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Rwanda Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewRwanda is a rural, agrarian country with about 35% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but not concentrated in large metropolises – its 13 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined). Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth.

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 beyond pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 6%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006. Mining profits in 2015 were reduced by almost half, owing to the drop in global demand for minerals.

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. In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument in 2010.

The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies. In 2012, Rwanda completed 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, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. In 2016, the government launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$24.61 billion (2017 est.)
$23.18 billion (2016 est.)
$21.89 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$8.918 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate6.2% (2017 est.)
5.9% (2016 est.)
8.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,100 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving10.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
8.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 78%
government consumption: 14.7%
investment in fixed capital: 26.5%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 15.4%
imports of goods and services: -35.3% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 30.9%
industry: 17.6%
services: 51.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line39.1% (2015 est.)
Labor force6.227 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 75.3%
industry: 6.7%
services: 18% (2012 est.)
Unemployment rate2.7% (2014 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 4.4%
male: 3.6%
female: 5.2% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index46.8 (2000)
28.9 (1985)
Budgetrevenues: $1.874 billion
expenditures: $2.255 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues21% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt47.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
43.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.1% (2017 est.)
5.7% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate7.75% (31 December 2010)
11.25% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate16.9% (31 December 2017 est.)
17.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$941 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$940.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$1.937 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.903 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$2.054 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.959 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productscoffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
Industriescement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
Industrial production growth rate4.8% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$905 million (2017 est.)
-$1.211 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$908.9 million (2017 est.)
$745 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiescoffee, tea, hides, tin ore
Exports - partnersDemocratic Republic of the Congo 31.3%, Kenya 15.7%, UAE 13.8%, Switzerland 8.7%, Burundi 5.7% (2016)
Imports$2.007 billion (2017 est.)
$2.045 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
Imports - partnersChina 21.2%, Uganda 11.2%, Kenya 7.8%, India 7.4%, UAE 5.8%, Tanzania 5.3% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.026 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$2.966 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.611 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$2.473 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.072 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$26.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$26.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesRwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
839.1 (2017 est.)
787.25 (2016 est.)
787.25 (2015 est.)
720.54 (2014 est.)
680.95 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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