FILE PHOTO - A stack of shipping containers are pictured in the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The Rwandan government has said rising exports are expected to help Rwanda’s economy expand by its long term annual average of about 8 per cent.

Claver Gatete, the country’s finance minister said the economy had expanded by an average of 8 per cent per year since 2000, but it had dipped to an estimated 5.2 per cent last year due to sluggish growth in the construction sector and other challenges.

“We want to go back to the high growth of 8 per cent,” he told Reuters, citing last year’s third quarter growth, which was 8 per cent. “We are coming out of the woods.”

The International Monetary Fund said last November it expected Rwanda to grow by around 6-7 per cent this year. Gatete said exports jumped 43.7 per cent in the first 11 months of last year, while imports declined 1.4 per cent, leading to a 21.3 per cent reduction of the trade deficit.

“There is a trend … We are seeing the economy going the right direction,” he said.

Tax collection improved by 14.8 per cent to 582.7 billion francs ($694.41 million) in the second half of last year, the revenue authority said on Wednesday.

The East African country of Rwanda has witnessed growth in its economic activity, as it is a choice destination for foreign investors on the continent.