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Rwanda central bank predicts economic growth at 6.5 pct in 2018

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda’s central bank on Tuesday said it predicts Rwanda’s economy to grow 6.5 percent in 2018.

The inflation rate is expected to be around 5.0 percent in 2018, slightly up from 4.9 percent last year, said John Rwangombwa, governor of National Bank of Rwanda, in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali.

Rwanda’s total formal export receipts grew by 57.6 percent in 2017 while formal imports recorded a modest decrease of 0.4 percent in the same year compared to 2016, said Rwangombwa while presenting a monetary policy and financial stability statement.

According to him, exports increased to 943.5 million U.S. dollars last year from 598.7 million dollars in 2016, while exports volume increased by 36.2 percent.

Rwanda’s export base has continued to progressively diversify as the share of traditional exports in total exports declined from 62.1 percent in 2013 to 30.1 percent last year, the governor added.

Rwanda’s formal trade deficit also reduced by 21.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, from 1,624.5 million dollars to 1,271.8 million dollars, as a result of the 57.6 percent increase in formal exports and 0.4 percent decline in formal imports, according to the Rwanda central bank figures.

Major drivers of the growth in exports include receipts from coffee and tea exports as well as mineral exports, according to the central Bank.

In 2014, Rwanda embarked on promoting Rwanda locally made products for exports under the campaign dubbed “Made in Rwanda Products” to discourage the use of imported goods which are or can be produced locally.

The central African country, which has risen from a genocide that killed over one million people in 1994, seeks to transform the country from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy.



Rwanda says to offer free hepatitis diagnosis, treatment

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is set to offer free diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B and C to all Rwandans, a senior official said Tuesday.

Hepatitis continues to be a major public health concern in Rwanda and the government is committed to completely eliminating the disease, said Jeanine Condo, director general of Rwanda biomedical center (RBC), in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.

Free hepatitis B and C treatment and viral load will be offered to all Rwandans from March to July 2018, she said.

Hepatitis B prevalence vary between 1.9 and 7 percent of the Rwandan population, while hepatitis C infections stand between 0.8 and 5.7 percent, showed the RBC survey in 2015.

Some 20 referral and province hospitals have been availed with equipment to diagnose and treat hepatitis, said RBC on Tuesday.

Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and higher than those caused by HIV, a WHO’s global hepatitis report indicated.



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