Rwanda’s economy expanded by 8.6 percent in the first six months of 2018 after growing 2.8 percent a year earlier, following “strong” growth in construction, the International Monetary Fund said. By Saul Butera

The Washington-based lender maintained its outlook for overall growth this year at 7.2 percent, mission head Laura Redifer told reporters in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The construction of Bugesera airport and a pickup in foreign investment will fuel imports and lead to a rise in the trade deficit this year, Redifer said. Rwanda’s external buffers remain strong with export growth of 18 percent in the year to August and imports climbing 7.4 percent, the IMF said in statement.

Rwanda and IMF will negotiate for a new support program next year as the current one expires in December, Redifer said.