Rwandan exports to the East African Community (EAC) countries significantly grew in the first half of this year despite a poor showing in the global markets.
The Governor of National Bank of Rwanda, John Rwangombwa, revealed this while presenting the biannual monetary policy and financial stability statement today.
Exports to the EAC amounted to $97.8 million (Rwf66.7 billion) in the first half of 2014, up from $70.7 million (Rwf48.2 billion) in the same period last year. This was a 38.6 per cent increase.
Imports from the regional bloc increased 3.7 per cent, from $239 million to $247.8 million in the same period.
The main exports included tea, raw hides and skins of bovine, coffee, steel and iron rods, vegetables and malt beer. Major imports were cement, palm oil, fats and oils, fertilizers, second hand clothing and and sugar.
“The National Bank of Rwanda narrowed the trade deficit with EAC countries to $150 million from $168.5 million,” Rwangombwa said.
“The export sector didn’t perform as expected in the first half of this year as a result of falling commodity prices. The economy is recovering from the slowdown of 4.7 percent registered in 2013. It is evolving towards achieving, or even surpassing the projected growth rate of 6 percent by the end of 2014.”
He said that regarding Rwanda’s external performance in the first half of 2014, the trade deficit continued to widen due to increased imports without corresponding exports to cushion the balance.
“The cover rate of imports by exports slightly decelerated to 24.6 percent from 27.5 percent achieved in the same period last year,” he said.
On a positive note, inflation remains low, staying at less than 5 per cent.