November 1, 2017 / 2:51 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-IMF cuts Rwanda's 2017 GDP growth forecast

(Adds quotes, details)

By Clement Uwiringiyimana

KIGALI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut its forecast for Rwanda’s gross domestic product growth to 5.2 percent this year from 6.2 percent but projected a pick-up in 2018.

The downward revision follows weak growth in the first half of the year as a 2016 construction boom petered out, the IMF’s mission chief for Rwanda, Laure Redifer, said at a meeting in Kigali on Wednesday.

“It (growth) was modest due to a boom in construction in 2016 that was not repeated in 2017. These things as well as external factors affected the growth rate in the first half of the year,” Redifer said.

She said she expected growth for 2018 be in the “range of 6 percent to 7 percent”, adding her team was still discussing the outlook with the government.

Rwandan government officials said they expected third- quarter growth to be better than the first two, but it may not be strong enough to reach the 6 percent they had projected for this year.

Finance Minister Claver Gatete said he expected the economy to be boosted by tourism, mining and rising prospects of oil exploration.

“We are seeing (promise) in some of the areas that we believe will have a significant impact,” he said.

Rwanda is targeting $1.5 billion in annual revenue from exported minerals by 2024 from the current $200 million, with the East African country saying it has discovered more mineral reserves.

Editing by Aaron Maasho and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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