Economy in Rwanda

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Economy—overview: Rwanda is a poor African nation that has suffered bitterly from ethnic-based civil war. The agricultural sector dominates the economy; coffee and tea normally make up 80%-95% of exports. The amount of fertile land is limited however and deforestation and soil erosion continue to reduce the production potential. ended most of the fighting but resumption of large-scale violence and genocide in April 1994 in the capital city Kigali and elsewhere took 500 000 lives in that year alone and severely damaged already poor economic prospects. In 1994-96 peace was restored throughout much of the country. In 1996-97 most of the refugees who fled the war returned to Rwanda. Sketchy data suggest that GDP dropped 50% in 1994 and came back partially by 25% in 1995. Plentiful rains helped agriculture in 1996 and outside aid continued to support this desperately poor economy. The economy continues to face significant challenges in rehabilitating infrastructure agriculture health care facilities and capital plant. Recovery of domestic production will proceed slowly.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$3 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 13.3% (1996)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$440 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 37%

industry: 17%

services: 46% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 7.4% (1996)

Labor force:

total: 3.6 million

by occupation: agriculture 93% government and services 5% industry and commerce 2%

Unemployment rate: NA%


revenues: $231 million

expenditures: $319 million including capital expenditures of $13 million (1996 est.)

Industries: mining of cassiterite (tin ore) and wolframite (tungsten ore) tin cement processing of agricultural products small-scale beverage production soap furniture shoes plastic goods textiles cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate: 4.9% (1995 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 34 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 169 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 21 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coffee tea pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums) bananas beans sorghum potatoes; livestock


total value: $62.3 million (f.o.b. 1996 est.)

commodities: coffee 74% tea cassiterite wolframite pyrethrum (1995)

partners: Brazil EU


total value: $202.4 million (f.o.b. 1996 est.)

commodities: foodstuffs 35% machines and equipment capital goods steel petroleum products cement and construction material (1995)

partners: US EU Kenya Tanzania

Debt—external: $1 billion (December 1995)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA

note: in October 1990 Rwanda launched a Structural Adjustment Program with the IMF; since September 1991 the EU has given $46 million and the US $25 million in support of this program (1993)

Currency: 1 Rwandan franc (RF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Rwandan francs (RF) per US$1—302.28 (January 1998) 301.53 (1997) 306.82 (1996) 262.20 (1995) 144.31 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

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