Rwanda Accused of Fixing Poverty Statistics


Rwanda has been accused of manipulating poverty statistics to hide worsening conditions of the country’s poorest people.

French publication France 24 reports that, while a decrease in poverty was declared by official figures, there has in fact been a six percent increase over the 2013-14 period. The Rwandan government is said to have changed the methodology of calculation to simulate a drop in poverty.


Changed methodology

“The government changed the methodology, especially the poverty line, before publishing the report,” expert on Rwanda, Dr Filip Reyntjens told FRANCE 24. “So in the final report, instead of going up, poverty levels appears to have gone down by several percentage points.”

“We redid the calculations using the initial methodology, and the results show that the poverty rate actually rose by six percent in 2013-14,” he said.


Rwandan authorities defiant

Rwandan authorities have defended the change of methodology and cited a confidentiality clause that prevents the disclosure of further information on the matter. France 24 suggests the manipulated figures could be part of President Kagame’s plan to run for a third term in power, should the necessary constitutional change be passed.

Kagame has long been praised for bringing Rwanda out of its genocide horror in 1994 and securing the nation’s economic stability. However, concerns that people in Rwanda are still heavily oppressed have never been put to rest.

Opposition to Kagame’s plans for a third term in power has been unusually quiet, with the government having been accused of silencing anyone who questions the regime. Should the president win elections in 2017 he could extend his stay in power until 2034.


Featured image:

Paul Kagame, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa” by Copyright World Economic Forum / Matthew Jordaan – Africa as the World’s potential Breadbasket – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.