Rwanda’s the New Times newspaper has dismissed as “fantasy” a report by the UK’s Financial Times that said the country’s poverty figures had been manipulated.
The private, pro-government paper said the article, which centres around figures from just before the 2015 referendum that allowed President Paul Kagame to extend his rule, was “childish”.
An official report in 2015 said the proportion of the country living in poverty had fallen from 44.9% of the population in 2011 to 39.1% in 2014.
But the FT argues that poverty actually increased during that time.
An anonymous source told the paper that a UK-based consultancy, Oxford Policy Management, was hired to complete the poverty analysis but their result, that poverty had increased by 6%, was rejected by the Rwandan government.
“With the constitutional referendum approaching that December, officials were under pressure to show continued progress and there was no way an undesirable increase in poverty could be tolerated,” the unnamed source told the FT.
The New Times editorial believes it is the FT that is being manipulated.
“FT doesn’t do itself much justice when it relies on Rwandan dissidents and others very well known for their anti-Rwanda position as its trusted sources,” it says.