November 13, 2019 / 5:05 PM / a month ago

IMF revises up Rwanda 2019 growth forecast to 8.5%

KIGALI (Reuters) - The IMF on Wednesday revised up its growth forecast for Rwanda this year to 8.5%, from its previous projection of 7.8%, crediting strong growth in the first half of the year and new public and private investments in construction.

The small east African nation’s economy grew at more than 10% in the first half of 2019, said the International Monetary Fund’s Laure Redifer, speaking at a news conference at the end of a two-week mission she led.

“All the leading indications show a continued growth,” she said. Citing “big construction projects”, increased private borrowing and increased activity in the tourism and transport sectors, she said: “It’s a mix of a lot of things.”

Tourism revenues were $380 million in 2018 and the government projects revenues of $405 million this year, the chief economist of Rwanda’s central bank, Thomas Kigabo, said at the news conference.

President Paul Kagame, in office since 2000, has won international praise for overseeing a peaceful and rapid economic recovery of the country since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people were killed. Critics say this growth has come at the expense of civil liberties.

Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by Maggie Fick and Alex Richardson

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