Sectors that will deliver Rwanda’s 7.8% growth

Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana (centre), IMF’s Laure Redifer (left) and central bank Governor John Rwangombwa during the news conference in Kigali yesterday. Emmanuel Kwizera.

The Rwandan economy is projected to grow by 7.8 per cent in 2019, according to latest projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF Mission led by Laure Redifer said that the economy is projected to remain strong in 2019 at 7.8 per cent driven by investment flow, continued diversification of exports, and continued resilience of the agriculture sector.

The projected growth will, among other things, rely on the continued investment inflows, foreign and local.

A number of large-scale capital-intensive projects such as Bugesera International Airport, Hakan Peat Plant and other ongoing infrastructure projects (such as electricity infrastructure) and road construction projects, are expected to drive growth in 2019.

The proposed Kigali Arena complex that’s under construction in Remera. Emmanuel Kwizera.

Redifer, the head of the just-concluded IMF Mission, said that the growth will also rely heavily on continued exports diversification to the region and beyond.

She said that the growth of the Made-in-Rwanda initiative will go a long way in promoting exports as has been witnessed in the last two years.

The latest central bank statistics show that export receipts continue to grow and stood at $995.7 up from $943.5m in 2017 with non-traditional exports growing steadily.

The growth in receipts is, among other things, a result of diversification as well as value addition.

The resilience of the agriculture sector is among the drivers of the projected growth. As the largest source of livelihoods for Rwandans, as well as a cushion against inflation, continued strong growth of the sector is expected to play a significant role to maintain growth.

Despite the recovery of the mining sector, there is still a cautiously but optimistic attitude in terms of the sector’s expected impact towards economic growth.

“We are seeing more diversification of exports with a little less dependence on specific exports. As for mining, we saw very strong growth in 2017 but less robust in 2018. But the formalisation of the sector is a good thing. We do not see mining as the main driver of growth despite being a huge contributor like other sectors, we see more unique sectors coming up beyond the traditional exports,” Redifer said.

The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, said there are ongoing efforts to further ensure that the mining sector has more productivity, less losses and is more attractive for investments.

Risk factors that could hinder the projected growth are largely weather related as it will influence agricultural productivity. Redifer also said that lack of access to markets to export to could also put the growth at risk.

In 2018, the economy grew by 8.6 per cent, surpassing the projected 7.2 per cent.

The growth was attributed to the strong performance of key sectors, such as services and agriculture, as well as a rebound witnessed in such sectors as construction, and wholesale and retail.