KAMPALA - Rwandaâ€™s economy will grow at around 6% this year from a previous projection of 7-8% as a global crisis hits Kigaliâ€™s inflows, the finance minister said.
Many African nations have begun revising down growth estimates for this year due to a world economic downturn, but the continent is expected to fair better than most.
â€œI think generally the economy is relatively strong but not as strong as we wanted it,â€ James Musoni said by telephone from Kigali.
â€œRelative to what is happening on the global economy, one would say it is still strong,â€ he said late on Tuesday.
Rwandaâ€™s economy expanded by 11.2% in 2008.
Exports may fall by a third, dragged down by falling international prices and shrinking demand for minerals, especially from China, the finance ministry said in an emailed statement.
Musoni said he expected agricultural exports to help buoy growth despite falling international demand.
Rwanda revised coffee export projections down two percent from $46.9m last year.
The tiny central African country is an emerging grower of some of the worldâ€™s specialty coffees.
The ministry said that tea exports would rise 8 percent from $42m in 2008 due to low supply from rival producer Kenya.
Musoni said remittances by Rwandans abroad -- estimated at around $230m in 2008 -- will fall 15% this year.
Revenues from tin, tungsten and tantalum may fall 40% to around $56m this year, down from $94m in 2008, according to government estimates.
Rwanda also sees tourism earnings dropping 45 percent to around $118m this year compared to $214m in 2008.
Although fewer tourists are expected to flock to see Rwandaâ€™s highland mountain gorillas, Musoni said Kigali should remain a popular conference hub because of its political stability and the capitalâ€™s clean and safe streets.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) will plunge 87% to around $14.5m million in 2009, down from a record $111.8m last year, the ministry said.
The government says last yearâ€™s FDI was largely a result of one-off investments by the telecommunications industry.
Rwanda lowers growth forecast to 6%