The mining sector has the potential to shield Rwanda from economic shocks by heavily contributing to jobs and attracting foreign direct investments, a new World Bank report states.
According to the report, ‘The Rwanda Economic Update’, which has a special section on mining, despite the current small-scale nature of mining in Rwanda, its production has progressively increased with export in 2013 reaching US$225 million. Minerals accounted for 40 per cent of Rwanda’s total export earnings in 2013.
“Beyond export earnings, mining shows promise for non-farm job creation, an important pillar of the government’s poverty reduction strategy”, Rachel Perks, the World Bank Mining Specialist said today morning while presenting the report to government officials, donors and economic experts.
“As of early 2014, mining in rural areas directly employed more than 33,000 people. Mining jobs also pay better when compared against other wage workers in rural areas.”
She commended Government’s ongoing efforts to transform the predominantly small-scale sector into semi-industrial mining as an initiative that will benefit the economy in the long run.
The report advises Government to focus more on securing an enabling legal and regulatory framework for investment, as well as investing more in geological knowledge for future investments. It also calls for an increase in fiscal receipts, stricter revenue management and human resource development in the mining sector.
In broader terms Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Manager to Rwanda, said that the country’s economy in the last decade was impressive, what was needed now was a “significant structural transformation.”
“Rwanda needs a significant structural transformation of its economy from one characterised by a large public sector and by limited private investments. This transformation would minimize the current vulnerabilities in the economy and enable Rwanda to sustain its high growth rates in the next decade,” Turk said.
She also called for a shift from over-reliance on aid to being self-reliant by addressing the export sector constraints such as energy and transport infrastructure.