Mining News

Rwanda’s Mining Growth an Example for Neighboring Nations

Posted by Cheryl Rutledge on 12/30/2014 2:39:17 PM

By Sean Taggart and Kenneth P. Green

Since 2008, Rwanda’s mining industry has experienced unprecedented growth, averaging 46% annually. Export of the country’s key minerals, Tin and Tungsten, now contributes over US$226 million per year, compared to only US$ 40 million in 2006.

This trend is attributed to Rwanda’s government supporting the privatization of a once wholly publicly-run sector. With over 400 licensed companies now completing exploratory and production works, mineral exports now account for 47.5% of total export revenue.

Speaking at an event celebrating International Mining Day, the Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta said, “We aim at developing this sector even more so it can bring in more productivity.” He intends to have over 60,000 people employed within mining by 2017 and is providing loan facilities to stimulate new projects.

Mr. Biruta recognizes that a healthy mining industry can provide sustainable economic growth throughout the country and is seizing the opportunity to help Rwanda achieve its goal of becoming a middle class economy by 2020.

With a positive economic climate and supportive government, Rwanda is doing a lot right to encourage further foreign investment.

This is, however, a rare sight in the African region. Rwanda’s neighbors, such as the Angola and Zimbabwe, have been plagued with corruption and political instability, justifying their bottom 10 standing in the 2013 Fraser Institute Mining Survey.

African nations collectively have experienced a 5-year declining trend in the survey, as many mining executives believe there are significant factors deterring further investment. One such company president expressed significant concern over how resource nationalism is draining any potential return on foreign investment and worsening an already poor economic climate.

Unless more African mining jurisdictions improve the economic and regulatory environments for mining,   Rwanda will remain one of few bright spots in Africa, with mining predicted to account for almost 6% of the 2017/18 national GDP.

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