Rwanda’s trade with other East African Community (EAC) States rose considerably in the period between January and August this year thanks to the implementation of regional common market protocol.
Central bank statistics indicate that the country’s exports within EAC increased to US$75.7 million between January and August this year from US$50.7 million in the same period last year.
Rwanda’s main exports to EAC include tea, coffee, raw hides of bovine, vegetables and beer.
Although imports dropped to US$363 million from US$500 million, the country registered a huge trade deficit in the region, which means that imports outstripped exports by a big margin. Rwanda’s major shipments from EAC include cement, fertilizers, clothing, fats and Oil, and sugar.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, attributed the increase in the country’s intra-regional trade to the implementation of the EAC common market protocol, which facilitated free movement of goods and services across the region.
Kanimba noted that the introduction of different strategies such “Market Link” has also enhanced the competitiveness of local traders within the region.
“We facilitate (local) trader by taking them on study tours in regional States where they engage their counterparts in accessing more knowledge, skills as well as markets for their products,” the Minister said.
“This is the reason why exports are increasing.”
Meanwhile informal trade is the main driver of exports in Rwanda.
Official statistics show that trade along Rwanda’s borders increased with export receipts growing by 64.2 per cent to US$59.4 million in the first seven months of this year, up from US$36.22 million in the same period last year.