Predominantly a country of rural farmers, Rwanda is a country of few natural resources. Over 90% of its population is engaged in agriculture leaving only 10% for the service sector. Coffee and tea top the export list of commodities exported in Rwanda trade. The growth of Rwanda trade has been moved by exports since 2001 to the tune of 5% in the last 5 years.
Rwanda has worked tirelessly to bring back its economy ever since the set back in 1994 because of the genocide. In 1998 Rwanda signed an enhanced structural adjustment facility with the international monetary fund with the support of the World Bank saw the birth of privation in the country. Rwanda exports Tea, Coffee, Coltan, Cassiterite, Iron ore, Tin and Animal hides.Predominantly a country of rural farmers, Rwanda is a country of few natural resources. Over 90% of its population is engaged in agriculture leaving only 10% for the service sector. Coffee and tea top the export list of commodities exported in Rwanda trade. The growth of Rwanda trade has been moved by exports since 2001 to the tune of 5% in the last 5 years.
As of today the financial fate of tea and coffee prices in the international market determine the rate at which Rwanda economy is recovering. By 2000 coffee was the most exported item only to be overtaken in 2002 when tea became the most exported item as 15,000 tons were exported which is worth about US$18 million. Aside these, Rwanda also exports animal hides and tin ore. The countries to which Rwanda exports include China (9.1%), Thailand (8.6%), Germany (7.3%), the US (4.5%) and Belgium (4.1%). About US$213 million is the total revenue Rwanda generates from its exports.
Rwanda raises agricultural animals that are a source of money as money as well including goats, cows, pigs, sheep, rabbits and chicken . the numbers of each of these animals varies with geographic location. The production systems used as of today are mostly traditional although intensive dairy farms are beginning t emerge around Kigali. The major hindrances of abundant output include insufficient and poor quality feed, shortages of land and water as well as regular disease epidemics coupled with insufficient veterinary services. Fishing is carried out on the country’s lakes although much of it is depleted now and live fish is being imported as a way of reviving the industry.
The country has minerals as well that are mined and this alone has been a major contributor to the country’s economy. These minerals include wolframite, cassiterite, coltan, gold and sapphires. Methane from Lake Kivu is also benefiting the country for example Bralirwa brewery that has been using it for a long time as far back as 1983.
Rwanda’s imports are way more than its exports at about $786 million. Most goods are imported from Uganda (13.1%), Kenya (15%), Belgium (5.2%), China (6.2%) and Germany (4.5%) as well as a few from Israel and France. The goods imported include machinery and equipment, steel, cement and construction material, petroleum products and lastly food stuffs. Roughly 90% of Rwanda’s imports come from COMESA countries as it is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa as well as the East African community. The remainder is then imported from other African countries.
A recent survey on research on “Deriving Maximum benefit from small scale cross-border trade between DR Congo and Rwanda” indicated that Rwanda’s most traded goods to DR Congo include agricultural produce whereas the most imported goods Rwanda gets from DR Congo are manufactured commodities most especially textile goods. The report went ahead to indicate that many of the traders who sell their goods on the streets originate from Rwanda. 46% of traders coming from Rusizi, 38% from Rubavu, 35% from Bukavu and 27% from Goma. This however exposes the traders to harassment by police officers and street children the report added.
Lastly tourism has been one of the fastest growing economic resources for Rwanda making the country a leading foreign exchange earner in 2011. With very many tourist destinations all over the country tourists cannot get enough of flying down to the country that is richly blessed with gifts of nature. It is mostly popular for being the few countries with mountain gorillas, not forgetting its vast highlands, rich culture like their dances and their unique dishes.
“Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugu”
Trade and Industry
The performance in the trade as well as industry sector is fundamental to Rwanda’s economic growth along with poverty reduction targets began in vision 2020. The government works to make an improved business environment, which will boost private sector development as well as sustainable, long-term economic growth. This will be achieved through a comprehensive partnership as well as coordination with all the stakeholders in the sector.
There are lots of other challenges, chances in addition to areas for further improvement that ought to be addressed.
Trade Policy: The trade policy retains seven core principles, which are:
– Development of the internal trade in making accessible goods as well as services on markets,
– Export promotion,
– Trade Professionalisation,
– Regional integration promotion,
– Domestic market supply improvement,
– Consumers protection,
– International trade promotion.
Industry Policy: The Industry sector policy is based on the following principles:
– Organize a progressive disengagement of the Government from the productive sector and promote private sector development;
– Training in the use of new manufacturing technologies.
– Organizing Industries that are competitive environmental friendly and sustainable;
– Elaboration of the legal and regulatory texts governing the industry sector;
– Promotion of Agro Industry concentrating on value addition.
– Encouraging the cooperation between learning and research institutions with the industrial sector;
– Decentralization of the industrial activities
– Promotion of competitiveness in the industrial sector towards growth in productivity
– Promotion of Micro, small, and medium enterprises.