Rwanda Economy


Rwanda is a land locked eastern African nation in the Great Lakes region. It shares international borders with Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite lying on the equatorial belt, the country enjoys a cool climate due to the presence of lower mountains and a huge forest region. The country is home to abundant wildlife. Mountain gorillas are one of the most sought after endangered species found in the region. Wildlife tourism has become a significant addition to Rwanda’s economy. The country has a population of above 10 million, based the on 2009 estimates, with almost 60% of the people living below the international poverty line.

Rwanda Economy: Introduction

Rwanda’s economy primarily depends on agricultural productivity. Almost 90% of the population thrives on farming and livestock rearing. Unlike other African nations, Rwanda does not have mineral deposits or measurable natural resources. The industry and service sectors are not entirely developed to push the economy towards higher growth.


The Rwandan economic profile suffered a serious setback during the 1994 genocide. According to the official data, the death toll exceeds one million (approximately), which is almost 20% of the population. The genocide resulted in the destruction of the emerging industrial sector. It caused widespread unemployment and population displacement. It also hampered the efforts towards attracting foreign investment. In the early 2000s, the economy began to revive. According to the 2009 figures, Rwanda has an annual GDP (purchasing power parity) of US$10.39 billion.



Rwanda Economy: Statistical Snapshot

Here are some of the key statistics regarding Rwanda’s economy:


Labor force

4.446 million (2007)

Labor in agriculture


Budget revenues

$1.261 billion

Budget expenditures

$1.391 billion

Industrial production growth rate

7% (2009 est.)

Current account balance

-$208 million (2009 est.)


$213 million (2009 est.)


$786 million (2009 est.)

Foreign exchange reserve

$619 million (December 2009 est.)

Exchange rate

568.75 Rwandan Francs per US Dollar


Rwanda’s economy receives substantial monetary aid through the HIPC (heavily-indebted poor countries) initiative sponsored by the IMF and World Bank. The government has structured reformative fiscal policies to end poverty and unemployment. The country is also making significant efforts to leverage trade within the East African region.