Is Rwanda Africa's next economic powerhouse? - CNBC Africa

Is Rwanda Africa's next economic powerhouse?

East Africa

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President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

“One can fairly say the stage is set for good prospects. The main reason behind all of this is there seems to be a sense that there is good leadership that’s leading this reform agenda. You get a sense, when you’re in Kigali, that things have to get done sooner rather than later. You’re seeing it throughout the whole economy. There’s positive movement,” Rand Merchant Bank sovereign risk analyst Brian Dlamini told CNBC Africa.

“Economic growth is forecasted [at] eight per cent for this year, according to government, 10 per cent next year. They want to reduce poverty to below 30 per cent by 2017. It’s all looking quite positive.”

Rwanda is widely recognised as one of sub-Saharan Africa’s thriving economies, and a leading reformer in the continent.

There are however questions as to who will be current president Paul Kagame’s successor,  and whether they will be able to continue his successful reforms as well as continue to implement successful ones.

“The sense is that there is a plan, and the plan lives beyond an individual or a person. There are targets to be fulfilled and across the board, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that those are fulfilled. Everyone wants to get these targets of growth, poverty being reduced, because it affects Rwandans in general,” Dlamini explained.

Rwanda’s economy has traditionally been dependant on tea and coffee production, but its tourism industry is also turning it into a key player in the East African region.

Rwanda’s Eurobond was also used to pay off a debt that was incurred by national carrier RwandAir, and the country is now looking to recapitalise their airline.

“Tourism is key, and they’re looking at other infrastructure projects that will support the tourism sector. There’s a number of hotels that are coming up. When they look at it, will there be enough electricity? So you get the power sector coming on board,” said Dlamini.

“Those hotels and the tourism industry will have to depend on the manufacturing sector to supply the needs. There’s quite a holistic view to differentiating it amongst its peers in the region.”

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