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Cablegate: Rwanda Reports 9 Percent Gdp Growth; Imf Unsure

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLGB #0663 2871508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141508Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6363
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KIGALI 000663

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV EFIN RW
SUBJECT: RWANDA REPORTS 9 PERCENT GDP GROWTH; IMF UNSURE

1. (U) Rwandan Minister for Finance and Economic Planing
James Musoni told the local press October 14, that the
economy grew 9 percent for the first two quarters of 2009.
This is almost double earlier estimates by the government and
the IMF of 5.3 percent annual growth. Musoni attributed the
growth to strong performance in agriculture and predicted
that over the next few months the economy will grow further
due to substantial new investments in infrastructure and
construction. As a result of the global economic crisis,
Rwandan exports of coffee, tea and minerals declined by 20
percent for the first two quarters, while tourism remained
stable.

2. (SBU) Statistics from the National Institute of Statistics
of Rwanda also showed per capita income has grown above $500
in the first half of the year, compared to $492 in 2008.
Musoni told reporters he was optimistic that by the end of
this year, per capita income will reach $520. IMF Country
Representative Dmitry Gershenson told Econoff that the per
capita statistics were "about right", adding that Rwanda has
"underestimated" GDP for the last couple of years.

3. (SBU) Gershenson could not confirm the government's GDP
growth estimates and admitted that "the 9 percent figure came
as a surprise." He added, "the authorities have not yet
shared their calculations with us, so I cannot attest to the
veracity of their numbers." Gershenson noted that an IMF team
will visit Rwanda in 2-3 weeks and will review the
government's projections.
CASPER

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