Rwanda

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
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OF RWANDA
 

Introduction

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In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in a state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed up to a million of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population. The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and established an RPF-led government of national unity. Approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF tried in 1990. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda in 2009 staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in DRC to rout out the Hutu extremist insurgency there and Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009.
 
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Geography

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Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
 
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2 00 S, 30 00 E
 
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total: 26,338 sq km
country comparison to the world: 149
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Maryland
 
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total: 893 km
border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km
 
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0 km (landlocked)
 
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none (landlocked)
 
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temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
 
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mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
 
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lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m
 
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gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land
 
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arable land: 45.56%
permanent crops: 10.25%
other: 44.19% (2005)
 
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90 sq km (2008)
 
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5.2 cu km (2003)
 
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total: 0.15 cu km/yr (24%/8%/68%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
volcanism: Visoke (elev. 3,711 m), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country's only historically active volcano
 
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deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
 
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landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
 
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People and Society

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noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
 
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Hutu (Bantu) 84%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%
 
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Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular), French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili, used in commercial centers)
 
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Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7% (2001)
 
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11,370,425 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
 
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0-14 years: 42.9% (male 2,454,924/female 2,418,504)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 3,097,956/female 3,123,910)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 110,218/female 164,913) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 18.7 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.792% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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36.74 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
 
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9.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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1.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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urban population: 19% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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KIGALI (capital) 909,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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540 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
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total: 64.04 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 25
male: 67.64 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 58.02 years
country comparison to the world: 193
male: 56.57 years
female: 59.52 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.9 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
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9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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0.024 physicians/1,000 population (2005)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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improved:
urban: 77% of population
rural: 62% of population
total: 65% of population
unimproved:
urban: 23% of population
rural: 38% of population
total: 35% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 50% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 54% of population
unimproved:
urban: 50% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 46% of population (2008)
 
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2.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
 
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170,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
 
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4,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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18% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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4.1% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 101
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.4%
male: 76.3%
female: 64.7% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2009)
 
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Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda
conventional short form: Rwanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
local short form: Rwanda
former: Ruanda, German East Africa
 
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republic; presidential, multiparty system
 
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name: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 04 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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4 provinces (in French - provinces, singular - province; in Kinyarwanda - intara for singular and plural) and 1 city* (in French - ville; in Kinyarwanda - umujyi); Est (Eastern), Kigali*, Nord (Northern), Ouest (Western), Sud (Southern)
 
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1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
 
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Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
 
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new constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003
 
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mixed legal system of civil law, based on German and Belgian models, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Pierre Damien HABUMUREMYI (since 7 October 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: President elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 9 August 2010 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: Paul KAGAME elected to a second term as president; Paul KAGAME 93.1%, Jean NTAWUKURIRYAYO 5.1%, Prosper HIGIRO 1.4%, Alvera MUKABAR 0.4%
 
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bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (26 seats; 12 members elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum, 2 represent institutions of higher learning; members to serve eight-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - NA; Chamber of Deputies - last held on 15 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - RPF 78.8%, PSD 13.1%, PL 7.5%; seats by party - RPF 42, PSD 7, PL 4, additional 27 members indirectly elected
 
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Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees
 
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Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Agnes MUKABARANGA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [Gonzague RWIGEMA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA] (officially banned); Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Musa Fazil HARERIMANA]; Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned); Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Alvera MUKABARAMBA]; Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]; Rwandan Socialist Party or PSR [Jean Baptist RUCIBIGANGO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]; Socialist Party-Imberakuri or PS-Imberakuri [Christine MUKABUNANI]; Solidarity and Prosperity Party or PSP [Pheobe KANYANGE]
 
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IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador James KIMONYO
chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Donald W. KORAN
embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, Kigali
mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
telephone: [250] 596-400
FAX: [250] 596-591
 
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three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double width), yellow, and green, with a golden sun with 24 rays near the fly end of the blue band; blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources; the sun symbolizes unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance
 
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name: "Rwanda nziza" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA
note: adopted 2001
 
