Rwanda's trade deficit has narrowed marginally with the country recording $11.3m reduction in import receipts during the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year. Of the total trade receipts worth $631.7m registered in the second quarter, $380.1m was spent on imports, while exports earned $220.4m and re-exports $31.2m, according to the Natitional Institute of Statistics Rwanda quarterly external trade statistics report 2013 released last month.
This compares to $391.4m the country spent on imports and $79.2m it earned from exports and $11.6m from re-exports over the same period in 2012. Total trade balance was $492.3m over the period.
During the first quarter of this year, total trade was 483.6m, of which exports earned $95.7m, re-exports $33.2m and $354.8m was spent on imports.
On the import side, the country also registered a decrease in current price terms of 2.8 per cent during the second quarter of 2013 compared to 2012.
According to Rwanda Revenue Authority and EUROTRACE Database Management System, black tea exports grew by over six times in the last quarter compared to the same quarter of 2012. The major imports during the second quarter were cement, vaccines, medicaments and oil.
The report also noted that, Africa provided 84 per cent share market for the country's exports and re- exports with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as the main destinations for Rwanda's exports in the last three quarters of 2012 and during the first quarter of 2013.
John Rwangobwa, the governor of the central bank, while presenting quarterly financial stability and monetary policy statement in Kigali last week, noted that improving the country's balance of payment was still a big challenge.
Rwanda is promoting non-traditional exports like cut roses and vegetables to boost export earnings and improve its balance of payments.
Uganda is the main origin of the country's imports followed by Kenya, according to the report. But Kenya is currently the top destination of Rwandan exports, taking on 53.9 per cent of the country's products, including black tea and coffee totaling $96.6m.
However, the major re-exports of Rwanda over the period under reveiw were jet fuel and gasoline. The country's main exports to the East African Community partner states and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Moost of the imports came from Commonwealth countries, which took a lion's share of $144.6m, Comesa, $91.6m, the European Union, $966.8m and SADC $26.2m.
"For Comesa, the trade balance is positive. That is, the exports were higher than imports in the second quarter of 2013," the statistics body indicated.