With the current crisis hitting hard the global economy, the Rwanda government is hopeful that the rise in exports would help to cushion the country’s economy against spill-over effects.
The Governor of the central bank, Claver Gatete says that the increase of exports in both volume and value of 58.2 per cent and 48.1 per cent, respectively, in the first six months of this year provide a bright look of the county’s economy.
Official statistics indicate the export receipts increased to US$156.1m from January to June from US$105.4m at the same period last year.
“Our strong performance in exports led to a significant improvement in imports cover by exports, standing at 21 percent in the first half of 2011 from 16.2 percent during the same period of 2010,” the Governor said.
He noted that the increase in exports helped to balance trade receipts even as the trade deficit nosedived to US$587.5m against US$543.7m in the same period in 2010.
In the period under review, tea exports rose by 4.1 per cent in volume from 12,811 tonnes to 13, 3331
“The increase in value can be attributed to high international prices which rose by 5.8 per cent from an average of US$2.58 per kilogram in the first half of 2010 to 2.73 per cent in the same half this year,” Gatete noted.
Hides and skins fetched US$ 3.2m compared to US$ 1.4m last year while horticulture exports generated US$21m compared to US$15m last year.
One of the top forex earners, the mining sector increased by 163.2 per cent in volume from 534 per cent last year with a value increase of US$72.5m from US$27m. According to Gatete, the increase is attributed to a significant increase in global prices by more that 70 per cent in average.
Non traditional exports continued to register good performance especially in the increased export of live animals, vegetables mineral water beer cosmetics products and textile products to DRC and Burundi.
However, despite the increase in general exports, a big shortfall in coffee exports has been recorded with a decline in volume of 36.7 per cent and value falling with 11.5 per cent, which the central bank
attributes to a decline in production last year.
“Farm level management practices have not been coping with required levels to the expected volumes,” the Managing Director of National Agricultural Export Board, Alex Kanyankore, said.
He noted that he is hopeful that better prices experienced by coffee exports this year will help push revenues to almost US$70m compared to last year’s US$56m.
Efforts to expand the crop’s market base have yielded success following the discovery of new markets in the middle Eat and China, he added.
Such diversified market destinations, Kanyankore says, help to offset challenges in the sector like high input costs, especially transport, which account for 40 per cent of the total costs.