Rwanda economic growth to accelerate—Kagame

On 3 November 2017 at 03:55

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwandan economic growth is expected to accelerate this and next years as the performance of industries including financial services, tourism and mining improve.

Kagame was speaking on Thursday in an interview in Dubai

The growth rate is expected to increase by 7% in 2018 from about 6% this year. That compares with 2016’s growth rate of 5.9 percent, which was a three-year low. Output already increased in the second and third quarters after slowing last year after infrastructure projects were completed, he said.

“The driving sectors are services; financial services, tourism, they are all combined to make this high growth. We are seeing mining activity growing very fast. We are seeing agriculture making a very good contribution, construction has picked up again,”Kagame said

IMF Estimate

The International Monetary Fund estimates growth in Rwanda will reach 7.5% by 2022, compared with a forecast 6.8% in 2018. Expansion this year could be revised downward by a percentage point to 5.2%, Mission Chief Laure Redifer told reporters in Kigali on Wednesday.

Growth is also being supported by stronger domestic demand and improved prices for metals the country produces including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, Kagame said.

“We have seen low demand for these commodities, but we see commodities are picking up again. But what is powering and driving growth is mainly the domestic demand,”Kagameadded.

Rwanda has no immediate plans to tap international capital markets. It last raised $400 million in a Eurobond offering in 2013.

There is “nothing on our minds right now because there isn’t as much compelling need as we had that time,” he said.

Moody’s Investors Services rates Rwanda’s debt at B2, five levels below investment grade and cites its “robust institutional framework” as an important credit strength. Economic growth is being buttressed by infrastructure projects including the construction of the $700 million Bugesera international airport in Eastern Rwanda.

One of the risks the economy faces is its dependence on donor funding for about a fifth of government revenue, according to Moody’s. The government is planning to reduce that reliance, which has already been lowered from more than 70%, Kagame said.

“We want to continue to reduce that as we continue to grow our economy,” he said.