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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1791;

Resource Dynamism of the Rwandan Economy: An Emergy Approach

State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Department of Environment Management, Institute of Life and Earth Science, Pan-African University (PAULESI), Ibadan 200284, Nigeria
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Technology, Ibadan University, Ibadan 200184, Nigeria
Department of Environment Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, North Ryde 2109, Sydney, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resources Economics)
PDF [2347 KB, uploaded 29 May 2018]


Africa is experiencing unprecedented economic growth that requires planners to understand the interactions between the social, economic, and ecological systems to ensure its sustainable development. The present paper uses the emergy method to analyse the Rwandan economy from 1975 to 2016. Emergy-based sustainability indicators were used to analyse and compare two distinct periods of economic growth: the pre- and post-Tutsi genocide periods. The results revealed that, by 2016, the total emergy use had increased by approximately 74% of the emergy recorded in 1975. The increase in total emergy use was associated with an increase in imports with contributions from 6.5 to 46.2% and the renewable resource contribution decrease from 93.5 to 53.8%. The emergy analysis, which covered 41 years, categorises Rwanda as a non-renewable resource-poor country. The total emergy use of the pre-genocide period was significantly lower than the post-genocide period. Based on the 2016 emergy self-support of 54% and the emergy sustainability index of 2.52, Rwanda has the highest import dependence compared to other developing countries listed in this paper and tends toward a developed country like Canada, Portugal, and so on. An imperative decision needs to be made in terms of the management of the economic system of Rwanda, as imports are becoming the highest impetus of the Rwandan economy but are also the top major cause of a long-run sustainability downfall. Thus, the present study recommends a scrutinised selection system of imports by increasing raw materials, particularly non-renewable resources, and by subsequently increasing the internal transformation to be exported. This recommendation is also applicable to other developing countries with similar non-renewable resource statuses. View Full-Text
Keywords: emergy; economy; resources; Rwanda; sustainability; developing countries emergy; economy; resources; Rwanda; sustainability; developing countries

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Rutebuka, E.; Zhang, L.; Asamoah, E.F.; Pang, M.; Rukundo, E. Resource Dynamism of the Rwandan Economy: An Emergy Approach. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1791.

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