TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Country Info: Rwanda

Economic Background

Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Minerals exports declined 40% in 2009-10 due to the global economic downturn. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels.

GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 7%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. Nonetheless, a significant percent of the population still live below the official poverty line.

Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06.

In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument (PSI). Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Threshold Program in 2008.

Africa's most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade. Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms.

Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth. The Rwandan government is seeking to become regional leader in information and communication technologies. In 2010, Rwanda neared completion of the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications technologies, trade and logistics, mining, and construction.

The global downturn hurt export demand and tourism, but economic growth has recovered, driven in large part by the services sector, but inflation has grown. On the back of this growth, government is gradually ending its fiscal stimulus policy while protecting aid to the poor. (Source: World Factbook, 2013)

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Comments by Rwanda on the OOCR

Comments by Rwanda on the OOCR

The 2015 EAC Heads of State Summit agreed to gradually reduce the importation of 2nd-hand clothes & footwear to promote the textile, apparel and leather industries in the region. In that perspective the Government of Rwanda developed a 2017-2019 action plan for the transformation of textiles, apparel and leather industrial sectors in order to increase the quality and quantity of textile, apparel and leather products for both local and...

Author Bonny Musefano
Organisation Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda
Publish Date 06 July 2017
View details D Size: 238 KB
Rwanda - National AGOA Strategy

Rwanda - National AGOA Strategy

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased to present the AGOA Action Plan for Rwanda, which was prepared thanks to the valuable support of the United States Agency for International Development, through the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The document, produced in close collaboration with the MINICOM, constitutes the road map that will allow Rwanda to harness the benefits brought about by the African Growth...

Author Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry
Publish Date 15 April 2016
View details D Size: 13 MB
Rwanda - United States (TIFA)

Rwanda - United States (TIFA)

Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Rwanda.

Author Rwanda - US
Organisation Rwanda - US
Publish Date 07 June 2006
View details D Size: 241 KB

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