Thousands face unemployment as Rwanda’s economy slip into recession
Rwanda’s economy is in a recession. Restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus are piling pressure on the economy.
Thousands face unemployment and there’s a risk of more Rwandans falling into poverty. That’s why analysts are urging the government to take additional measures to spur growth in this East African nation. Retail trade, leisure, hospitality, and conference tourism are key sectors hard hit.
The country of 12 million people has seen strict coronavirus-prevention measures in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Rwandan population has felt the effects of these measures – with 5% more unemployed since the start of the health crisis i.e. 550,000 people in 2021.
Over 80% of those recently out of work are in rural areas, according to data published by the World Bank this week. The pandemic has affected all sectors in the nation – including services, small to medium enterprises and the leisure and tourism industry.
There has been a significant drop in activity as Africa’s technology hub has been in lockdown – leading to a notable decline in growth.
The government has adopted an economic recovery plan estimated at 900 million USD – whose implementation will span the two fiscal years 2019/20 and 2020/21.
“Tourism has been the top foreign exchange earner, and when the pandemic kicked in, this sector was heavily affected.
If you look into the growth that we experienced in 2019, you are talking about where the economy grew by 9.4 percent, but if you go into the numbers from 2020, we are projecting to receive a growth rate that is going to be even less than 2 percent’’, Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy CEO, Rwanda Development Board tells Ignatius Annor.