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Introduction :: Rwanda
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 the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but 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.
Geography :: Rwanda
Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates:
2 00 S, 30 00 E
Map references:
total: 26,338 sq km
country comparison to the world: 148
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 893 km
border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Current Weather
temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m
Natural resources:
gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 45.56%
permanent crops: 10.25%
other: 44.19% (2005)
Irrigated land:
90 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
5.2 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.15 cu km/yr (24%/8%/68%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
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, 12,175 ft), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country's only historically active volcano
Environment - current issues:
deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
Environment - international agreements:
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
Geography - note:
landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
People :: Rwanda
country comparison to the world: 74
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 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.7% (male 2,309,323/female 2,277,269)
15-64 years: 54.8% (male 2,932,686/female 2,961,300)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 106,740/female 158,993) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.9 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.818% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Birth rate:
37.26 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Death rate:
10.19 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
Net migration rate:
1.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
urban population: 18% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
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 (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 65.57 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 25
male: 69.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 61.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 57.46 years
country comparison to the world: 193
male: 56.06 years
female: 58.91 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.99 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
150,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,800 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
Ethnic groups:
Hutu (Bantu) 84%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%
Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7% (2001)
Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.4%
male: 76.3%
female: 64.7% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2008)
Education expenditures:
4.1% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 104
People - note:
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa
Government :: Rwanda
Country name:
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
Government type:
republic; presidential, multiparty system
name: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 04 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
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)
1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
new constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003
Legal system:
based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Bernard MAKUZA (since 8 March 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders websiteOpens 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%
Legislative branch:
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 - members appointed as part of the transitional government (next to be held in 2011); 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
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees
Political parties and leaders:
Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Alfred MUKEZAMFURA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [Adrien RANGIRA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA] (officially banned); Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Andre BUMAYA]; Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned); Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]; Solidarity and Prosperity Party or PSP [Pheobe KANYANGE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
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
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador W. Stuart SYMINGTON
embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, Kigali
mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
telephone: [250] 596-400
FAX: [250] 596-591
Flag description:
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
National anthem:
name: "Rwanda nziza" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA
note: adopted 2001
Economy :: Rwanda
Economy - overview:
Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. In 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner. 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 and inflation has been curbed. Nonetheless, a majority still live below the poverty line of 250 Rwandan francs per day (about US$0.43). Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Account Compact 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, although energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap growth. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$11.84 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$11.17 billion (2009 est.)
$10.69 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$5.693 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
4.5% (2009 est.)
11.2% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$1,000 (2009 est.)
$1,000 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42.1%
industry: 14.3%
services: 43.6% (2010 est.)
Labor force:
4.446 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 81
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000)
Unemployment rate:
Population below poverty line:
60% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 38.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
46.8 (2000)
country comparison to the world: 35
28.9 (1985)
Investment (gross fixed):
20% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
10.4% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
11.25% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 29
12.5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
16.51% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$602.3 million (31 December 2010 est)
$537.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$1.243 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.068 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$600.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
$515.5 million (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
Industrial production growth rate:
7.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
Electricity - production:
120 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
Electricity - consumption:
231.6 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Electricity - exports:
10 million kWh (2007)
Electricity - imports:
130 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Oil - consumption:
6,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Oil - imports:
5,623 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
Natural gas - proved reserves:
56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
Current account balance:
-$489 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
-$379 million (2009 est.)
$226 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
$193 million (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
Exports - partners:
Kenya 33.88%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 13.56%, Thailand 6.22%, China 5.49%, US 5.47%, Swaziland 5.43%, Belgium 5.19% (2009)
$1.047 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$961 million (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
Imports - partners:
Kenya 16.53%, Uganda 14.92%, China 7.92%, UAE 6.89%, Belgium 5.54%, Germany 5.19%, Tanzania 4.81%, Sweden 4% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$816 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$742.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)
Debt - external:
Exchange rates:
Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar - 586.25 (2010), 568.176 (2009), 550 (2008), 585 (2007), 560 (2006)
Communications :: Rwanda
Telephones - main lines in use:
33,500 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 174
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.429 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 123
Telephone system:
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)
Broadcast media:
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)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
815 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 171
Internet users:
450,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 118
Transportation :: Rwanda
9 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 160
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2010)
total: 14,008 km
country comparison to the world: 125
paved: 2,662 km
unpaved: 11,346 km (2004)
Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft (2009)
Ports and terminals:
Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye
Military :: Rwanda
Military branches:
Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF), Rwandan Patriotic Air Force (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,573,834
females age 16-49: 2,553,707 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,641,563
females age 16-49: 1,696,514 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 98,164
female: 97,839 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
2.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
Transnational Issues :: Rwanda
Disputes - international:
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 46,272 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 4,400 (Burundi) (2007)

Credits: CIA World Factbook

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