Rwanda’s total trade with EAC partner states more than doubled between 2006 and 2010, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) said yesterday. It rose from $278 to 600 million, signifying the country’s impact as a net importer in the EAC region.
Citing a joint survey by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the central bank and the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), François Kanimba, BNR Governor, said that total exports under cross-border trade amounted to $48.93m in 2010, up by 25 percent from $46.58m in 2009.
“The country significantly benefited from improved terms of trade following the worldwide decline of import prices, while higher export commodity prices were sustained in 2010,” Kanimba told nearly 300 stakeholders during the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement workshop in Kigali.
Rwanda’s trade within the EAC is significantly aided by informal cross-border exports and imports, dominated by crop products and live animals, he said.
The Governor told the business community that although exports had increased, informal cross- border imports declined by 6.5 percent from $23.51 million to $21.98 million.
The decline, according to Kanimba, helped to improve Rwanda’s positive trade balance with its neighbours.
He added: “Rwanda ended 2010 with a positive balance of payments of US$71.8 million, leading to a build-up of reserves at the central bank.”
Overall, the volume of imports increased by 14.9 percent in 2010, a trend resulting from a higher demand of consumer goods. Consumer imports account for 30.6 percent of the total value of imports.
Kanimba said that better economic performance was achieved with almost “nonexistent” inflation rates coupled with stable domestic market prices.
“We had very low inflation estimates at 0.2 percent last year against 5.7 percent recorded in 2009.Domestic price stability is attributed to a relatively stable exchange rate, as well as a good harvest that kept food prices stable,” he added.