ALLAFRICA 04 APR 2020
The government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have revised Rwanda’s economic growth projections for 2020 to 5.1 per cent in light of the effects of the novel coronavirus and its impact on the economy.
The economy grew by 9.4 per cent in 2019 and was initially projected to grow by 8 per cent in 2020 and 2021.
The novel coronavirus was not among the anticipated risks to growth for Rwanda just like elsewhere across the world.
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana said that the revision was necessary given the impact of the virus on the local, region and global economy.
An assessment by the government on the extent of the virus’ impact on the economy revealed that the service sector had been most impacted (compared to agriculture and industry).
Ndagijimana said that for instance, the tourism industry had missed out on about $10M in the months of March and April only.
With most hotels across the country closed as there are no conferences, meetings or events as well as guests, he said that the hospitality industry was also missing out on revenue of about Rwf3 billion.
RwandAir halted commercial passenger flights for a month which has had consequences on the airline’s revenue. The airline is currently working on operating cargo flights to serve growing demand.
Trade internally, regionally and globally has also suffered immensely as some supply chains have halted as well as logistics challenges with lockdown measures in multiple parts of the world.
The minister said that following interaction with regional countries, they had decided to minimize any disruption on cross border trade to ensure the maintenance of supply chains as access to essential services.
However, cargo operators he said are required to comply with the health guidelines issued to contain the virus.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday this week approved $109.4 million credit to Rwanda.
The emergency assistance is drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), which provides rapid concessional financial assistance with limited conditionality to low-income countries.
The Minister said that the fund is budget support that will be utilized in aspects that the government deems necessary and of priority.