The central bank's governor John Rwangombwa.

INTERNATIONAL – Rwanda's formal imports grew by 18.2 percent while exports recorded 7.5 percent growth in the first half of 2019, leading to a wider trade deficit, the country's central bank announced Wednesday.

High growth of imports was mainly observed in intermediate and capital goods reflecting ongoing investments, said John Rwangombwa, bank governor, while addressing reporters shortly after a quarterly meeting of the monetary policy committee and financial stability committee of the bank.

Growth of exports was constrained by low international commodity prices, said Rwangombwa. According to him, Rwanda's economy grew by 8.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 due to good performance in industry, services and agriculture sectors which recorded 18.1 percent, 7.6 percent and 4.3 percent growth respectively.

The sustained economic performance in the second quarter of 2019 is consistent with the projection of 7.8 percent growth in 2019, said Rwangombwa. Rwanda's aggregate demand in 2019, supported by the accommodative monetary policy and fiscal stimulus, is expected to continue improving, he said.

The monetary policy committee decided to maintain the central bank rate at 5.0 percent to continue supporting the financing of the economy and improvement in aggregate demand, he said.

The World Bank had predicted that Rwanda's economic growth is expected to be in the range of 7.6 to 8 percent annually. 

XINHUA