Rwanda’s economy expanded by 8.6 percent in the first six months of 2018 after growing 2.8 percent a year earlier, following “strong” growth in construction, the International Monetary Fund said.

“After rising to 6.1 percent in 2017, real GDP growth averaged 8.6 percent in the first half of 2018, consistent with the projected end-year growth rate of 7.2 percent in 2018. Robust growth in 2018 reflects strong industrial activity, notably construction. Inflation remains low, in part reflecting favorable food price developments, and is projected to average around 2.8 percent in 2018. With inflation expectations remaining close to the medium-term inflation target, the central bank kept the monetary policy stance unchanged in September, maintaining the policy rate at 5.5 percent through 2018.’’

The Washington-based lender maintained its outlook for overall growth this year at 7.2 percent, mission head Laura Redifer told reporters in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The construction of Bugesera airport and a pickup in foreign investment will fuel imports and lead to a rise in the trade deficit this year, Redifer said. Rwanda’s external buffers remain strong with export growth of 18 percent in the year to August and imports climbing 7.4 percent, the IMF said in statement.

Rwanda and IMF will negotiate for a new support program next year as the current one expires in December, Redifer said.


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