Rwanda is strongly reliant on rain-fed agriculture both for rural livelihoods and exports of tea and coffee, wherefore it is highly vulnerable to climate change. Rwanda has experienced a temperature increase of 1.4°C since 1970, higher than the global average.

Geographic characteristics

Heavy rainfall in 2002 induced floods and mudslides that forced many people from their homes. Regions in northern Rwanda (Provinces of Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, and Byumba), southwestern Rwanda (Gikongoro and Butare), western Rwanda (Kibuye, and Gikongoro), and northern part of Kigali are the most vulnerable regions to floods. Together with erratic rainfall, droughts affect 60-90% of the households in the districts of Bugesera, Nyanza, Gisagara, Huye, and Rusizi-Nyamasheke (Worldbank, 2016).

Rwandan economy

Rwanda’s industry is at an infant stage, consisting of many informal small enterprises but growing very fast. According to the statistics, there are only 38 companies (around 1% of all companies) that have more than 100 employees. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) make up the rest of the estimated 123,000 businesses operating in the country and provide 84% of private sector employment. (GIZ/adelphi, 2014)The private sector is largely informal: Out of the estimated 123,000 businesses, only 14,000 firms are registered with the Rwanda Revenue Authority.The construction sector has been growing very fast, making up around half the GDP of the whole industry. Other sectors with positive economic dynamics include mining, tourism, agro-processing especially cultivation of coffee and tea.

Socio-economic factors

A large proportion of Rwanda’s inhabitants is very poor and lives in rural areas. Thus, they are directly dependent on natural resources, including water availability and soil quality. Also, important sectors for the Rwandan economy are highly climate-sensitive, like agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Therefore, the effects of a changing climate are strongly felt by the Rwandan economy and population.(ibid.)

Expected climate change in Rwanda

Regarding the future climate the following range of changes are projected:

  • REMA estimates that the rainy seasons will be shorter and more intense.
  • Most parts of Rwanda are projected to experience an increase in average precipitation with more intense rainfalls particularly in the rainy seasons, which will increase the intensity and frequency of floods and landslides.
  • The South and Southeast is expected to have more intense and frequent droughts. (NAPA-Rwanda, 2006; IIED, 2013).
  • Average temperatures are expected to increase up to 2.5°C by 2050 and up to 4°C by 2080, likely resulting in an expansion of the Malaria virus into regions of higher altitudes (MINIRENA, 2011; compared to 1990).
  • Cold days and cold nights are expected to decrease by 5-10% (depending on the scenario),
  • Number of hot days and hot nights is projected to increase by 12-58% (hot days) and 31-86% (hot nights, depending on the scenario (CSC, 2013).

What does this mean for my business?
Expected Climate phenomena Possible impacts on businesses
Changes in precipitation (unpredictability) Negatively affect crop yields and quality; e.g. drying out of seedlings
Changes in temperature Negatively affect crop yields and quality
  Risk of new parasites and pests
  Heat can lead to lower productivity of workers
Heavy rainfalls Landslides that block roads and lead to shortages in production inputs, workers not reaching the company and transport interruption of finished products to clients.
  Flooding of company premises which may lead the production to stop or destroy machines and stock.
  Electricity infrastructure can be damaged and result in power outages.

Country at a glance

Population: 11.34 million (2014)
GDP: $7.890 billion (2014)
GDP-Growth: 7.0% (2014)
Inflation: 1.3% (2014)

Infosheet adaptation in the agroprocessing sector

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Datum:  04.07.2017


Infosheet adaptation in the manufacturing sector

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Datum:  04.07.2017