Rwanda predicts 6.5% in 2018 after big rise in exports

Rwanda’s central bank on Tuesday said it predicts Rwanda’s economy to grow 6.5% in 2018.

The inflation rate is expected to be around 5.0% in 2018, slightly up from 4.9% last year, said John Rwangombwa, governor of National Bank of Rwanda, in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.

Rwanda’s total formal export receipts grew by 57.6% in 2017 while formal imports recorded a modest decrease of 0.4% in the same year compared to 2016, said Rwangombwa while presenting a monetary policy and financial stability statement.

According to him, exports increased to $943.5 million last year from $598.7 million in 2016, while exports volume increased by 36.2%.

Rwanda’s export base has continued to progressively diversify as the share of traditional exports in total exports declined from 62.1% in 2013 to 30.1% last year, the governor added.

Rwanda’s formal trade deficit also reduced by 21.7% in 2017 compared to 2016, from $1,624.5 million to $1,271.8 million, as a result of the 57.6% increase in formal exports and 0.4 percent decline in formal imports, according to the Rwanda central bank figures.

Major drivers of the growth in exports include receipts from coffee and tea exports as well as mineral exports, according to the central Bank.

In 2014, Rwanda embarked on promoting Rwanda locally made products for exports under the campaign dubbed “Made in Rwanda Products” to discourage the use of imported goods which are or can be produced locally.

The central African country, which has risen from a genocide that killed over one million people in 1994, seeks to transform the country from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy.

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