Economy expands by 8% in third quarter

Rwanda’s economy expanded by Rwf1.9 trillion in the 3rd quarter of 2017, thanks to strong performance by both the service and agriculture sectors.
Rwanda coffee being dried. File.
Rwanda coffee being dried. File.

Rwanda’s economy expanded by Rwf1.9 trillion in the 3rd quarter of 2017, thanks to strong performance by both the service and agriculture sectors.

A report by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), released Friday, puts Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at Rwf1, 927 billion.

This is more than Rwf1, 689 billion registered in the same period in 2016 and represents 8 per cent overall growth in GDP.

The positive growth, according to Yusuf Murangwa, NISR’s director-general, was mainly driven by impressive 47 per cent growth rate by the service and agricultures which contributed 30 per cent to the national economy.

Equally, growth in the industry sector was buoyant, contributing 16 percent of the GDP.

Growth rate by kind of activity

Government had earlier anticipated that growth will mainly be driven by agriculture, industries, and services going forward and indeed the statistics body figures indicate that the country’s agriculture increased by 8 per cent and contributed 2.1 percentage points to the overall GDP growth rate.

Food crops increased by 11 per cent due to good harvest of season B and C of 2017 compared to the slight growth of 1 per cent realised in same seasons of 2016.

Activities in the industry sector increased by 6 percent and contributed 1.1 percentage points to GDP growth rate.

Meanwhile, manufacturing activities increased by 6 per cent boosted mainly by an increase of 19 per cent in food processing activities, 23 per cent in textile, clothing and leather and 15 per cent in manufacturing of chemicals, rubber as well as plastic products.

Expenditure GDP

Rwanda’s total final consumption expenditure during this period increased by 1 per cent with government expenditures increasing by 9 per cent more than household final expenditures which decreased by 1 per cent.

Country’s exports grew by 31 per cent while imports increased by 4 per cent.

This is good news that will according to economic experts, like Celestin Nsengiyaremye, move Rwanda towards economic sustainability.

“It is very imperative for Rwanda to try and balance its trade; with this the country should concentrate on increasing local production and consumption so as to be able to reduce its trade deficit,” Nsengiyaremye noted, adding that Rwanda will only achieve its economic growth objectives if it focuses on export promotion through value addition and enhancing local production.

Rwanda’s growth rate slowed in 2016 and the first half of 2017 as a result of drought and the completion of large projects like the construction of Kigali Convention Centre but it is now set for a rebound.

Indeed, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, recently expressed optimism about the economy bouncing back from a paltry 1.7 per cent growth it registered in the first quarter of 2017.

Early this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that Rwanda’s economy would grow by 6.2 per cent in 2017, recovering from a slight dip in 2016 where it grew by 5.9 per cent.

The Fund anticipates that the government’s efforts and incentives to promote domestic production and consumption of local products as well as value addition of exports will keep the economy buoyant.