Saul Butera- New Times
Rwanda’s exports to her East African Community (EAC) partner states increased by 68.3 percent, from $14.38 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $24.19 million in the same quarter in 2011.
The figures are contained in a new report dubbed, ‘Rwanda External Trade Statistics Report’ by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).
The overall exports to the region increased by 39.2 percent, to $76.8 million in 2011, compared to $55.2 million in 2010.
According to the report, Kenya was the main destination of Rwandan exports with a share of 78.5 percent of the total exports to the EAC region, followed by Burundi and Uganda, at 10.8 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.
“However, imports from the EAC partner states decreased by 8.1 percent, to $92.3 million in the fourth quarter for last year, up from $100.4 million the same period in 2010,” the report states in part.
Uganda and Kenya continue to have big shares of Rwanda’s imports from the EAC region of 51.6 and 32.9 percent respectively, meaning the two countries account for nearly 85 percent of the country’s imports between them.
The share of imports from Tanzania dropped to 14.9 percent in quarter four of 2011 against 24.7 percent in the same quarter in 2010.
While import shares from Kenya and Uganda increased, Burundi’s remained constant.
“Rwanda’s total exports increased by 87.5 percent from $63.0 million in quarter four of 2010 to $118.1 million in quarter four of 2011 and the main destination was COMESA, EU and EAC with 39.4 percent, 29.7 percent, and 20.5 percent of shares respectively,” the report indicates.
During the fourth quarter of 2011, the level of imports increased by 17.4 percent, from $311.8 million in quarter four of 2010 to $366.1 million in quarter of 2011.
The shares of imports from Africa and Asia are significant at 40.6 percent and 33.9 percent respectively.
The Chairman of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Faustin Mbundu, told The New Times in a phone interview that the rise in exports meant that the economy was taking the advantage of the East African Community (EAC) as one market.
“The increase means the economy is productive and it would be more advantageous if the country could produce more products for export hence bridging the trade deficit,” Mbundu noted.