Rwandan coffee showcased at the World Coffee Expo in Dubai

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The World Bank noted that Rwanda’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 11.1% in the first nine months of 2021, reflecting a broad recovery from the 2020 recession.

Details indicate that Rwanda has achieved a strong economic recovery in 2021, according to the 18th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU18) released on Wednesday.

Industrial production increased by 16.5% and agricultural production increased to 6.8% in the same year, while traditional exports (coffee, tea, cassiterite, wolfram and coltan) increased by around 35% during of the first nine months of 2021.

However, the report observes that the level of unemployment has continued to deteriorate despite the recovery, with the acceleration in growth partly reflecting a shift in employment towards higher productivity activities (manufacturing and construction).

While GDP edged closer to pre-pandemic levels, the unemployment rate remained more than 13 percentage points above early 2020 levels, as female employment deteriorated.

“While the current recovery shows that Rwanda’s strong fiscal and medical responses to the crisis have had a noticeable impact on the economy, the government will need to continue its efforts to promote a broader recovery that extends benefits to rural areas and protects the well-being of the most vulnerable members of society, including women,” said World Bank Country Manager Rolande Pryce.

In its particular focus on boosting regional trade integration in the post-COVID era, the report highlights the importance of sustained trade growth as a key driver for Rwanda to achieve its goal of becoming a upper middle income by 2035.

“Despite significant progress, Rwanda has yet to fully realize its trade potential with its regional partners, notably due to a relatively narrow export product base, discriminatory non-tariff barriers in the region and persistent gaps in regional trade infrastructure,” said Calvin Djiofack, World Bank’s Lead Economist for Rwanda.

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