This is coupled with few technical schools and youth forums through which skills and innovative trainings can be imparted.”

ICT: “Inaccessibility of the rural population to the internet network is the main challenge…96.9 percent of the population of 6+ years have never used computer before.”

abana
Puzzled children as part of the rented crowd to “receive” the head of state

rented  crowds
Rented crowds of mostly children and youth in Gakenke

Another way of exposing the Kagame regime’s is to read reports from its own newspaper. According to the New Times of March 25, 2016, “The President promised that Gatonde health centre, which the government agreed to build back in 1999 but hasn’t been delivered so far, will be constructed as soon as possible.” This promise was made 17 years. Shame on you King Paul and your dysfunctional regime.

So what do we learn from these presidential visits to rural Rwanda? Nothing much — it is the usual propaganda.

Source: medium.com

Launch of Solar Power Facility in Rwanda

usdos-logo-seal

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 18, 2015

I welcome the completion and launch of an 8.5 MW solar installation in Rwanda by Gigawatt Global. This is the first utility-scale solar project to come online under the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) program, which is now an integral part of Power Africa. The project expands electricity generation capacity by more than 6 percent in a country where more than 80 percent of the people live without access to electricity, and is providing enough grid-connected power to supply 15,000 homes.

With continually decreasing costs, minimal maintenance, and no fuel costs, renewable energy makes more sense now than ever before, especially in remote settings.

Projects like Gigawatt Global’s, realized with the support of the U.S. Department of State, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency through ACEF, underscore that the best path to energy access and economic development is also the sustainable path of clean energy.

Source:US Department of State

Tanzanian town builds for the future after Rwanda tribunal concludes

By 

Inside the ICTR
Inside the ICTR during the 2004 trail of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko (on screen), an ex-minister in Rwanda who was given a life sentence for war crimes in the 1994 genocide. Photograph: Christophe Calais/Corbis

The pioneers of the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda arrived in Arusha, Tanzania in 1996. They were destined to spend the following 18 years prosecuting those accused of responsibility in the Rwandan genocide. The lepers on the potholed avenue leading to the courthouse, who used to reach out in the hope of a gift from the rich muzungu(whites in Swahili), have vanished. And the last judges and prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda were to have left by the end of 2014.

“For the tribunal’s very first hearing they had to place buckets in the courtroom to catch the leaks during the rainy season,” a lawyer recalls. The steady drip set the cadence for proceedings as Georges Rutaganda, former leader of the Interahamwe militia, who brutally slaughtered the Tutsi with machetes, pleaded not guilty before Judge Laity Kama, of Senegal.

This was the fourth international criminal tribunal in history, after the Nuremberg trial of Nazi war crimes, its counterpart in Tokyo, then more recently the Hague tribunal for crimes committed in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

For many years, Arusha was just a base camp for safaris into the surrounding savannah. Its new role came by default: all other potential hosts declined the offer, so Tanzania was left to accommodate the tribunal. In the course of its stay, the court tried 71 suspects: army officers, ministers, politicians, militia, priests and purveyors of propaganda. All in all it performed its duties well, though there are some grounds for the accusation that it dispensed “victor’s justice”. It did not bring to trial any of the former Rwandan rebels, who resorted to terror tactics, too, in their drive to end the genocide.

Close to the Maasai homeland, Arusha has long attracted flocks of tourists. Some tour operators even gave them the opportunity to view the big game in the dock at the international tribunal between two safari outings. En route for Kilimanjaro, they would traipse through the public gallery in their T-shirts and sandals before transferring to the aerodrome across the road from the prison. But some 3,000 witnesses from Rwanda came here, too.

ICTR wanted poster
Inside the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania, a wanted poster with portraits of those accused of perpetrating genocide. Photograph: Christophe Calais/Corbis

Originally people in Arusha only spoke Swahili. Water was in short supply and an out-of-date copy of Le Monde, gleaned by street sellers from the daily flight from Amsterdam, would cost you $5. On return flights, the cargo was generally a consignment of roses. But the aircraft did not only carry flowers. Jean Kambanda, who led the government formed a few hours after President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down in 1994 (the occasion for the start of the killing in Rwanda), was flown back to The Hague and imprisoned alongside alleged Yugoslav war criminals, after pleading guilty in 1998. There this austere former banker was taught to play poker by Mladen Naletilić, a militia leader from Mostar, Bosnia.

Today Arusha has daily flights and 4G connections. In less than 20 years the city has been transformed. In the bar of the New Safari Hotel, Akayesu, as he is known, orders a Kilimanjaro, the local beer. The estate agent owes his nickname to Jean-Paul Akayesu, the first person ever to be convicted on charges of genocide. When the violence first started in Rwanda, in 1994, this local council leader tried to stop the slaughter, but finally gave in and joined the killers. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. What is currently troubling the estate agent is the likely drop in house prices when the court finally closes. In contrast Modest Akida, a local barrister, is delighted. “We went to the same shops, rented the same houses and all the prices soared. So it’s really very good news that they’re leaving at last,” he says. According to a 2004 survey, ICTR staff injected more than $2.5m a month into the local economy. The court employed some 200 Tanzanian nationals.

According to Kosic, a UN guard who came here from former Yugoslavia, the town is “a black hole, halfway between Cape Town and Cairo”. He thinks Arusha owes its prosperity to the court, “but now it has grown up and can stand on its own two feet”. The ICTR attracted investors and theEast African Community established its headquarters in a brand-new building next door to the court. Now the African Court on Human and People’s Rights has moved in and peace talks have been held here. Arusha is beginning to see itself as Africa’s Geneva.

In Kijenge neighbourhood, Alfred Lotuno, an elderly Maasai, voices his concerns. “Tanzania has acted like a saint in Africa. We have tried to help Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Darfur and Somalia,” he says. “Tanzania has become the policeman of Africa and everyone says: ‘Tanzania, Tanzania!’ But now we have al-Shabaab in Arusha and bombs are going off. So I’m not so sure.”

In recent months the town has suffered several attacks allegedly perpetrated by the Somali Islamists, though some say it has more to do with local politics.

This article appeared in the Guardian Weekly, which incorporates material from Le Monde