Rwanda attracts nearly all its annual investment target in first-half

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The announcement on Wednesday underlines Rwanda’s steady economic growth of the past few years.

Clare Akamanzi, acting chief executive officer at state-agency Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said Rwanda had hoped to raise a total of 1.3 billion in both local and foreign direct investments this year.   

Akamanzi said the foreign investments received so far were mainly in the technology and energy sectors, which the central African country is focusing on for expansion.    

Of the total amount of investments pledges so far, Rwandan companies have indicated they will invest $509.1 million, while foreign firms have offered $406.9 million, while $338.1 million has been pledged in joint ventures between local and foreign companies, she said.

“RDB has so far registered 89 projects and met 96.4 percent of its annual target in the first semester (first half) only,” she said, adding that most projects registered by her agency over the last 3 years had reached the implementation stage.

Rwanda’s economy has expanded faster than those of its bigger regional peers in recent years. However, its gross domestic product growth slowed to 5.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, down from 7.0 percent the previous year.

This was the slowest first quarter growth in three years, and followed the cancellation of withholding of aid last year by several international donors over Rwanda’s alleged backing of rebels in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, a charge Kigali denies.

The country’s first Eurobond, which it launched in April, was heavily oversubscribed.

Rwanda recorded economic growth of around 8 percent in 2012 and has forecast that it will expand by 7.5 percent in both 2013 and 2014.

The World Bank in a report released in May cited Rwanda as the top performer of five east African states in terms of the ease of doing business in the country.

However, the economy is hampered by a serious shortage of electricity supply with only 16 percent of the population having access to electricity. Rwanda, which has a population of just over 10 million, borders the bigger east African states of Uganda and Tanzania with Kenya just to the east.