Rwanda’s Deficit Widens As Uganda and China Are Major Exporters

Uganda Cement bags being loaded on a truck destined to Rwanda 
Uganda Cement bags being loaded on a truck destined to Rwanda

Rwanda is increasingly purchasing most of its major necessities from neighbouring Uganda although China is still number one source of its imports.

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, Uganda has overtaken India as the second major source of its imports.

With a fast growing economy, Rwandans are increasingly demanding for; cement, cellular phones, medicines, vehicles and fertilisers.

These commodities, the report noted, represented 15.95% of Rwanda’s total imports in the third quarter of 2015.

The value of these imports have more than quadrupled compared to the second quarter.

Cement imported from Uganda was worth US$19.39 million (14.55% less over the same quarter of 2014).

Telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless almost US$20 million (up 10.35% year-over year)

Rwanda also imported medicaments in measured doses for retail sale worth US$ 16.4 million (down 14.15% compared to the same quarter of 2014 reaching).

There was a surprising increase in demand for diesel or semi diesel engine vehicles, 2500cc, mostly (up 463.13% when compared to the same quarter of 2014 amounting US$ 12.16 million).

Roughly US$ 10 million was spent on mineral or chemical fertilisers containing the three fertilising elements nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (up 68.44% on 2014 third quarter levels).

Overall, the value of imports in the third quarter of 2015 amounted to US$ 481.10 million representing a 2.23% rise compared to the second quarter of 2015 which amounted to US$ 470.60 million and of 12.47% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2014 amounting US$ 427.75 million.

In the third quarter of 2015, top five imports of Rwanda originated from; China (US$ 97.88 million), Uganda (US$ 63.35 million), Kenya (US$ 39.83 million), India (US$ 35.81 million) and Japan (US$ 24.80 million),” said the report released last month.

Around one third (32.95%) of Rwanda’s top five imports came from Asia (US$ 158.48 million).

Meanwhile, as Rwanda still struggles to fix the widening balance of trade, the country is pushing to increase export of its locally produced goods to external markets.

According to a report, the country’s formal trade in goods increased by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2015.

“In the third quarter of 2015, Rwanda’s total trade reached up to US$ 623.25 million higher by 0.3% over the third quarter of 2014, made up of exports worth of US$ 96.14 million, imports worth of US$ 481.10 million and re-exports valued at US$ 46.01 million.

However, the deficit continues to widen. Despite making almost US$100m more, the trade imbalance has stretched beyond 40%.

The trade deficit for the third quarter of 2015 worked out to US$ 338.95 million, 45% higher than the deficit of US$ 233.98 million for the corresponding quarter of 2014.

Compared to the previous quarter of 2015, the deficit was higher by 4% (US$ 326.32 million of deficit in the second Quarter of 2015.

Rwanda’s exports mainly comprised of Tea (fermented and partly fermented) and coffee both not roasted and not decaffeinated.

Others goods included minerals such as; Niobium, vanadium ores, tantalum and concentrates. The list also consists of gold, tin ores and concentrates.


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