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Rwanda registered a good economic performance over the last years, and thanks to investments in education and infrastructure, it reached the Millennium development goals. In 2022, the economy continued to show signs of recovery from the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with GDP growing an estimated 6%, thanks to the service sector and the measures taken to fight back the coronavirus. Growth is expected to continue in 2023 and 2024, when GDP should grow by 6.7% and 7%, respectively.
In 2022, inflation significantly increased to 9.5%, but it is expected to decrease to 8% in 2023 and 5% in 2024. The debt-to-GDP ratio increased to 68.1% in 2022, and it is expected to continue to rise in the coming years, reaching 68.6% in 2023 and 69.4% in 2024. The country's current account deficit also increased in 2022, reaching 12.6%, but it should decrease to 11.7% in 2023 and 10.3% in 2024. With over 70% of the population employed in agriculture, household incomes benefited from the favourable prices of export crops in 2022, which resulted in higher household expenditure. Public investment, through the national strategic transformation plan (NST), targeted infrastructures related to trade such as the construction of the airport of Bugesera, to help the restart of the economy. The NST focuses on economic, social and governance transformation, according to the aspirations of the plan Vision 2050. As part of the latter, the government is developing new medium-term development strategies aimed at turning the country in a country with intermediate high income status before 2035, while the “Made in Rwanda” program aims to promote local production in order to reduce imports.
Despite the progress made, Rwanda remains a very poor country, where around 40% of the population lives below the national poverty line. In 2022, the unemployment rate in the country was at 24.3%, according to the government's Labour Force Survey, and increase from the previous year, when that rate stood at 23.5%
|Main Indicators||2020||2021||2022 (E)||2023 (E)||2024 (E)|
|GDP (billions USD)||10.19||11.07||12.70||13.15||13.63|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-3.4||10.9||6.8||6.2||7.5|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||804||854||958||970||984|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||65.6||66.6||64.4||67.1||71.1|
|Inflation Rate (%)||7.7||0.8||13.9||8.2||5.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-1.23||-1.21||-1.48||-1.73||-1.64|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-12.1||-10.9||-11.6||-13.2||-12.0|
Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
The Rwandan economy depends on subsistence economy, tea and coffee exports, and tourism. The mining sector is also a pillar of the economy: the country is one of the largest producers of tantalum, used, among other things, in the construction of mobile phones. Agriculture is the main economic activity of the Rwandan people, directly providing employment for 62.3% of the total population (World Bank). The sector accounts for 24.1% of GDP and accounts for around 80% of foreign income from exports of coffee, tea, hides and skins, horticulture and pyrethrum (chrysanthemum-based insecticide). About 61% of the Rwandan soil is suitable for agriculture because the soils are fertile, but food production often does not meet demand, requiring imports. In 2022, Rwanda's agricultural sector greatly benefited from an expansion in the country's planted area and favourable weather, which lead to above-average yields and an increase in agricultural export sales.
The industrial sector is strongly linked to the processing of primary agricultural products. It represents 20.3% of GDP and 8.6% of employment. It is estimated that almost 70% of industries in Rwanda are located in Kigali, with little activity in the urban centers of the hinterland. The government is committed to gradually privatizing the productive sector and promoting the development of the private sector.
The tertiary sector contributes around 47.8% of GDP and employs 29.1% of the total workforce. According to the government's "Vision 2020" plan, services could become the main driver of the Rwandan economy. The financial sector is made up of seven commercial banks and one development bank; the “Financial Sector Development Program” aims to deepen financial services and increase their reach among Rwandan citizens. In addition, Rwanda seeks to support the growth of the tourism industry and to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies. Tourism has become an important source of foreign exchange (around USD 300 million), in particular thanks to the increase in the number of international conferences, and should continue to grow thanks to significant investments in infrastructure, such as the construction project of Bugesera Airport. The expansion of RwandAir, the national airline, with the opening of new routes, should accompany the development of the sector. Furthermore, while the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impeded services, the sector registered an overall growth in 2022, with the recovery being mainly driven by travel and hospitality services.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||62.3||8.6||29.1|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||24.1||20.3||47.8|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||6.4||13.4||11.9|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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|Rwandan Franc (RWF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR||22.17||24.12||25.38||25.34||23.97|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
Rwanda's economic policy is open to foreign trade which accounts for 53.9% of the GDP (World Bank, 2021). In addition to benefiting from the U.S.-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which entered into force in 2012, Rwanda is a member of the East African Community (EAC) - one of the most dynamic regional communities in Africa - the Common Markets of Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA) and the WTO. Custom duties are relatively low in the country (7.3% on average) and non-tariff barriers are virtually non-existent.
Rwanda mainly exports petroleum oils (13.1%), tea (9%), coffee (8.2%), gold (7.3%), and precious and semi-precious stones (7.1%). The country's imports are led by petroleum oils (18.4%), telephone sets (4.8%), rice (2.5%), medicaments (2.3%), and wheat and meslin (2.1%). Rwanda’s leading export detonations are the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (33.6%), Switzerland (8.8%), Hong Kong (6.9%), the UAE (4.6%), and the UK (4.4%); with imports come chiefly from China (17.4%), followed by India (10.2%), the UAE (9.8%), Uganda (8.5%), and Kenya (6.2%).
Due to its strong growth and demand for manufactured goods, Rwanda has a structural trade deficit. In 2021, the country exported USD 1.5 billion worth of goods, while it imported USD 2.8 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of USD 1.6 billion. When accounting for services, the country's trade deficit reached USD 1.7 billion, as exports as services totalled USD 579 million and imports amounted to USD 666 million.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||2,323||2,464||2,659||2,542||2,895|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||1,050||1,122||1,241||1,408||1,530|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||904||936||910||543||666|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||729||648||747||295||579|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||5.8||8.1||18.0||-3.4||3.6|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||43.3||10.3||19.9||-9.2||2.8|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||33.1||34.7||36.1||35.8||34.8|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||20.5||21.1||21.8||19.3||19.1|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-974||-1,155||-1,465||-1,650||-1,659|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-1,167||-1,298||-1,482||-1,649||-1,746|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||53.7||55.8||57.9||55.1||53.9|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data
(% of Exports)
|Democratic Republic of Congo||33.6%|
|Hong Kong SAR, China||6.9%|
|United Arab Emirates||4.6%|
|See More Countries||41.7%|
(% of Imports)
|United Arab Emirates||9.8%|
|See More Countries||46.9%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
|1.0 bn USD of products exported in 2018|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||13.1%|
|Tea, whether or not flavouredTea, whether or not flavoured||9.0%|
|Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion||8.2%|
|Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form||7.3%|
|Precious stones and semi-precious stones, whether...Precious stones and semi-precious stones, whether or not worked or graded, but not strung, mounted or set, ungraded precious stones and semi-precious stones, temporarily strung for convenience of transport (excl. diamonds and imitation precious stones and semi-precious stones)||7.1%|
|See More Products||55.2%|
|2.8 bn USD of products imported in 2018|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||18.4%|
|Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528)||4.8%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||2.3%|
|Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin||2.1%|
|See More Products||69.9%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
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The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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Latest Update: September 2023