Rwanda’s economy grew 10.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, figures released by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning yesterday indicated.
The positive performance indicates that the economy has fully bounced back from a low economic growth of 1.7 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2017.
In the first quarter of 2018, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current market prices was estimated at Rwf1,985billion, up from Rwf1,816 billion in the same period the previous year.
According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, the 10.6 per cent is a continuation of growth from the last quarter of 2017 when the country posted a 10.5 per cent growth.
“It means that recovery has been maintained,” said Amina Rwakunda, a chief economist at the finance ministry.
The growth in the first quarter of 2018 was mostly driven by expansion in three main sectors of the economy; agriculture, industry, and services.
Agriculture grew by 8 percent while industry and services grew by 7 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
The growth in agriculture was mainly boosted by a good harvest of food crops in season A (September to December last year), which grew 6 per cent, as well as export crops that grew by 46 per cent, mainly due to tea and coffee production.
Growth in the industry sector is mainly due to an increase of 8 per cent in construction as the sector is recovering following a very low growth in 2017.
The industry sector has also benefited from food processing which increased by 9 per cent. The processing of cereals, tea, and sugar are the largest contributors to the growth.
Locally made products such as textile, clothes and leather products increased by 24 per cent, which is mainly a result of the government’s efforts to boost local production and consumption under the Made-in-Rwanda campaign.
Chemicals, rubber and plastics grew by 8 per cent, mostly boosted by the production of paints and soaps but beverages and tobacco decreased by 2 per cent.
As for the services sector, overall activities performed well with an increase of 12 percent as wholesale and retail trade increased by 26 per cent due to increase in tradable agricultural and manufactured products.
Transport activities also increased by 28 per cent, mostly boosted by air transport that increased by 32 per cent.
Under the services sector, information and communication increased by 24 per cent as people increasingly used their phones among other means to conduct business.
Financial services increased by 12 per cent while public administration increased by 15 per cent and human health and social work activities such as hospital services increased by 7 percent.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that the economic growth posted in the first quarter of 2018 is a good measure that raises excitement and hope about the results in the next quarters.
“It’s a very good result and we hope that subsequent quarters will also be good,” he said.
The country’s economy is projected to grow 7.2 percent this year, up from the 6.1 per cent posted last year.