‘We expect double digit growth for 2021,’ says Rwanda finance minister

Rwanda’s long era of economic growth was disrupted by the pandemic, but the government believes that its next long-term plan will entice investors back. Uzziel Ndagijimana, minister of finance and economic planning, spoke to Lars Larsson about the country’s recovery plans.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Rwanda’s economic growth?

The sudden emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our previously fast pace of progress. Economic growth in 2020 was -3.4%, which was our first contraction since the total economic collapse of 1994 brought about by the genocide.

The virus officially reached Rwanda in mid-March 2020, but had affected our economy before that because of the disruption of international supply chains and travel. Despite this, economic growth in Q1 2020 was 3.6%, but dropped off sharply as the government started to impose tight measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Prior to that we had time to put in place measures and procedures to limit the impact of the virus on the population. This had the effect of minimising the loss of life, but also of constraining economic activity. These effects were fully felt in Q2 2020, when growth plunged to -12.4%.

Growth remained negative in Q3 and Q4, but also showed signs of improvement as we adapted to the ever-changing situation by loosening restrictions on some parts of the economy. Q1 2021 registered growth of 3.5%, and year-on-year growth in Q2 was a record-breaking 20.6%,…

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