Rwanda Records Double-Digit Growth

17 September 2019

The Rwandan economy grew by 12.2 per cent from April to June this year largely driven by services, agriculture and industry, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda has said.

The economy grew by 6.7 per cent over the same period last year, while it grew by 8.4 per cent in Quarter one (Jan-March) of 2019.

Services such as trade, transport, finance as well as professional and technical activities, were the main drivers of growth in the second quarter of the year.

Overall, the service sector grew by 12 per cent thanks to a 23 per cent increase in wholesale and retail trade activities of locally made and imported products despite the loss of momentum in global trade.

Aerial of Remera Bus Park in Kigali. Emmanuel Kwizera

Transport, hotels and restaurants as well as financial services contributed relatively to the growth in services. Transport registered a 17 per cent and financial services, while hotels and restaurants, both grew by 13 per cent, according to data released on Monday.

Globally, trade in commercial services slowed down in the second half of 2019, according to the latest Services Trade Barometer released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

But Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, said Rwanda's economy was hardly affected by major global dynamics.

"We are not immune to the global trade impact, but it was minor compared to the global economy," he said. "We have seen, for instance, our export revenues in the recent past slowing because of the reduction in international commodity prices."

Meanwhile, public administration grew by 12 per cent while professional, scientific and technical activities increased by 13 per cent.

According to the report by NISR, other sectors that drove the economy include agriculture and industry.

The agriculture and industry sectors contributed 28 per cent and 17 per cent of the GDP, respectively.

The remaining 8 per cent was attributed to adjustment for taxes and subsidies on products.

In the second quarter of 2019, agriculture activity grew by 5 per cent, driven by export and food crops, which increased at a rate of 6 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.

Production of coffee increased by 21 per cent, but tea production slowed by 3 per cent.

Industry

In the same period, industry activity increased 21 per cent boosted by construction and manufacturing activities. Construction grew by 32 per cent and this lifted quarrying activity by 36 per cent.

Manufacturing growth stood at 16 per cent, thanks to increased production of metallic and non-metallic construction materials, as well as chemicals and plastic products.

Production of metallic and non-metallic construction equipment (mainly cement) increased by 43 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively. Chemicals and plastic products increased by 32 per cent owing to increased growth of paints and soaps.

Similarly, wood and paper, printing (mainly cleaning papers and tissues) increased by 35 per cent, while food processing and production of beverages increased by 8 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

President Paul Kagame had alluded to the strong growth rate recorded in the second quarter of 2019 during his address at the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Bureau Politique on Saturday, saying that it reflected the ability that the country had.

"This shows us what is possible. It also shows us that sometimes we stand in our own way and do not achieve what we are capable of. We are not only capable of achieving more but we need to reach these goals," he noted.

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