Rwanda's economy has traditionally been based
on agriculture, mainly the export of tea and coffee.
Nowadays, the service sector has passed agriculture in
terms of the share of GDP. Growth is greatest in trade
and tourism. The manufacturing industry is limited while
the mining industry is growing rapidly.
Rwanda's economy was in ruin after the 1994 genocide,
but the FPR government's liberal policy of extensive
liberalization led to a rapid recovery. The bureaucracy
is small in terms of African dimensions and tax
collection is relatively good, which gives money to the
Treasury. The country is still considered poor, but
government finances are well organized and corruption is
Major imports by Rwanda, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
GDP growth has been good during the 2000s and 2010s
and inflation has been kept at an acceptable level.
However, agriculture has been hampered by conflicts in
the genocide's trail over the right to cultivable land.
The densely populated Rwanda has a constant shortage of
land and food production does not increase with the
population. Some Rwandans do not have enough food to
Rwanda receives a lot of assistance from the outside
world. Despite skepticism in the Western world about the
government's authoritarian features, Rwanda is estimated
to be comparatively well-managed. The flow of aid has
also been partly explained by the poor conscience of the
outside world for not intervening to stop the genocide.
Rwanda's involvement in conflicts in Congo-Kinshasa
during the 2000s (see Foreign Policy and Defense), and
many donors' own financial problems, contributed to
reducing foreign aid's share of Rwanda's state budget
from almost half of 2008 to just over a third in 2014.
Rwanda's efforts to stand on its own.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including RWA which represents the country of Rwanda.
In 2012, a number of countries froze their aid
following serious allegations against Rwanda to support
the newly formed M23 rebel movement in Congo-Kinshasa.
To counteract the fallout, and in the long run make the
country less dependent on development aid, the
government started a fund to which private individuals
were asked to make contributions. The government's goal
was for the "Agaciro Fund" (agaciro = dignity) to reach
$ 100 million. As early as 2013, government bonds were
sold for $ 400 million. The money was used, among other
things, to pay off the central government debt and to
build a hydroelectric plant, which from the start in
2015 greatly reduced Rwanda's need for imported
Growing foreign debt
A little into the 2000s, Rwanda had a high foreign
debt. Debt repayments have long cost the country more
than 40 percent of export earnings. In 2005, however,
the World Bank and the IMF stated that Rwanda had
implemented debt restructuring that had begun five years
earlier with their help. The country was freed from a
debt of $ 1.4 billion, which caused Rwanda to save $ 48
million a year in reduced debt repayments.
Since then, however, Rwanda has made major
investments in infrastructure, poverty reduction and
rural development, which has led to a further increase
in external debt, from $ 434 million in 2006 to $ 3.3
billion in 2017.
Rwanda has a constant deficit in its economic
exchange with the outside world, which means that
imports are larger than exports. The country must import
some energy and food. In addition, the trade deficit has
increased as residents are afforded to import more
Trade is made more and more expensive by the coastal
country's great distance to the sea. A conflict with
Uganda from 2017 has damaged trade with neighboring
countries, especially after Rwanda closed an important
border crossing in early 2019. There is extensive
smuggling to Congo-Kinshasa and Burundi.
Rwanda is part of a Customs Union within the East
African Community (EAC) (see Foreign Policy and
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 773 (2018)
US $ 9,509 million (2018)
8.7 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
29.0 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
5.9 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
47.8 percent (2018)
3.5 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
40.7 percent (2018)
US $ 3,338 million (2017)
US $ 1,126 million (2018)
US $ 2,032 million (2018)
- US $ 747 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
39 percent (2018)
Main export goods
Coffee, Tea, Gemstones, Metals (2018)
Largest trading partner
China, India, Uganda, United Arab Emirates,
Congo-Kinshasa, Hong Kong, Switzerland-Liechtenstein
Cooperation with Congo-Kinshasa against militia
Rwanda and Congo-Kinshasa agree on joint action against militia in the border
area between the two countries.
The death penalty is abolished
Rwanda abolishes the death penalty. About 800 people sentenced to death
receive their sentences converted to life imprisonment.
The president is pardoned
President Pasteur Bizimungu is pardoned by President Kagame and released from
prison after serving just under three years of his 15-year sentence.
Suspected war criminal is handed over
The Criminal Court in Arusha is for the first time submitting a case to
another country's judiciary. The former head of the Rwandan tea industry is to
be investigated in the Netherlands.
Presidential thinking is requested to be handed over
A French court denies an asylum application from Agathe Habyarimana, widow of
Rwanda's former president. She is considered one of the brains behind the
genocide and has lived in France since 1994, where she is believed to have been
taken with the French army. Rwanda requests her extradition.