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Growing exports to help Rwanda regain higher growth rate: finance minister

PUBLISHED: Thu, 01 Feb 2018 11:37:19 GMT

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Rising exports are expected to help Rwanda’s economy to soon expand by its long term annual average of about 8 percent, its finance minister said on Wednesday.

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Claver Gatete said the economy had expanded by an average of 8 percent per year since 2000, but it had dipped to an estimated 5.2 percent last year due to sluggish growth in the construction sector and other challenges.

“We want to go back to the high growth of 8 percent,” he told Reuters, citing last year’s third quarter growth, which was 8 percent. “We are coming out of the woods.”

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The International Monetary Fund said last November it expected Rwanda to grow by around 6-7 percent this year.

Gatete said exports jumped 43.7 percent in the first 11 months of last year, while imports declined 1.4 percent, leading to a 21.3 percent reduction of the trade deficit.

“There is a trend … We are seeing the economy going the right direction,” he said.

Tax collection improved by 14.8 percent to 582.7 billion francs ($694.41 million) in the second half of last year, the revenue authority said on Wednesday.