Rwanda’s economy expanded by 10.6% in the first quarter of 2018, where GDP at current market prices was estimated at Frw 1,985 billion, up from Frw 1,816 billion in the previous year.
Announcing the growth numbers for the first quarter of 2018, Yussuf Murangwa, the Director General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda pointed out that Agriculture grew by 8%, industry by 7% while services registered 12% growth.
He noted that growth in agriculture sector was boosted by a good harvest of food crops in season A of 6%. Export crops grew by 46% mainly due to Tea and Coffee production.
On the industry sector, DG Murangwa attributed growth to an increase of 8% in construction which is recovering following very low growth in 2017. Food processing increased by 9% due to processing of cereals, tea and sugar.
Local made products such as textile, clothes & leather products increased by 24%. Chemicals, rubber & plastics grew by 8% boosted by the production of paints and soaps. However, beverages & tobacco decreased by 2%.
Overall activities in the service sector performed well with an increase of 12%. Within this sector, Wholesale and retail trade increased by 26% due to increase in tradable agricultural and manufactured products.
Transport activities increased by 28% boosted by air transport that increased by 32%. Information and Communication increased by 24%. Financial services increased by 12% while Public administration increased by 15% and Human health & social work activities increased by 7%.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said that government will continue to create a conducive environment that supports the economy to grow. He said, “This is a consecutive quarter our economy has registered double digit growth. Going forward we hope to keep the momentum”.
Rwanda’s economy registered 6.1% growth in 2017 buoyed by 10.5% growth in the fourth quarter. According to IMF and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning projections, the economy is expected to grow by 7.2% in 2018.
The recent announcement of the Ethiopian government to sell share of the state monopoly Ethio Telecom includes liberalization of the sector, says Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
“We are not moving from government monopoly to private monopoly,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who briefed the national parliament this afternoon. “…If Somalia with 12 million population has four telecom operators, Ethiopia with over a hundred million population has to also open its doors to multiple telecom operators,” he said.
Commenting about the implementation of the partial privatization of the state monopoly, the Premier Abiy stated that 30-40% of the share will be sold to one of the top ten telecom company in the world with excellent industry knowledge and track record.
The privatization process will be taken care of carefully and may take over a year, according to Prime Minister Abiy. He also mentioned privatization of mining companies and large coffee farms as bad examples which failed to benefit the mass ending up in the hands of the few.
He further stated that 5% of the total share of the Ethio Telecom will be sold to Ethiopian nationals both at home and abroad. But that 5% share will be owned by many people not by an individual who can afford to but that 5% share, according to the prime minister.
Speaking on the need for privatization of the big companies, he noted that the government of a developmental state is to serve as a bridge for the development of the private sector and capitalism.
“Our country has joined the highly indebted countries category,” Prime Minister Abiy said, commenting on the loan burden of the country, which has reached $24.7 billion, of which 43.9% is loan by state companies.
He noted that the current foreign currency crisis in Ethiopia is exacerbated because of the poor management and failures of the state companies, which were supposed to start exporting products and services such as, sugar factories, electric power.
In the coming two years Ethiopia is expected to payback $6 billion dollars and ongoing state projects need $7 billion, according to Yinager Dessie, an economist and ruling party member, who spoke to state broadcaster last night.