Rwanda expects economic growth of 10.2% in 2021 – finance minister

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Rwanda’s economy was hit hard in 2020 by the effects of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, particularly tourism and other main sectors.

NAIROBI — Rwanda expects its economy to have grown 10.2% in 2021 after contracting 3.4% a year earlier, helped by improved performance in agriculture, recovery in industry and construction, the finance minister said.

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  • “Growth will be driven by agriculture reflecting a good food crop performance, continued recovery in the industry sector, particularly in mining (due to rising commodity prices), and resumption of construction activities,” Uzziel Ndagijimana said in a Dec. 20 letter to the International Monetary Fund, made public on Thursday.

The IMF said separately in the document containing Ndagijimana’s letter that it forecast economic growth of 7.2% this year.

“However, downside risks to the outlook remain elevated due to uncertainties surrounding the duration of the pandemic and availability of vaccines.”

The 2021 growth forecast is double the finance ministry’s May projection of 5.1%.

The government has lifted some restrictions, but others remain.

“Public offices and transportation and private businesses continue to operate below full capacity and the size of gatherings is still limited as COVID-19 remains a serious concern,” Ndagijimana said. Data from the World Health Organization shows that as of the end of December, Rwanda had fully vaccinated 40% of its 13 million people. The government says it aims to fully vaccinate 70% of its population by December 2022. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; editing by Grant McCool)