In-depth country-focused analysis on Rwanda's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight


Our comprehensive assessment of Rwanda's operating environment and the outlook for its leading sectors are formed by bringing together a wealth of data on global markets that affect Rwanda, as well as the latest industry developments that could impact Rwanda's industries. This unique integrated approach has given us an impeccable track-record for predicting important shifts in the markets, ensuring you’re aware of the latest market opportunities and risks in Rwanda before your competitors.

Country Risk

Rwanda Country Risk

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Core Views

  • We forecast a real GDP expansion of 6.4% in Rwanda in 2015 and 6.6% in 2016. Growth in the small East African country returned to trend levels last year when a 7.0% increase was recorded - following the below-par 4.6% expansion recorded in 2013 - and we expect that a similar level will be maintained over our medium-term forecast period to 2019. This return to trend reaffirms Rwanda's status as a Sub-Saharan African (SSA) outperformer. The country has one of the strongest growth rates on the continent over the past two decades, and we expect that it will remain so as productivity in agriculture improves and new service industries are developed. In the near term, lower oil prices will give a significant boost to growth.

  • Rwanda's fiscal deficit will widen over the next several years thanks to a fall in grants. This will necessitate greater borrowing,...

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Rwanda Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Rwanda Operational Risk

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Rwanda's cheap labour force and relatively stable political and economic environment attracts many investors who benefit from strong economic openness and a low corruption rate. The country's free market economy and openness to investment reduce bureaucratic barriers to trade and lower operational risks. Nonetheless, investors should be aware of the country's poor transport network that is heavily dependent on road freight and frequent power shortages that disrupt business operations.

Overall, Rwanda is an unattractive country for investors (albeit hugely improved since the 1994 genocide), with high operational risks reflected in its score of 42.7 out of 100 in our Operational Risk Index. This puts it in ninth position out of 48 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. We see the more severe potential risks emanating from the country's limited logistics network, as well as the ongoing threat of a...

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Rwanda Crime & Security

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Rwanda has become a generally safe place for foreign business travellers, expatriate workers and tourists, with the ethnic violence and domestic instability of the 1990s having largely subsided. Despite a persistent threat from low-level terrorist activity, the risk to worker safety or disruption to business operations is low, with the minimal impact of crime also presenting an advantage for investors looking to locate in the country. However, Rwanda's insecure international position, and the continuing activity of rebel and terrorist organisations in the region, continue to pose a threat to the country's stability. Rwanda is therefore placed in the middle of the pack in the Sub-Saharan Africa region in our Crime and Security Risk Index, with its score of 43.0 placing it 17th out of 44 states.

Criminal risks in Rwanda are low by regional standards, and there is no systemic threat to foreign workers in the country. Although violent crimes such...

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Rwanda Labour Market

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Rwanda has a largely rural, unskilled labour force. Very low secondary and tertiary enrolment rates are significant impediments to the development of a skilled workforce capable of skilled, technical labour. That said, the country has made significant progress towards achieving universal primary education, and we are cautiously optimistic that this will extend to secondary education in the long term. Rwanda scores 46.5 for overall Labour Market Risk, placing it in fourth position out of 44 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind Mauritius, Ghana and Seychelles.

Rwanda's labour force is large and predominantly rural and unskilled.. That 85.5% of the working population is in employment is an encouraging sign, indicating a large labour pool and buoyant economy. However, most of this 85% are engaged in subsistence farming, significantly limiting the size of the urban labour pool.

Rwanda scores 46.3 out of 100 for...

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Rwanda Logistics

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BMI View: Rwanda's lack of logistics options and underdeveloped utilities sector heighten risks for investors seeking to expand into the country. We highlight that the lack of diversification options for supply chains, and the overstretched utilities infrastructure, will continue to cause disruption and pose additional costs to business activities, acting as a drag on growth and hindering the outlook for investors. What's more, the cost of exporting and importing will remain elevated due to the country's landlocked status. Consequently, Rwanda is an underperformer in the BMI Logistics Risk Index on both a regional and a global scale. Its score of 30.5 out of 100 places it in a low 30th...

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Rwanda Trade & Investment

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Despite its open, free-market economy and pro-investment policies, foreign investment options in Rwanda are limited due to its agricultural economy and limited natural resources. More positively, corruption levels are low, red tape is limited, and bureaucratic procedures, contract enforceability and intellectual property rights protection are strong. The country is also open to international trade and investment. That said, Rwanda is significantly affected by its small banking sector and limited foreign investment. Rwanda scores 47.0 out of 100 in our Trade and Investment Risk Index. While this is low in absolute terms, it puts Rwanda in ninth position regionally, between Zambia and Swaziland (on 49.4 and 45.0 points respectively).

Foreign investment in Rwanda is very limited. This is largely due to the very limited foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country: FDI accounts for only 10.5% of Rwanda's total GDP. In large part this can be...

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Rwanda Industry Coverage (1)


Rwanda Telecommunications

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BMI View: Our Q315 East Africa report analyses latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments in the telecoms markets of Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Sudan. The six markets present challenging business environments, including the low spending power of the majority of consumers, high cost of network deployment in rural areas and political instability in some countries. The lack of competition and in some cases unfavourable fiscal regimes will also pose a downside to market growth; as a result penetration and the share of 3G/4G of the mobile market will remain among the lowest in the world.

Key Data

  • Average mobile market...

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