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Rwanda hit by Omicron, but not a cause for concern yet

  • Rwanda confirms six cases of the Omicron variant; the government has introduced new containment measures in response

  • New curbs are not as restrictive compared with measures announced previously – we expect little impact on the economy

  • Rwanda is still one of Africa's best growth stories – we have a Buy recommendation on the Bank of Kigali

Rwanda hit by Omicron, but not a cause for concern yet
Faith Mwangi
Faith Mwangi

Equity Research Analyst, Financials (East Africa)

Tellimer Research
16 December 2021
Published byTellimer Research

Rwanda's Ministry of Health has confirmed at least six cases of the Omicron variant of Covid in the country. In response, the government has implemented a new raft of measures to contain the virus. The restrictions are not as stringent this time around versus at the start of the pandemic and hence we expect it to have little impact on the economy overall. Compared with other East African countries, Rwanda has been quick to respond to rising cases and new variants throughout the pandemic. It has also started administering booster shots recently.

According to the Ministry of Health, Rwanda currently has a positivity rate (percentage of people who test positive) of 2.82%, which is low (less than 5% is an indicator that it is under control, according to the WHO) and hence no cause for concern. In terms of vaccination, 30% of the country's population is fully vaccinated with 49% having received at least one dose. So far, Rwanda has a Covid fatality ratio (confirmed deaths versus confirmed cases) of just 1.33%. 

At least 49% of Rwanda's population has received one dose of the Covid vaccine

Below, we list some of the latest restrictions implemented by the government:

  • Curfew between 12am-4am. We don't expect this to have much of an impact on businesses overall. However, the two sectors that will likely be affected are transport and hospitality (hotels and entertainment venues, which were set to benefit from December festivities).

  • Night club operations and live band entertainment have been suspended with approvals for opening now limited on a case-by-case basis.

  • Passengers arriving in Kigali face a three-day quarantine at their own cost, and three tests to be carried out (on arrival, on day 3 and on day 7). Passengers are also required to present a negative Covid test from the country of origin.

  • Public and private offices are allowed to function but with limited capacity ie 50%, and employees are encouraged to limit their presence in offices.

  • Large gatherings have been limited to 50 people subject to prior approval from the government and negative Covid tests before attendance.

In terms of Rwanda's investment case, our Fixed Income team sees the country as having one of the continent’s best growth stories (see here for our recommendation on the bonds) and as such will continue to be an investor favourite. In equities, we currently have a Buy recommendation on the Bank of Kigali, the country's largest bank.