Rwandan economy grows 8.4% in first quarter

The State Minister for Economic Planning, Claudine Uwera, and deputy director-general for National Institute of Statistics, Ivan Murenzi (left), at a news briefing about the country’s economic performance in the first quarter of 2019 during which the GPD grew by 8.4 per cent, at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning headquarters in Kigali yesterday. Craish Bahizi.

Rwanda’s economy grew 8.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, in line with official forecasts, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on Monday.

During the first three months of the year, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the monetary value of all finished goods and services that were produced in Rwanda was estimated at Rwf2,144 billion, up from Rwf1,987 billion registered in the same period last year.

Officials welcomed the growth, saying it demonstrates positive change in economic activity whose rebound started early last year as it recovered from terrible weather conditions.

The Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN), Claudine Uwera, said that the economy was expected to sustain the positive growth rate.

 “In general, the performance is really good because there has been change,” she said.

Agriculture, services, and the industry sectors were the main drivers of growth.

The services sector contributed 48 per cent, agriculture 28 percent while industry accounted for 17 per cent of the GDP growth.

The remaining 7 percent was attributed to adjustment for taxes and subsidies on products.

During the quarter, agriculture grew by 4 per cent, industry by 18 per cent, while services grew by 8 per cent.

However, export crops decreased by 9 per cent after a significant growth of 46 per cent realised in the first quarter of 2018.

The drop is attributed to a decrease of 7 per cent in production of tea and a decrease of 19 per cent in production of other cash crops such as flowers, pyrethrum, and sugar cane, even as production of coffee increased by 2 per cent.

In Industry sector, the growth of 18 per cent is attributed to 30 per cent increase in construction activities, 8 per cent in manufacturing activities and 12 per cent in mining and quarrying activities. The growth in mining and quarrying is due to an increase of 20 per cent in quarrying activities.

In manufacturing, growth was observed as a result of the Made in Rwanda programme, with a 15 per cent increase in textiles, clothes and leather goods, as well as 38 per cent increase in wood, paper and printing.

The production of construction materials such as metallic products grew by 11 per cent, while non-metallic mineral products (mainly cement) increased by 21 per cent.

In Services sector, transport services grew by 11 per cent due to Air transport services which increased by 21 per cent and wholesale and retail trade activities grew by 7 per cent.

Moreover, professional, scientific and technical activities grew by 25 per cent, administrative and support service activities grew by 15 per cent, while financial services grew by 14 per cent even if telecommunication activities decreased by 2 per cent.

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