Rwandan coffee exports during COVID-19: Challenges and opportunities for increased resilience

Policy brief Firms, Trade and Firm capabilities

  • The decade before the COVID-19 pandemic was characterised by significant improvement in the quality of Rwandan coffee and increased export revenues.
  • To understand the implications of the COVID-19 crisis for the Rwandan coffee sector, the IGC (in collaboration with NAEB and CEPAR) conducted a survey of exporters between June and December 2020.
  • The findings suggest that coffee was among the least affected exports during the COVID-19 crisis. Relatively stable coffee exports reflected the broader resilience of traditional exports in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.
  • However, exporters reported facing supply-side constraints like labour shortages and costly freight charges attributed to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • As one of Rwanda’s principal exports, the findings underscore the need for supply side measures to secure stable coffee export inflows in the short to medium-term.