Rwanda’s economic growth exceeded the previously projected 5.2 per cent and grew 6.1 per cent last year, a positive performance that was mostly driven by fourth quarter growth.
Figures released by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda yesterday indicated that in the year 2017 the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at Rwf7,597 billion up from Rwf6,672 billion in 2016.
The economy grew 6.1 per cent in 2017, mostly driven by agriculture, industry, and services which contributed 31 per cent, 16 per cent, and 46 per cent, respectively.
Recovering from poor performance in the first and second quarters, the 2017 annual growth was mostly influenced by the fourth quarter GDP growth which was 10.5 per cent.
The main driving sectors of the economy, which are agriculture, industry, and services, posted positive growth rates in the fourth quarter, with agriculture and industry growing 10 per cent while services grew by 11 per cent.
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, congratulated Rwandans on the growth of the economy, indicating that it’s a positive thing that the total annual growth for 2017 has exceeded projections.
The minister said that the new figures on last year’s economic performance will guide the planning of the next budget for the country as well as the economic growth projections for the current year 2018.
“It is going to help us in terms of looking forward,” he said.
In the positive performance of the economy last year, growth in agriculture was boosted by a good harvest of food crops in season B and C while growth in industry was mainly due to an increase of 51 per cent in mining and quarrying products.
In one instance to indicate how mining blossomed in the fourth quarter of 2017, the statistics body said that “coltan and cassiterite, for example, increased by 94 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively”.
In manufacturing, food processing increased by 16 per cent boosted by processing of cereals while textile, clothes, and leather products increased by 19 per cent.
While NISR noted that chemicals, rubber, and plastics grew by 14 per cent in the fourth quarter, beverages and tobacco decreased by 8 per cent while construction decreased by 1 per cent.
Growth for the service sector was driven by wholesale and retail trade which increased by 19 per cent while transport activities increased by 16 per cent boosted by air transport. The statistics body said that administrative and support service activities increased by 37 per cent while financial sector increased by 14 per cent.