Rwanda’s exports increased by 44 percent in terms of volume in January and February 2011, a trend the central bank said signaled a rebound in economic activity.
According official statistics, Rwanda fetched $45m from exports in January and February in 2011 compared to $31m in the same period last year. In terms of value, exports rose to 18.9 tonnes from 14.8 tonnes in the period under review.
The central bank said that the strong recovery was occasioned by competitive prices of coffee and tea on the international market as well as growth in construction and mining sectors.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, said that the trend is sustainable and that it is reflected in the broader national export strategy being implemented.
The strategy seeks to exploit opportunities for higher export revenues through export promotion and diversification.
Other measures to ensure sustainability in the export sector include the implementation of Small and Medium Enterprise and Industrial policies.
“We should continue to capture informal cross boarder trade and focus on crafts sector, SMEs which are now mature and key players in our exports,” she added.
According to a survey by the ministry, the volume of informal cross border trade flows between Rwanda and neighboring countries last year hit Rwf40 billion, in line with the country’s objective to become a trade logistics hub.
Vivian Mwitirehe, the Director of Statistics Department in the central bank, said that the rise in exports indicate a vivid contribution to the gross reserves over a year ago.
“The 44 percent increase in exports is remarkable but still far lower than the pace of growth in imports at 30 percent share of imports,” Mwitirehe said.