Rwanda’s metal products, machinery and equipment industry performance rebounded from a 1 per cent decline in 2017 to a growth of 31 per cent last year.
The industry generate Rwf29 billion in 2017 and Rwf39 billion in 2018, according to a new report on the state of the economy.
The report by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) also shows that the total market value of all final goods and services produced in the country increased by 8.6 per cent.
Commenting on what drove up the growth in this industry, Yusuf Murangwa, Director General of NISR, told Sunday Times that metal products such as iron bars used in the construction sector were increasingly being produced domestically.
“There are metal products used in the construction sector that we were formally importing from the region, but, currently, some of them are made in Rwanda,” he said.
Teddy Ndayambaje, the General Manager at Master Steel Ltd, told Sunday Times that some of the factors that boosted the steel production include construction of Integrated Development Project (IDP) model villages across districts countrywide, improved economic conditions of Rwandans leading to increased construction of residential houses.
The demand for construction material was also boosted by the Ministry of Education’s move to construct more classrooms as it moved to decongest study rooms.
“We have majorly supplied the contractors of the IDP model village project across the country,” Ndayambaje said, adding that the review of the city master plans across the country also contribute to industry growth.
He revealed that the firm also exports such products to DR Congo.
The Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement published in February 2019 by the central bank showed that the country’s iron and steel exports from increased by 81.6 per cent from $5.13 million in 2017 to $9.31 million in 2018.
Overall, the industry sector contributed 16 per cent to the country’s GDP in 2018, NISR statistics indicate.
The 2015 domestic market recapturing strategy that was commissioned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry estimated that the development of the domestic construction material industry could save the country $206 million spent on importation of various construction materials annually.
For Iron bars, the strategy showed the potential to save of $34 million per annum with a high potential to recapture the domestic market.
In 2015, when that plan was designed, Rwanda imported over $105 million worth of steel and iron, while it exported materials of that kind worth $1.57 million, according to figures from the Ministry of Trade.