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Rwandan Economic Growth Rate May Top 7% in 2011, Bank Says

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Rwanda’s economic growth this year may exceed the government’s 7 percent forecast because of improved grain output and rising export revenue, central bank Governor Claver Gatete said.

Food production in the first half of 2011 expanded 11.3 percent, thanks to good weather and government investment, while output of green coffee dropped 19.9 percent and tea fell 3 percent, Gatete said in a statement on the website of the Kigali-based central bank today. The East African nation’s economy expanded 7.5 percent last year.

“We have seen that every sector has definitely improved from the same period last year,” Gatete said today in an interview in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

Rwanda doubled the size of its economy in the nine years to 2010 as it recovers from a 1994 genocide in which 800,000 mainly ethnic Tutsis died. Driven mainly by commodities such as coffee, tea and minerals, the value of exports from landlocked Rwanda in the first half rose 48.1 percent to $156.1 million due mainly to higher international prices for the goods, Gatete said.

The National Bank of Rwanda left the key lending rate unchanged last month at 6 percent, where it’s been since November, as price pressures remained “moderate,” he said.

Monetary policy makers at the central bank will probably next meet in late September or early October to deliberate whether to adjust the benchmark interest rate, Gatete said.

Inflation in urban areas accelerated 5.8 percent in June, compared with 4.5 percent in May, on higher food and fuel costs, the Kigali-based National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda said on July 15. The rate of annual inflation will probably end the year at 7.5 percent or lower, Gatete said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net; Heather Murdock in Kigali via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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