Rwanda’s economy is on a solid incline with its gross domestic product (GDP) growing to 7.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
Rwanda’s Finance and Economic Planning Minister Claver Gatete, said the country applies a retrospective approach when tracking its economy. From 1995 up to the end of last year, the east African country grew at an average of 9.8 per cent and from 2000 to last year it rose by 8 per cent on average.
Gatete told CNBC Africa that in the face of struggling economies across the world, Rwanda has found its growth potential in the services sector which accounts for 48 per cent of its entire economy.
“The services sector has really been making a huge impact but we are working heavily to see how we can transform the agricultural sector [which contributes one per cent to the economy], “he said.
Gatete added that the East African country is “surprisingly” seeing growth in ICT services which contributes three per cent to its GDP. “For the first quarter, the ICT services grew by 35 per cent, that’s the fastest/biggest growth that you could ever see, “he substantiated.
Gatete explained that the country is looking at a cumulative growth approach where it is identifying which areas need an improvement in helping the economy to grow.
Rwanda needs to strengthen its export strategy, and Gatete said it is doing this through “special economic zones”. “We make sure we can concentrate infrastructure especially on those that are for exports.
We are not only giving incentives for exports but we are also establishing the export growth fund so we can attack that area from different angles.” Gatete said Rwanda plans to grow exports by 28% year on year.
The Rwandan Stock Exchange has been opened up to companies in the region. Gatete said it sees the capital market as a significant addition to the country’s financial sector.
He cited that there are already companies coming on board- namely MTN and Crystal Venture that has put their shares on the market.
Gatete revealed that the stock exchange will soon list another company but he was not yet at liberty to share the name. He added that the government is also planning to privatise its shares together with two more banks.
Since regional investors are treated like Rwandan’s, this is also an encouragement to most of the region whether it is institutions, investors, or the private sector to participate in the market, he assured.