Rwanda’s economy is almost virgin in terms of industrialisation, foreign investment, and engagement with international markets. The service sector continuously contributes most to the GDP followed by the agricultural sector, the manufacturing sector and adjustment at 48%, 31%, 16% and 5% respectively. The country’s main exports are tea, coffee, and minerals. Other agricultural products such as pyrethrum and flowers are also exported. The limited industrial output generates products for local consumption, including cement, beverages, soap, shoes, plastic goods, garments, and cigarettes.
The government initiated an economic stabilization and recovery program which led to a major economic turnaround between 1994 and 2001. During this period, the government restructured the country’s external debt through the Paris Club, secured a three-year support loan from IMF/World Bank, abolished export taxes, initiated rehabilitation of the banking sector, liberalized trade, currency and wage regimes, achieved full current account convertibility, firmed up the independence of the Central Bank, and launched the restructuring and privatisation of public entities.
What has been the harvest from these initiatives? A dramatic and sustained GDP growth rate and investor confidence. Between 1994 and 1997, GDP growth rate rose by nearly 70%. In the following years, growth remained relatively high (between 6% and 9%). The last three years have also seen spectacular GDP growth at an average rate of over 6%. In 2008 Rwanda registered double digit growth at 11.2%.
Local entrepreneurs have led the effort in ploughing their cash in the economy. The government’s focus over the next three years is to further secure macroeconomic stability, promote investment into value-adding economic activities, and expand the export base so as to help reduce the external current account deficit.
Our vision is to become a prosperous nation powered by a knowledge based private sector led economy. The private sector is viewed as a true partner in our development and the government is committed to providing the most easily accessible business environment in Africa.