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63 percent of Rwandans live in extreme poverty

By RouTe, 10 August 2017, 2:27 (0 comment)
And 30-40 percent of the annual budget comes from the foreign aid.

63 percent of Rwandans live in extreme poverty

Zimbabwe was a happy place in April 1980 when Robert Mugabe was elected as Prime Minister and it became independent from British colonial leadership and white minority rule. But it all went awry in 1987 when parliament amended the constitution to allow presidents run for unlimited terms. Thirty years and a series of hyperinflations later, Mugabe is a dictator and Zimbabwe is a failing state. Paul Kagame’s re-election as third term president of Rwanda is reminiscent of Mugabe’s rise and eventual failure.

On Saturday, August 5, Kagame emerged victorious in the Rwandan presidential election, winning about 98 percent of the votes. By conventional indicators, the election was free, fair and up to international standards. The re-elected president is highly revered as Rwanda’s saviour from the 1994 genocide as a rebel leader and breaker of economic distress as president. But like Mugabe in 1987, Kagame’s victory is a direct consequence of manipulating presidential term limits. He initiated a constitutional amendment in 2015, potentially allowing him to rule until 2037.

The vindication is that the elimination of term-limits happened in the confines of the law. But so did Hitler when he persuaded the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act that helped the Nazis seize power and Mussolini when he used the Acerbo Law to propel the rise of fascism. While Kagame’s achievements abound– from significant economic and infrastructural growth to decreased child mortality rate, there are many who believe him to be a brutal dictator. From accusations of stifling press freedom, killing journalists, suppressing the opposition to allegedly assassinating dissidents, Kagame has all the makings of an African dictator. The power to run for even more elections intensifies this.

Joseph Kabila was in the FPR [from 08 minutes]

One of Kagame’s political opponents, Victoria Ingabare, has remained unfairly imprisoned for belittling the Rwandan Genocide and threatening state security. Another, Diane Rwigara, was suspiciously disqualified from running for office. Speaking to the UK’s Guardian, she described Rwanda as a nation with perfect teeth and hair but with a dark and dirty inside. In a country with a leader who constantly suppresses dissenting voices, a “free and fair” election is not entirely possible. The western media have also signalled the dictatorship alarm. The Economist put out a video expressing their scepticism of Kagame’s rule and its potential longevity. And while their often times shallow-cited and hypocritical criticism of Africa can be exhausting, they are not exactly wrong. Libya deteriorated after Muammar Gaddafi’s death. But he was a serial human rights abuser and an alleged sponsor of global terrorism.

63 percent of Rwandans live in extreme poverty

Besides, is Rwanda really developing? Perhaps in comparison to its 1994 position. But in the grand scheme, it remains economically weak. 63 percent of Rwandans live in extreme poverty and 30-40 percent of the annual budget comes from the foreign aid. The World Happiness Report ranks Rwanda in the bottom five of its happiness index. There are also claims, which the government has denied, of figure manipulation to make it look like poverty rates have reduced.

Yet, Kagame seemingly has the people on his side. Mugabe was also popular, but his want for eternal political power ultimately caused grave economic consequences that Zimbabwe has yet to recover from. Besides, supposed economic upturn does not justify Kagame’s years of alleged human rights abuse. Maybe he is truly the man of the people. Perhaps, he is the one best equipped to usher Rwanda into developed nation status. But no modern national-transformation, based on force and opponent-suppression has survived posterity. Ask Hitler, ask Mussolini, ask Mugabe. If history has taught anything, it is that “popular” does not always last. It is not always good.

Tomilade Olugbemi

Uganda & Tanzania oil pipeline construction will cost $3.5b

By RouTe, 29 July 2017, 13:07 (0 comment)
Uganda, Tanzania sign off Hoima -Tanga oil pipeline construction

Uganda & Tanzania oil pipeline construction will cost $3.5b

Deal. President Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli sign the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Agreement in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The agreement was an expression of intent to go ahead with the construction of the 1,4445km oil pipeline from Hoima District in western Uganda to the Tanzanian Port of Tanga. PPU PHOTO.

Kampala. President Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli have signed the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Agreement (EACOP), which now paves way for construction of the proposed crude oil export pipeline from Hoima, in mid western Uganda to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean port of Tanga.
The agreement, signed on Sunday almost a year after Uganda under the thrust of Total E&P snubbed Kenya’s Lamu port for the Tanga route, also contains agreed points on the sticking tax issues over which technocrats from Uganda and Tanzania had been split for months, according to sources privy to the pact.
The two countries operate different tax regimes and the major fear was that high construction and operational costs occasioned by an uncoordinated tax policy would render the project uneconomic and spark jitters among international lenders.
Under the signed agreement, Value Added Tax (VAT) should be deemed paid during the three years of the construction phase.
Depreciation should be 5 percent straight line throughout the lifespan of the pipeline and the application of Branch Profit Tax by the two states when the pipeline structure is complete and communicated.

