You can’t put Rwandans down-they bounce right back

29 Apr

Try hard as they might, no one will put down this country. And so many have tried, but all their efforts have come to naught. Rwanda continues to push ahead, brushing aside all attempts to distract it from pursuing what is best for the people.

The last few days have been full of evidence of this irrepressible spirit of Rwanda.

The first was the news of the issuance of a $400 million Eurobond on the market and its resounding success. It attracted so many investors and was consequently heavily oversubscribed. Even the usual Rwanda bashers have been gushing in their reporting of the success of this bold move.

For those, like me, who are not very familiar with these sorts of financial transactions, a debt bond (or sovereign bond when issued by a government in foreign currency) is a debt investment where an investor lends the government an amount of money for a given period at a certain interest rate. In other words, it is a form of borrowing from financial investors.

In this case the bond is worth $400 million for a period of ten years and the money raised will be used to finance certain projects that will in turn raise more money.

What is the good news in borrowing that we should all get very excited about?

It is generally agreed that the confidence to go to the market in this manner was significant.  It is evidence of the mature and prudent management of the economy that has been responsible for the consistent growth rates over the last decade. Equally, the overwhelming oversubscription to the bond is seen as a vote of investor confidence in the performance of the Rwandan economy.

The significance can also be appreciated when considered in the context of preceding events. It comes in the wake of attempts to derail the country’s progress by denying it promised support on the untenable evidence of lies and false accusations. And in this sense it shows a determination to diversify sources of finance so that development efforts are not held back by arbitrary, unilateral or capricious decisions of some in the international community.

Furthermore, this action shows that Rwanda is prepared to do whatever it takes to finance its projects and does not have to wait for the generosity of .others. Money from this sort of source is often given as a reward for good behaviour or withheld for allegedly being naughty, even when the definition for such behaviour keeps shifting.

This measure, together with other actions to raise capital, points to one thing: realising double digit growth in the next few years is quite possible.

The second piece of good news happened at about the same time as the bond was getting such a huge reception. It was the humiliation of Steve Hege (he of the infamous UN Group of Experts report on alleged Rwandan support for M23) at the hands of a handful of Rwandans during a public discussion in the United States on the deployment of the intervention brigade in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

As usual, he demonised M23 but conveniently ignored the existence of armed groups like the FDLR which have a more atrocious record. He was in his element when accusing Rwanda of responsibility for all the ills in DRC. His obsession with today’s Rwanda and his support for FDLR have turned him into a one-track mind crusader against this country.

Reports say, however, that this time Hege did not have it all his way. He was challenged about his open bias for a genocidal armed group, his lies about Rwanda and dragging the United Nations into what appears to be an inexplicable personal vendetta against Rwanda’s leadership. The fellow had no answer to any of these and fled in panic and humiliation.

Steve Hege’s public disgrace comes hot on the heels of a similar treatment of Ken Roth, Director of Human Rights Watch, who thinks he is some kind of a god. He too was unmasked at a symposium supposedly to honour the late Allison De Forges and revealed for what he really is – a sour-faced, petty-minded individual who is ready to abuse the generosity of benefactors to his organisation in order to finance a personal hate campaign.

In the last few years, memorial lectures have been organised purportedly to pay tribute to Allison De Forge, but in reality to give a platform to Rwanda haters to vent their hatred.

Like in the bond issue, Rwandans have shown that they will do whatever it takes to defend their dignity and the good name of their country against all manner of detractors and other malcontents wherever they may be. They are prepared to expose liars and charlatan, bigots and opportunists.

You may try but you cannot put this country down. It will bounce right back and leap higher and farther.

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