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Doing Business in East Africa


Rwanda is a small market, with a population of 10.7 million people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of roughly six billion dollars. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Rwanda’s GDP grew 8 percent in 2012 and is forecast to grow 7.5 percent per annum on average through 2020.

In 2012 the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Indicators report ranked Rwanda 52 in the world and third in Africa. Rwanda’s economy is overwhelmingly rural and heavily dependent on agriculture, and eighty percent of the population is engaged in subsistence farming. Agricultural production comprises approximately one-third of total GDP, although the services sector has shown strong growth, particularly hospitality and mining.

Rwanda generated $61 million in export earnings from coffee in 2012, an 18 percent fall from 2011. Tea exports increased 2.9 percent, to $65.7 million, over the same period. Major markets for coffee exports were Europe and the United States, while the Middle East and Pakistan were the main buyers of Rwandan tea. Tourism is the country’s leading foreign exchange earner, with total revenues of $240 million in 2012 compared to $216 million in 2011.

Principal imports included foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, aviation equipment, cement, and construction material. Europe, the United Arab Emirates, China, India, Kenya and Uganda are among Rwanda’s major suppliers. Rwanda imported $30.2 million in goods from the U.S. in 2012. Major U.S. imports included aviation equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and telecommunication equipment.

For more details on Doing Business in Rwanda, read the Rwanda Country Commercial Guide, at this link: Country Commercial Guide

Leading Sectors for U.S. Export and Investment

  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Construction
  • Transportation Infrastructure
  • Financial Services
  • Education
  • Tourism
  • Mining
  • Energy
  • Agro-processing

Contact Us

Jeff Bowan

Economic & Commercial Officer

U.S. Embassy Kigali

Tel: +250 2525-96400, Ext: 2538

Email: BowanJD@state.gov

Website: http://rwanda.usembassy.gov

Francis Peters

Commercial Counselor

U.S. Commercial Service

U.S. Embassy, Nairobi

Tel: +254 (20) 363-6424

Fax: +254 (20) 363-6065

E-mail: Francis.Peters@trade.gov

Website: www.export.gov/kenya

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