Total exports of goods and services recorded a significant increase in 2022, reaching $ 2.9 billion to account for a growth of 40.5 percent, up from $2.1 billion in 2021. According to the latest Rwanda Development Board (RDB) annual report, in 2022, Rwanda saw a “notable increase” in its service export receipts, which amounted to $853.1 million, marking a 47.3 percent increase compared to 2021. “This increase was primarily driven by the recovery of the travel industry,” the report reads in part. Rwanda’s merchandise export receipts amounted to $2.1 billion, representing a 37.8 percent increase compared to 2021, with RDB attributing the growth to “the strong performance of the country’s manufacturing activities.” What are the main destinations? Asia emerged as the largest export destination of goods with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounting for the largest share of exports at 44.5 percent from Rwanda. Figures indicate that the UAE took the lion’s share among the largest export destinations generating $538 million worth of revenue. DR Congo followed with $154.9 million, India with $70.9 million, the United Kingdom with $42.1 million, and Hong Kong with $39.6 million. “In 2022, export promotion included a range of initiatives such as supporting businesses in accessing international markets, improving product quality, and developing new products,” said the report. For instance, 15 businesses were provided with access to finance, amounting to $820,500, to help them grow and expand export activities. “100 potential and exporting companies in key sectors such as Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Handcraft, and ICT were trained on various aspects of international market entry, including packaging and labeling, as well as the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” the report added. RwandAir’s cargo weight on the rise According to the report, RwandAir transported a total of 3,744 tons of cargo, with the majority of shipments to Dubai, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. The figure is expected to rise further based on the recent developments put in place to develop cargo freight services in the country. In November 2022, RwandAir launched its first cargo plane with a capacity of 23 tonnes as the carrier expanded its fleet. ALSO READ: First RwandAir cargo plane arrives ALSO READ: Why Qatar Airways is investing in RwandAir Just recently, RwandAir, and Qatar Airways launched the first-ever African cargo hub dubbed ‘Kigali Cargo Hub’ with an aim to boost trade on the continent. With similar interventions in place, experts argue, the national carrier could have a competitive edge in the cargo business both in the region and beyond.