Poverty figures in Rwanda ‘manipulated’

It is “very likely” that poverty figures have been manipulated in Rwanda, according to the British Financial Times. But the World Bank was alerted by several of its employees in 2015 on this fact.

The Rwandan economic miracle has been questioned several times by academics, particularly in 2015, after the publication of statistics showing a poverty rate that had dropped six points between 2011 and 2014.

Two Financial Times journalists conducted investigations into this specific period; and according to them, the poverty rate did not decrease during this period but would have probably increased.

According to the authors of the survey, prices have risen much more than Rwanda admitted in its calculations, especially in rural areas. In the meantime, higher inflation also translates into greater poverty.

An anonymous source told the newspaper that a UK-based consultant (Oxford Policy Management) had been hired to carry out the poverty analysis in the country. But the Rwandan government rejected its results, which indicated that poverty had increased by 6%.

“At the approach of the constitutional referendum of December of that year, officials were under pressure to show continued progress and there was no way to tolerate an undesirable increase in poverty,” said the unnamed source at Financial Times.

An article “childish”

The Rwandan newspaper New Times called the Financial Times report “fantasizing” that the poverty figures in the country have been manipulated. The pro-government private newspaper said the article, which revolves around figures dating back to before the 2015 referendum, was “childish”.

The New Times editorial believes that the Financial Times is being manipulated. The Rwandan newspaper remains convinced that the Financial Times has had no credible sources because, according to him, it is about Rwandan dissidents and anti-Rwandan analysts who have been able to question the figures on poverty.

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