Rwanda trying to mobilize resources to revive economy from COVID-19 impact

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rwanda is trying to mobilize resources to revive the economy from the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic that has put economic activities in the country at a standstill, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said here Monday.

“Our economy has been hit already and we are looking at mobilizing resources to inject into our economic system so that it returns to normal,” Kagame told reporters at a virtual press conference.

The projected economic growth for this year has gone down to an estimate of around 3.5 percent, according to the president.

The government is coming up with “a comprehensive” plan, looking at every aspect of the economy and prioritizing the social and economic life of Rwandans as always, he said.

“We want to see business activities in our country resume. We want to see how we can do business with the rest of the world while avoiding problems that could come along relating to COVID-19,” he added.

To revive the economy, the impact of COVID-19 on various sectors of the economy will have to be assessed, which will be a slow process. Measures will be taken in key sectors like exports, mining, tourism, investment, construction and manufacturing, according to him.

The government is also looking at mobilizing resources externally in terms of borrowing to support economic recovery. African countries, including Rwanda, are negotiating with creditors to postpone debt payment for two years, he said.

The president said that out of the 100 billion U.S. dollars that experts project Africa needs to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, a billion dollars would enable Rwanda to have a decent start.

The Rwandan cabinet will meet this week to evaluate the steps taken by the country to contain the COVID-19 outbreak before a decision is made to ease the lockdown, he said.

The remarks were made one day after Rwanda’s national flag carrier RwandAir announced the reduction of employees’ salaries as part of measures to reduce expenditure due to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Rwanda has been placed under a lockdown since March 21. The country bans unnecessary movements and visits outside home and orders the closure of shops and markets except those selling food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.

The Rwandan Health Ministry on Monday evening said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the central African country reached 207, with 93 recoveries. Enditem

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