Trading Partner Portal: Rwanda
Rwanda is a small country in central Africa which has been working toward rebuilding its economy after its government-sponsored genocide in the 1990’s. The majority of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture and mineral processing, with top exports being minerals, coffee, and tea. Rwanda has a population of 12.3 million and a GDP of $9.5 billion as of 2018. Rwanda’s GDP growth rate was measured as 8.67 percent in 2018. (CIA Factbook, BBC Country Profile, World Bank)
Rwanda and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and World Intellectual Property Organization. Rwanda is also a member of a number of regional organizations, including the African Union, East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
U.S. – Rwanda Trade Relations
Two-way trade in goods between the United States and Rwanda was approximately $64.4 million in 2019. The United States exported $18.8 million to Rwanda. Exports consisted of $6.48 million in computer and electronic products, $2.9 million in transportation equipment, $2.8 million in agricultural products, and $2 million in chemicals. Imports from Rwanda were $45.6 million, with the top categories being agricultural products, minerals and ores, leather products, and forestry products. (US Department of Commerce). FDI from the U.S. into Rwanda totaled $11 million in 2018 (Bureau of Economic Analysis).
Rwanda – California Trade Relations
In 2019, California was one of the top state exporters to Rwanda, with $1.6 million. Top export categories included transportation equipment (43.8 percent), computer and electronic products (24.4 percent), miscellaneous manufactured commodities (9.4 percent), and fabricated metal products (7 percent). California imported $7.5 million worth of goods from Rwanda in 2018 with agricultural products making up 85.6% of the total. (US Department of Commerce)
United States-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty
The U.S.-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) was signed in December 2011 and came into force January 2012. It was the first BIT that the U.S. signed with a country in Africa in almost 10 years. During the ceremony, former USTR Ambassador Kirk remarked:
“I am proud to participate in the ratification of this treaty with our Rwandan partners today because U.S. investment in Rwanda and elsewhere supports the U.S. economy and jobs here at home. This treaty will strengthen our two countries’ economic ties and enhance the confidence of U.S. investors in Rwanda, as well as Rwandan investors in the United States. It will also help to promote the new investment that is critical to Rwanda’s economic development. We see Rwanda as a leader in seeking to transform its economy through open trade and investment. We hope that the U.S.-Rwanda bilateral investment treaty will serve as a model for future agreements with other African countries.”
The bilateral investment treaty resulted from consultations under the 2006 United States-Rwanda Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), extended to 2025, initially was enacted in 2000, eliminating duties on imports from African nations into the United States if those nations made significant efforts to open their economies.
Since its inception, AGOA has helped increase U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, U.S. exports with the AGOA nations totaled $17.5 billion, nearly triple the amount in 2002.
In 2015, Congress approved legislation to extend AGOA until 2025, granting the longest extension in its history.
Following its extension, President Obama remarked, “Now that it’s been renewed, AGOA will be central to our efforts to boost the trade and investment that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs both in Africa and the United States, creating opportunities for all of us. And I’m especially pleased that AGOA will continue to encourage good governance and labor and human rights.”
President Signs CalChamber-Supported Trade Bills
June 30, 2013
For more information, please see:
U.S. Department of State – AGOA
The signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the East African Community (EAC) – a regional bloc comprised of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi – is a major relationship milestone.
The agreement centers on building trade capacity in the EAC nations on three issues of importance to the private sector:
- Trade Facilitation
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures
- Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
The agreement shows that the United States and EAC nations are on the same page in terms of the path forward to building local economic growth and further encouraging foreign direct investment in the region. The work tackled after the signing of this agreement will benefit all businesses in the EAC – both local and foreign.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, February 26, 2015
April 14, 2005 – President of Rwanda Speaks at CalChamber Luncheon
The President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, highlighted economic opportunities and development in hiscountry in remarks at the California Chamber of Commerce International Luncheon Forum on April 14, 2005
- Alert – President of Rwanda Speaks at CalChamber Luncheon
- CalChamber Trade Issues – Africa and the SACU Free Trade Agreement