In line with National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) 2017-2024, the industrial policy on Manufacturing in Rwanda prioritizes inclusive economic growth, job creation, and private sector-led development with a focus on high-value intensive agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism, and knowledge-based services and ICT.
The manufacturing sector grew by 8% for the fiscal year 2017/18 from 6% in the previous financial year (Source: NISR Annual Economic Report, January 2019). The sector is still small, but it has been growing steadily. Since the adoption of the National Industrial Policy in 2011; several critical policy interventions and strategies have been developed such as Made in Rwanda policy, Entrepreneurship Development Policy (EDP), SEZ policy, the Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy (DMRS), the National Export Strategy, SMEs strategy, the National Export Strategy and Cross Border trade strategy.
To increase the local domestic and foreign supply of manufactured goods, the Government has put in place the Special Economic Zone and 9 Industrial parks in Bugesera, Rwamagana, Muhanga, Nyagatare, Musanze, Huye, Nyabihu, Rusizi, and Kicukiro. This is aimed at addressing shortcomings in the business environment by developing infrastructure, streamlining business regulations, and facilitating fast-moving investors.
For market access, Rwanda has access to African and global markets through robust free trade agreements, namely:
- Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with a market of 492M
- East African Community (EAC)with a market of over185M
- Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (COMESA EAC SADC) with a market of 600M
- Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)
- Cotonou Agreement established with the EU through Everything But Arms (EBA) and the conclusion of EPA
- World Trade Organization (WTO) Declarations
Rwanda has preferential access to several international markets through the WTO’s special and differential treatment provisions. This has included access to the US markets through a unilateral commitment by the US to reduce tariffs under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Rwanda also has access to preferential bilateral trade offers with other countries such as
China, India, Korea, Japan, and Switzerland.