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A new World Bank report indicates that the Rwandan mining sector has the potential to protect the country from economic shocks by significantly contributing to jobs and attracting foreign direct investment.

The report titled ‘The Rwanda Economic Update’ further reveals that production in the mining sector has increased with exports reaching $225 million in 2013 despite the small scale status of mining in the country.

Job creation

“Beyond export earnings, mining shows promise for non‐farm job creation, an important pillar of the government’s poverty reduction strategy,” says World Bank mining specialist, Rachel Perks.

“As of early 2014, mining in rural areas directly employed more than 33 000 people. Mining jobs also pay better when compared against other wage workers in rural areas.”

Call for regulatory framework

The Rwandan government is urged, in the World Bank report, to create an enabling legal and regulatory framework for investment while also investing in geological knowledge.

Also recommended were an increase in fiscal receipts, human resource development in the mining sector and stricter revenue management of the proceeds from mining.

Transformation of economy

World Bank country manager for Rwanda, Carolyn Turk, called for a shift from aid reliance to self-reliance by remedying such export sector constraints as energy and transport infrastructure, reports Ventures Africa.

“Rwanda needs a significant structural transformation of its economy from one characterised by a large public sector and limited investments. This transformation would minimise the current vulnerabilities in the economy and enable Rwanda to sustain its high growth rates in the next decade,” she said.

Developing industry

According to the World Bank report, the Rwanda governments ongoing efforts to transform its predominantly small-scale mining sector into semi-industrial and industrial activities will benefit from strategic focus on the following measures:

  • Secure the Enabling Legal and Regulatory Environment for Investment
  • Build the Geological Knowledge Base for Future Investment
  • Increase Fiscal Receipts and Ensure Revenue Management
  • Improve Recovery and Domestic Processing
  • Strengthen Human Development

Economic growth rate

The World Bank forecast an economic growth rate of 5.7% in 2014 for Rwanda, and 6.6% in 2015.

The country has made investments in the mining industry in the past few years, with favourable international commodity prices contributing to a sharp increase in mineral exports.

Rwanada’s mineral exports in 2013 accounted for 40% of the total goods exports in the country.

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