Economic Growth

Rwanda embraces the 4IR

Albeit landlocked, Rwanda’s economy has been growing exponentially but was impeded in 2020, by the Covid-19 pandemic and further exacerbated by the Russian-Ukraine war, which has been ongoing since February 2022.

Currently, the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is at 74.8 per cent.

Rwanda is among the countries in the Great Lakes region of East–Central Africa, sandwiched between Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Tanzania. The rate of economic progress registered hitherto, has led the international community to call Rwanda an ‘emerging Asian tiger.’

This economic rehabilitation and prosperity, has been especially spearheaded by the country’s long-standing president Paul Kagame, who in 2018 was named ‘African of the Year’ by Forbes Magazine. He has on several occasions since his ascension to power in 2000, expressed his desire to transform Rwanda into the ‘Singapore of Africa,’ a stable gateway of trade for the entire continent.

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Gabon has been exploring innovative ways to exchange debt and raise loans through carbon credits. During the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda, Gabon’s Minister of Water, Forests, Sea, and Environment Lee White, noted that the country intended to exploit its forests in a sustainable manner to generate income.

The economy of Gabon has in the recent past been heavily dented, by both the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine crisis. The latter resulted in the widening of the budget deficit from 2.1 per cent in 2020 to 3.4 per cent, whilst the former has caused inflationary pressures leading to a fiscal deficit marked by sharp drops in domestic revenue mobilization, exports and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Despite ranking as the seventh-largest oil producer in the continent and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+), the West Coast country ranks as one of the African countries with the largest debt-to-GDP ratio, currently standing at 72.1 per cent.

On a broader scale, the United Nations argued that sub-Saharan Africa loses $95 billion yearly because of the gender gap in the labour market.

Multiple entities are recording the contribution of women to the Tanzania economy, including the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS argue that 65 per cent of farmers are women and women head 33 per cent of households; political processes that promote women are mounting up over the decades.

Around 36 per cent of the national parliamentarians are women—however, legislative and financial barriers, as well as gender norms, hinder advancement.

On the other side of the fence, World Bank argues that Tanzania has made vital strides in expanding women’s economic opportunities over the past two decades.

“The female labour-force participation rate rose from 67 per cent in 2000 to 80 per cent in 2019, well above the average of 63 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa and among the highest rates on the continent.” World Bank report argues.

As Tanzania doubles down on improving the education sector and skills take up, ripples are observed in other related fields, employment.

The index pointed to a solid improvement in the health of the private sector economy, helped by a recovery in business activity as Covid-19 cases continued to fall across the country.

New business levels at Kenyan companies rose sharply in February, as survey panellists commented on a rebound in customer demand and increased marketing efforts.

The rate of growth was the second-fastest since October 2020.

Export sales rose to a much greater extent than in January, but growth remained weaker than seen in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Nigerian Minister also praised Equatorial Guinea, saying that the Western African country has a massive record of world-class gas processing and liquefaction infrastructure already in Punta Europa and allocating investment funds for development.

Minister Obiang Lima said that Equatorial Guinea was in line to be an essential player in the African energy market.

“New, fast, and competitive sources will be a major determinant of success,” he said. “This strategic collaboration breaks down geographical boundaries and allows gas delivery from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea’s Punta Europa facilities, extending their life and providing access to the regional and global energy markets.”

Through the agreement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its joint venture partners will put into monetary use gas that would have otherwise been stranded offshore due to the absence of infrastructure.