EDITORIAL: IMF growth projections for Rwanda a vote of confidence in economy

Rwanda’seconomy is projected to rebound and expand by 6.2 per cent this year, driven by recovery of the agriculture sector, as well as growth in exports, and reduction in the trade deficit.

 Government’s efforts to promote domestic production and value addition as well as consumption of local products are tipped to spur exports and keep the economy resilient.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda’s (NISR) formal external trade in goods report for March already indicates that the country’s trade deficit narrowed by over 10.5 per cent in March, year-on-year.

This development underlines the positive outcome of the country’s domestic market recapturing strategy. The import substitution strategy seeks to encourage production of products like furniture, roofing materials and steel products to help bring down the country’s import bill, widen the export base and increase volumes and value.

The initiative has already paid dividends as Rwanda’s trade deficit dropped to $1,519.97 million in the first 11 months of 2016  from $1,602.21 million the previous year.

These declines are projected to continue on the back of strong local consumption of Made-in-Rwanda goods and value addition that will enable the country’s products to be more competitive locally and in regional and global markets.

That Fitch Ratings, a global leader in credit ratings and research, has affirmed Rwanda’s economic outlook as stable should also be good reason to support the optimism about the country growth prospects this year.

However, it is important to continue improving the business environment to ensure sustainable economic growth in all sectors of the economy.

These challenges, especially in  agriculture and industrial sectors  should be addressed if the country is to achieve its targeted 11.5 per cent growth rate by end of 2018.

The latest growth projections by the  International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be a motivation for a every Rwandan to play their part as the country sails on a clear growth path.