Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rwanda beats crunch with 10% growth in 2008

Rwanda's economy grew 10 percent in 2008, beating mid-year projections of 7 percent and defying a global economic slowdown, local media reported on Tuesday.

Finance Minister James Musoni on Monday attributed the robust growth to careful budgetary planning and better exploitation of its national resources.

According to the natural resources ministry, Rwanda almost doubled mining revenues over the last two years to about $81-million in 2008, up from $46-million in 2006.

"Though the whole world faced economic problems last year, the figures we have so far indicate that Rwanda's economy grew tremendously," Musoni told the New Times.

The landlocked central African country has been struggling to curtail 22 percent inflation, which rose throughout last year in line with the increasing cost of food and fuel on the world market.

Musoni said in the middle of last year that close to 50 percent of the economy was supported by foreign donors. More recently, President Paul Kagame has called on Rwandans to work harder to reduce the country's dependency on aid.

Rwanda is rebuilding its economy after the 1994 genocide that claimed 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

Kagame has won praise for running a disciplined government and for soliciting foreign investment, but critics say his style is authoritarian.