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Small and landlocked, Rwanda is hilly and fertile with a population above 13 million people (2022). It borders the far larger and richer Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as East African neighbors, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi.

Political Context

Rwanda has guarded its political stability since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Elections for the president and parliamentary seats are scheduled for July 15, 2024, after the government decided last year to synchronize the dates for the votes. President Paul Kagame is the ruling party’s presidential flagbearer for the upcoming election, setting the stage for a fourth consecutive seven-year term.

Economic Overview

Rwanda aspires to become a Middle-Income Country by 2035 and a High-Income Country by 2050. It plans to achieve this through a series of seven-year National Strategies for Transformation (NST), underpinned by sectoral strategies focused on meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rwanda's economy has remained resilient and adaptable despite challenging external and domestic factors, achieving a 7.6% growth rate in the first three quarters of 2023. GDP growth is expected to regain momentum in 2024–26, with a projected average growth of 7.2%. The services sector sustained domestic demand, and the rebound of the industrial sector contributed to the robust growth and the positive economic trajectory.

Development Challenges

Rwanda’s public-sector-led development model has shown its limitations, with public debt increasing significantly in recent years. The country’s heavy reliance on large public investments (at 13% of GDP in 2019) has led to substantial fiscal deficits, financed through external borrowing. Consequently, the debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 56.7% in 2019 (from 19.4% in 2010) and was estimated to have reached 71% of GDP in 2020, following an increase in borrowing needs due to the pandemic. External financing through grants and concessional and non-concessional borrowing has played a key role in financing public investments. Going forward, the private sector looks set to play a bigger role in helping to ensure economic growth. Low domestic savings, a shortage of skills, and the high cost of energy are some of the major constraints to private investment. Stronger dynamism in the private sector will help to sustain high investment rates and accelerate growth. Promoting domestic savings is critical, along with inclusive growth.

Inclusive growth remains a key challenge, as the poverty reduction momentum has weakened in recent years. In terms of the international poverty line of $2.15 (2017 PPP), the poverty rate declined from 75.2% to 53.5% over 2000 to 2013 and became almost stagnant. In 2016, it was 52%. This poverty reduction slowdown is explained by compressed household consumption in rural areas, due in part to a slow rural to urban transition.

Addressing the above challenges will require continued efforts to improve the quality of infrastructure (water and electricity), essential basic services (education, health, and social safety nets), and effective support for entrepreneurship and private-sector job creation. The  World Bank’s Human Capital Index scores Rwanda at 0.38, slightly higher than the average for low-income countries but lower than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2024

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Rwanda: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
KN71 St
Kigali, Rwanda
For general information and inquiries
Rogers Kayihura
External Affairs Officer
For project-related issues and complaints