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Economy

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Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism is now Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner and in 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as Rwanda's primary export. Minerals exports declined 40% in 2009-10 due to the global economic downturn. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 7-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. Nonetheless, a significant percent of the population still live below the official poverty line. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Agricultural production has increased significantly over the last three years and last year Rwanda was self sufficient in food production. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument (PSI). Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Threshold Program in 2008. Africa's most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade. Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth. The Rwandan government is seeking to become regional leader in information and communication technologies. In 2010, Rwanda neared completion of the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications technologies, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. The global downturn hurt export demand and tourism, but economic growth is recovering, driven in large part by the services sector, and inflation has been contained. On the back of this growth, government is gradually ending its fiscal stimulus policy while protecting aid to the poor.
 
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$12.16 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
$11.42 billion (2009 est.)
$10.97 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$5.622 billion (2010 est.)
 
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6.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
4.1% (2009 est.)
11.2% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
$1,100 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 33.6%
industry: 14.3%
services: 52.1% (2010 est.)
 
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4.446 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000)
 
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NA%
 
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60% (2001 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 38.2% (2000)
 
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46.8 (2000)
country comparison to the world: 33
28.9 (1985)
 
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22.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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revenues: $1.449 billion
expenditures: $1.471 billion (2010 est.)
 
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25.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
 
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-0.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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2.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
10.4% (2009 est.)
 
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7.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
11.25% (31 December 2008)
 
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16% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
16% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$540.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
$512.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.243 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
$1.068 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$538.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
$490.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
 
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cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
 
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7.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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160 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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236.8 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
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2 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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88 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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6,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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5,105 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
 
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56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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-$629.3 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
-$379 million (2009 est.)
 
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$234.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
$193 million (2009 est.)
 
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coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
 
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Kenya 36.6%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 14.7%, China 9.1%, Swaziland 5.9%, US 5.3%, Pakistan 4.6% (2010)
 
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$1.121 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$961 million (2009 est.)
 
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foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
 
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Kenya 19.6%, Uganda 17.7%, UAE 8.4%, Tanzania 5.7%, China 5.3% (2010)
 
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$812.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$742.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA (31 December 2010 est.)
$747 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
586.25 (2010)
568.18 (2009)
550 (2008)
585 (2007)
560 (2006)
 
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Communications

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39,700 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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3.549 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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general assessment: small, inadequate telephone system primarily serves business, education, and government
domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the provinces by microwave radio relay and, recently, by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased to about 25 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 250; international connections employ microwave radio relay to neighboring countries and satellite communications to more distant countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) in Kigali (includes telex and telefax service)
 
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government owns and operates the only TV station; government-owned and operated Radio Rwanda has a national reach; 9 private radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.rw
 
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815 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 171
 
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450,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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Transportation

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9 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2010)
 
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total: 14,008 km
country comparison to the world: 124
paved: 2,662 km
unpaved: 11,346 km (2004)
 
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(Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2009)
 
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Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye
 
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Military

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Rwandan Defense Force (RDF): Rwandan Army (Rwandan Land Force), Rwandan Air Force (2011)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship required (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,625,917
females age 16-49: 2,608,110 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,685,066
females age 16-49: 1,749,580 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 110,736
female: 110,328 (2010 est.)
 
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2.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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Transnational Issues

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Burundi and Rwanda dispute two sq km (0.8 sq mi) of Sabanerwa, a farmed area in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965; fighting among ethnic groups - loosely associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces in Great Lakes region transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda - abated substantially from a decade ago due largely to UN peacekeeping, international mediation, and efforts by local governments to create civil societies; nonetheless, 57,000 Rwandan refugees still reside in 21 African states, including Zambia, Gabon, and 20,000 who fled to Burundi in 2005 and 2006 to escape drought and recriminations from traditional courts investigating the 1994 massacres; the 2005 DROC and Rwanda border verification mechanism to stem rebel actions on both sides of the border remains in place
 
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refugees (country of origin): 46,272 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 4,400 (Burundi) (2007)
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