In 2015, Uganda amended the VAT Act 1996 to remove VAT incurred during the investment phase, after protest by the international oil companies.
In Tanzania an investor is required to pay VAT and claim a refund later.
However, this poses risks of foreign exchange rate fluctuation and is subject to bureaucracy. After months of haggling a harmonised position of VAT exemption was adopted.
On depreciation, the two countries opted to use the commonest method of “straight line” against other approaches such as “sum of years digits or double-declining balance.”
The straight line method means that the “scrap value” of the pipeline at end of its lifespan will be subtracted from the value of the original cost to compute a depreciation rate.

The 1,445km pipeline, according to earlier estimates, will cost $3.5b (about Shs12 trillion).

Discussions are ongoing to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (referred to as Pipe Co), to construct, own and operate the pipeline and will also negotiate the Shareholders Agreement, Project Financing Agreements and Transportation Agreement between Shippers of oil from Tanga port to the international market. Pipe Co will pay back the (international) lenders from the project returns.
Therefore, pending formation of Pipe Co, the agreement the two presidents have signed holds that Branch tax (on repatriation of profits) cannot be applied.
Pipe Co shareholders will fund the pipeline through a mix of equity and project financing, seeking to achieve between 60 percent and 70 percent of external debt.
However, the financing plan is still subject to discussions pending engagement of a “transactionary adviser” and completion of the Front-End Engineering Design (Feed) for the pipeline. The process is ongoing.

Early in January a contract for FEED was awarded to the Houston-based Gulf Interstate Engineering to study technical requirements that will give a clear picture of the project and lead to Final Investment Decision (FID) before end of the year. FID will lead engineering, procurement and construction, which are expected to start next year.
According to the Uganda-Tanzania agreement, the two presidents also directed their respective Attorney Generals to urgently finalise an Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) to operationalise the terms agreed upon and harmonise laws of the two countries that will apply to the project.
The heads of state also directed the IGA to be signed by Energy ministers, Irene Muloni for Uganda and Prof Sospeter Muhungo of Tanzania, not later than next week.
The IGA will be followed by the Host Government Agreements (HGA) that defines the rights and obligations between each State on the project, and will be ratified by the respective parliaments.

“A date for the two heads of state to lay a foundation stone either at Hoima or Tanga should be arranged as soon as possible,” the agreement reads in part.
At the signing ceremony at State House in Dar-es-Salaam, President Museveni was flanked by Energy minister Irene Muloni and the PS Stephen Isabalija, Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana, acting director of Petroleum Directorate Robert Kasande and Dr Josephine Wapakhabulo, executive director of Uganda National Oil Company (Unoc).

Uganda & Tanzania oil pipeline construction will cost $3.5b

The Tanga route, according to feasibility studies, was deemed the cheapest for Uganda to transport its oil from the production point in Hoima to the international market.
It has convenient flat terrain, not interrupted by other activities, has lowest environmental challenges, and provides the shortest schedule for Uganda to seeing the first oil export - earliest mid 2020.
Besides Tanzania’s convenient land tenure system of no freehold ownership, President Museveni said at the signing that the choice of the Tanga route was premised on the country’s political stability.
“This oil pipeline shows the importance of integrated decision-making. The Chinese have been able to move and become the second biggest economy in the world,” Mr Museveni noted.
President Magufuli commended Uganda for choosing the Tanga route for the pipeline, which he said will not only create employment but also be a source of revenue for both countries.


Construction of the pipeline, expected to commence early 2018, is projected to take 36 months with prospect of between 6, 000 and 10, 000 jobs created. Uganda’s current oil reserves stand at 6.5 billion barrels with 1.7 billion recoverable from the ground.

Uganda & Tanzania oil pipeline construction will cost $3.5b


All the Presidents Wealth - The Kabila Family Business

By RouTe, 20 July 2017, 15:02 (0 comment)
The Democratic Republic of Congo is entering its third decade of armed conflict. Throughout this period corruption has been tightly linked to conflict.1 The 2006 Congolese constitution was created in the aftermath of thirty-two years of dictatorship, during which President Mobutu Sese Seko used public funds to enrich himself and his allies, and sets up safeguards to prevent the abuse of public office for personal enrichment.

All the Presidents Wealth - The Kabila Family Business

This report by the Congo Research Group (CRG) at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation is the first in a series of investigations by CRG into links between politics and business in Congo, aiming to promote greater accountability and to bolster the oversight enshrined in the constitution. It examines the business networks of the country’s most powerful elected official, President Joseph Kabila, and his family.

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