KIGALI May 15 (Reuters) – Rwanda expects its economy to grow 6.8 percent in 2018, up from a forecast 6.2 percent this year, thanks to stronger agriculture production and the construction of a new airport, Finance Minister Claver Gatete said on Monday.

The East African nation has posted soaring growth rates in recent years mostly fuelled by business-friendly policies and strong inflows of foreign investment. The economy expanded by 5.9 percent in 2016.

The International Monetary Fund said in a separate statement that a government plan called “Made In Rwanda”, aimed at encouraging domestic production of goods currently imported, was seen boosting the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

“Agriculture is going to be one of the biggest contributors, the Made in Rwanda program is going to have a contribution .. and of course the new Bugesera airport in terms of jobs, it is going to be one of the biggest contributors,” Gatete told a news conference.

He added that more visitors to the country attending conferences was also expected to give the economy a boost. (Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and Hugh Lawson)

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