Rwanda weathers Covid-19 storm, grows gold exports

Monday October 19 2020

Mining was stopped in the country to comply with Covic-19 containment measures. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


Rwanda recorded an increase in its gold export receipts in the first half of the year, bolstering the country’s export revenues in a year when all other exports were sparked by disruptions coming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rwanda’s total export receipts in the first half of the year grew by 9.1 percent to $591.9million from $542.3million in 2019, despite volumes decreasing by 33.9 per cent, according to the latest central bank’s monetary policy and financial stability statement.

“The increase in exports value is attributable to high receipts in gold, since all other exports categories dropped sharply due to trade disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic,” reads the statement.

The value of gold exports grew from $21.7million in the first half of 2019 to $244.3million in the first half of 2020, a 1027.6 per cent growth, while volumes grew by 953.0 per cent, according to the central bank.


The rise in the country’s gold receipts have been linked to the newly established aldango gold refinery, whose value addition the government said has started to pay off.


“The high receipt from the mineral sector was mainly due to the factory that adds value to gold which started operations in Rwanda in 2019.”

“After bringing in the gold refinery and tin smelter, the exports increased though we were faced with the Covid-19”, reads a statement sent by the Ministry of Trade and Industry sent to Rwanda Today. From January to mid-March mineral exports were doing well, only to decrease from end March to end April," added the statement.

According to the statement, the increase started to manifest again between May and June for the whole mineral sector due to the government’s value addition strategies for mineral products.

The Rwf4.8 billion refinery located in the special economic zone has capacity to process up to 200kilograms of gold daily.

The refinery which has seen operational since last year, has helped that the global gold prices soared in the first half of the year, standing at $1,531.37 per troy ounce in May this year, compared with $1,340 per troy ounce at the same time in 2019.

On a month-to-month basis, gold prices at the world commodity market surged by 6.6 percent from $1,732.2 per troy ounce in June 2020 to $1,846.5 per troy ounce in July 2020, reaching an all-time high of $1.902 per troy ounce.