Civil war in the 1990’s between the Tutsis and Hutus devastated the economy. In 1994 alone, upwards of one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in genocidal warfare. Today, economic recovery and infrastructure repair is the theme for Rwanda. Approximately 8.4 million people live in Rwanda although life expectancy is low at 47 years partly attributed to conflict and HIV/AIDS that has impacted one in nine citizens. The country is landlocked and is very densely populated due to its relative small size.
GDP as measured by purchasing power parity at $11.24 billion USD (2005) with corresponding GDP/Capita at $1,300 USD (2005). GDP at market price has a quote at $1.89 billion USD (2005). GDP growth rates include year 2005 at 4.8 percent, year 2006 estimated at 4.3 percent, 2004 at 6 percent, year 2003 at 0.9 percent. CPI inflation for 2005 came in at 7 percent, 2006 is forecasted at 4 percent. Huge current account deficit for 2005 at 19 percent of GDP (2003) before grants, 2004 recorded 20 percent. Fiscal deficit for 2003 at 2.5 percent of GDP. External debt stood at $1.4 billion USD (2004). Foreign exchange reserves including gold at $300 million USD (2005). No oil production. Coffee and tea are both major foreign exchange earners for Rwanda.
CURRENCY: ISO Symbol ‘RWF’, Rwandan franc. At time of review on March 13, 2006, the Rwandan franc had an exchange valuation of 540 RWF to the US-dollar (USD). Floating exchange rate regime is in place.
CURRENCY HISTORY: the Rwandan franc came into circulation in 1960, previously, from 1916 to 1960 the Belgian Congo currency was in use. Historical quotes include year 2005 at 610 RWF to the USD, 2004 at 575, 2003 at 538, year 2002 at 476, 2001 at 443, year 2000 at 393.4, January 1998 at 302.28, 1997 at 301.5, 1996 at 306.8, 1995 at 262.2 and 1993 at 144.3.
CURRENCY FORECAST: weather variances can directly impact food prices which directly relates to inflation as the majority of the country survives on subsistence agriculture. Economic stabilization and peace are key for domestic economic growth and currency stability. The Rwandan people have been shattered, particularly many of the young. An important national objective is to rebuild the confidence of its citizens, many of whom are healing from the scars of war and conflict. Challenges include environmental (limited fertile land, soil erosion, deforestation), disease - AIDS plague that is enveloping and a legal system in disarray. Economic risks include the staggering current account deficit. Opportunities include eco-tourism.