KIGALI, Rwanda, July 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rwanda's economic expansion has set yet another record. After last year's sharp slowdown, it has now returned to strong growth in the first quarter of 2014.
Economic growth peaked 7.4% in the first three months of 2014 compared to 4.7% registered in the same period of 2013, giving hope that the East African nation's economy is on the recovery path from the 4.6 percent annual growth rate, last year.
The recovery was solely backed by modest growth registered in the industry sector, services sector and agriculture sector which grew by 9%, 8% and 5% respectively.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose to Rwf1.3 trillion (USD1.9 billion) in this year's 1st quarter from Rwf1.1 trillion (USD1.6 billion) in the same period of 2013, according to the GDP statistics released by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) on June 24.
In the year 2000, when current leader Paul Kagame became President, Rwanda's GDP was at Rwf1.066 trillion with more than 70 percent of the population living in extreme poverty. Year-on-year GDP growth has been on the sharp rise from Rwf1.7 trillion (USD2.4 billion) in 2006 to Rwf4.9 trillion (USD7.1 billion) by end of 2013, according to government data.
During this period (2006-2013), an estimated one million Rwandans were lifted above so-called poverty line, which conveys that Rwanda's rapid economic growth registered since 2000 has trickled down to the poverty-stricken members of the country's population.
During the first quarter of 2014, the services sector emerged the largest overall contributor to GDP, occupying a whopping 48% followed by agriculture with 32%, industry with 15% and the remaining 5% from adjustment for taxes and subsidies.
Unemployment, which economic growth should address, was however not tracked although NISR says it is launching a survey in July that will track jobs created every year. NISR could not also provide statistics on how the realized economic growth could have impacted poverty levels in Rwanda, currently estimated at 45 percent of the 10 million plus population.
Although the first quarter performance surpassed this year's economic growth rate target of 6% and the annual population growth rate of 2.6%, it fell short of the medium term growth target of 11.5%, set in Rwanda's second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2).
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SOURCE KT Press