The government of Rwanda has projected a significant increase in its mineral exports to US $800m. This is from diversification, value addition and stability in international prices. The country’s export earnings from minerals have increased from US $399 million the previous fiscal year. This is according to Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB).
This means that mineral exports will account for 38.7 per cent of all country’s export earnings. The projections are also based on the higher mineral recovery rate owing to improved practices as well as better prices of minerals on the international market.
Among the aspects of diversification include gemstones where Rwanda has sizable deposits, which can fetch value on international markets. Previously, Rwanda was largely known for tin, tantalum, and tungsten. Currently, the country is weighing options of establishing a regional gemstones hub, This, according to media reports, will act as a centre for processing and trading. Precious stones will also be taken into the premises for testing.
Chief Executive of the Rwandan Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board, Francis Gatare, said that the Government is looking to partner and is willing to participate in a co-ownership of the initiative with investors.
According to Gatare, the Government is seeking partnerships with investors and stakeholders in markets such as Asia and Europe. This is due to the fact that there is market for the mineral in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Germany among others.
However, he was quick to point out that the Government is well aware of the complexity of a greater role higher up in the value chain. This is also inclusive of the potential resistance from players who benefit from the current status quo. Meanwhile, mineral exports are expected to be buoyed after discovery of more deposits following a geological survey.