The claims made about the integrity of Rwanda’s official development statistics by anonymous sources in a France24 article of 2 November 2015 are fundamentally wrong.
First, there was no change to the definition of poverty in Rwanda. It has remained fixed at 2,500 calories since the first EICV in 2000.
That baseline is high in comparative perspective. Rwanda could have lowered the calorie threshold to align with the levels used by similar countries [ref table], but chose to maintain the higher baseline in order to be certain that the full picture of poverty and progress was captured.
Second, an update to the composition of the statistical food basket used to measure poverty was long overdue. There have been enormous structural changes to production and consumption patterns in the past fifteen years, such as the introduction of maize as a staple crop. A model that failed to take account of these changes would yield distorted results.
Changes to the ratio of products in the food basket are made following a rigorous methodological process explained in detail on pp. 30-36 of the report, including wide consultation with development partners.
Rwanda and its development partners have invested heavily in reliable statistical capacity, abiding by international standards. Scrutiny of our work is welcome, and indeed beneficial. Ultimately the facts speak for themselves.
Director-General, National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda