Rwanda, like most mineral-exporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa, exports minerals in semi-processed concentrate form. Although contributing 11 per cent of foreign exchange, mining activities have existed as an enclave, disconnected from the wider economy.
There is a widespread perception among senior Rwandan government officials that the mining sector performs below its optimal level. The indicators include: Insufficient geological data prohibiting accurate valuation of reserves; limited investment in productive capital; low tax revenue remittances; and predominantly artisanal and small-scale mining operations.
However, a number of recent sectoral governance reforms signal the Rwandan government’s intent to optimise economic benefits from mining activities. This project aims to support these efforts by, first, providing peer review of draft strategic plans, and second, by exploring the potential for local beneficiation of non-metallic industrial minerals from the perspective of the size and trend of demand and the potential for attracting foreign direct investment into processing. The specific questions to be addressed are:
- What is the market size, and how is it evolving?
- What are the sources of FDI and key location drivers into mineral processing?
The project proposes implementation strategies, merging inter-governmental resources coherently towards a common goal of achieving mineral-led industrialisation. This project will also produce an exposition on the market potential for Rwanda’s industrial mineral endowments, as well as Rwanda’s potential as a destination for foreign direct investment into mineral processing.
This project draws from a stakeholder consultative meeting facilitated by the researcher in collaboration with senior government officials in October 2017, leading up to the revision of the draft Rwanda Mining Policy 2018-23. Policy recommendations range from upgrades to specific operational processes, such as licencing, to broader concerns, such as models for regional cooperation. Also, ensuring coherence between strategic plans across government institutions.