Rwanda flag Rwanda: Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of Rwanda

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
• The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
• East African Community (EAC)
• The Commonwealth
• Rwanda is a a member of WTO (since 22 May 1996)
Non Tariff Barriers
As of June 30, 2018, according to the WTO, Rwanda had 30 nontariff measures in force. Certain products must have an "import visa" (i.e. a stamp from local authorities) before they can be imported in Rwanda, for example pharmaceuticals. More often an import permit is requested by local authorities (especially for livestock, poultry, plants, etc.). Difficult in transportation can also hinder the import/export of goods and make it more difficult to obtain shipping insurances and freight forwarding services: due to the country’s geography, most imports and exports are shipped by road from the ports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), a distance of up to 1,500 km. Commercial traffic to and from the ports is subject to frequent delays, numerous weigh points, high transportation costs, and occasional theft.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Consumption tax (excise duty) is levied on certain locally manufactured products. The taxable value is calculated according to the selling price (exclusive of taxes), and the tax is payable when the taxable products are cleared out of the factory for consumer use or when the taxable services are provided. The rate ranges from 5% to 70%.

Rwanda is a member of the East African Community, which uses the East African Community Customs Act (EACMA) for levying import duty. EACMA’s Common External Tariffs system for goods originating outside the customs union prescribes three duties rates: 0% for raw materials and capital goods, 10% for intermediate goods, and 25% for finished goods. Enterprises established in Free Trade Zones are exempt from customs duty on machinery and inputs for exported products. According to data by the World Bank, the effectively applied tariff weighted average for Rwanda is 7.33%, and the most favored nation weighted average tariff is 13.32%.
All imported goods, except those listed as exempt, are also subject to the 1.5% Industrial Development Levy (IDL) and to the African Union Levy at a rate of 0.2%. Additionally, imported goods, regardless of whether they are exempted, are subject to a 0.2% Quality Inspection Fee (QIF), calculated on the customs value of imported goods. Excise tax is imposed on the manufacturer or importation of certain products, like soft drinks (5-39%), bottled water (10%), cigarettes (36% + RWF 30 per pack), alcohol (60-70%), fuels (RWF 183/lt on premium fuel and RWF 150/lt on gas oil), and lubricants (37%).

Customs Classification
Rwanda is a member of the World Customs organisation and does comply with the harmonised customs system.
Import Procedures
The documentation needed to import goods in Rwanda includes:

  • Air Way Bill (for airfreight) or Bill of Lading (for seafreight)
  • Supplier Invoice(s)
  • Packing List
  • Certificate of origin – especially for goods imported from COMESA countries
  • Import Declaration Form (IDF – from the Importer)
  • Importer’s Tax Identification Number (TIN) and Value Added Tax (VAT) numbers
  • Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificates, if applicable
  • National Drug Authority Certificate/Permit for import of drug and pharmaceuticals
  • Phyto Sanitary certificates for import of agricultural products
  • Registration/De-registration Card of country of origin of old/used vehicles
  • Gift certificates, if gifted to any organization eligible for duty free clearance
  • Passport of the individual for clearance of personal effects

Since 2012, the RRA implemented the “One Single Electronic Window (OSEW)”, an online system for filing, issuing, and modifying export and import declarations.

Importing Samples
Samples can generally be imported duty-free. After their use, they must be re-exported or destroyed, with the process being certified by a custom agent.

To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
Rwanda Revenue Authority
Rwanda Trade Portal
Business Portal for Africa

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024