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Republic of Rwanda
Repubulika y'u Rwanda
République du Rwanda
Flag Coat of arms
MottoUbumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugu
"Unity, Work, Patriotism"
Anthem"Rwanda nziza"
(and largest city)
1°56.633′S 30°3.567′E / 1.943883°S 30.05945°E / -1.943883; 30.05945
Official language(s) Kinyarwanda, French, English
Vernacular language Swahili
Demonym Rwandan, Rwandese
Government Republic
 -  President Paul Kagame
 -  Prime Minister Bernard Makuza
Independence from Belgium 
 -  Date July 1, 1962 
 -  Total 26,338 km2 (147th)
10,169 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 5.3
 -  July 2009 estimate 10,473,282[1] (80th)
 -  2010 census 10,264,947[2] 
 -  Density 397.6/km2 (29th)
1,029.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $10.004 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,043[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $4.459 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $465[3] 
Gini (2003) 45.1 (medium
HDI (2007) 0.460 (low) (167th)
Currency Rwandan franc (RWF)
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .rw
Calling code 250
1 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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

The Republic of Rwanda (English pronunciation: /ruːˈændə/ roo-AN-də or /rəˈwɑːndə/ rə-WAHN-də; Kinyarwanda pronunciation [ɾwanda] or IPA: [ɾɡwanda]), known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, is a landlocked country located in the Great Lakes region of eastern-central Africa, bordered by Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.

Although close to the equator, the country has a cool temperate climate due to its high elevation. The terrain consists mostly of grassy uplands and gently rolling hills. Abundant wildlife, including rare mountain gorillas, have resulted in tourism becoming one of the biggest sectors of the country's economy.

Rwanda has received considerable international attention due to its 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed.[4] Since then the country has made a recovery and is now considered as a model for developing countries. In 2009 a CNN report labeled Rwanda as Africa's biggest success story, having achieved stability, economic growth (average income has tripled in the past ten years) and international integration.[5] The government is widely seen as one of the more efficient and honest ones in Africa. Fortune magazine published an article recently titled "Why CEOs Love Rwanda." [6] The capital, Kigali, is the first city in Africa to be bestowed with the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award in the recognition of its "cleanliness, security and urban conservation model." [7] In 2008, Rwanda became the first country to elect a national legislature in which a majority of members were women.[8] Rwanda joined the Commonwealth of Nations on 29 November 2009 as its fifty-fourth member,[9] making the country one of only two in the Commonwealth without a British colonial past.[10]




Pre-colonial period

It is not known when the territory of present day Rwanda was first inhabited, but it is thought that humans moved into the area following the last ice age either in the Neolithic period, around ten thousand years ago, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC.[11][12] Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late stone age, followed by a larger population of early Iron Age settlers, who produced dimpled pottery and iron tools.[11][13][14]

These early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, a group of aboriginal Pygmy hunter-gatherers, who still live in Rwanda today.[11] Eventually these settlers were joined by Bantu farmers from the west, known as the Hutus.[11] The exact dates of this are not certain, with estimates varying from 700 BC up to the beginning of the Christian era, around 1 AD.[11][15][16] The Hutus, with their sedentary farming lifestyle, soon outnumbered the Twas and began to take over their traditional hunting grounds, forcing them to retreat into the forests.[17]

Later a third group, the cattle-raising Tutsi, migrated to the area. The Tutsi were generally taller than the Hutus and the Twas, and were distinct in physical appearance.[17][18] It is not known when the Tutsi arrived and from where they came, but there is evidence that they were of Cushitic origin, coming from the Horn of Africa.[18] Over time, the distinction between the three groups became blurred and some sources question whether they are truly of separate racial or ethnic stock.[19]

Considerable controversy surrounds the origins and the organization of Rwandan society before the arrival of Europeans, however, and the Rwandan government disputes European historical records and scientific evidence of migrations and cultural society within the region.[20] Even in pre-colonial Rwanda, however, the Kinyarwanda language was widely spoken. A traditional local justice system called Gacaca predominated in much of the region as an institution for resolving conflict and rendering justice. The Tutsi king (mwami) became the ultimate judge and arbiter for those cases over which he had jurisdiction. Through this system, stability was achieved in large areas of what is now Rwanda.[21]

Colonial era

After signing treaties with chiefs in the Tanganyika region in 1884-1885, Germany claimed Tanganyika, Rwanda and Burundi as its own territory. Count von Götzen met the Tutsi Mwami (king) for the first time in 1894. However, with only 2,500 soldiers in East Africa, Germany did little to change societal structures in much of the region, especially in Rwanda. After the Mwami's death in 1895, a period of unrest followed. Germans and missionaries then began to enter the country from Tanganyika in 1897-98.

By 1899 the Germans exerted some influence by placing advisors at the courts of local chiefs. Much of the Germans' time was spent fighting uprisings in Tanganyika, especially the Maji Maji war of 1905-1907. On May 14, 1910 the European Convention of Brussels fixed the borders of Uganda, Belgian Congo, and German East Africa which included Tanganyika and Ruanda-Urundi.[22] In 1911, the Germans helped the Tutsi put down a rebellion of Hutus in the northern part of Rwanda who did not wish to submit to central Tutsi control.

In 1916, during World War I, Belgian forces advanced from the Congo into Germany's East African colonies. After Germany lost the War, Belgium accepted the League of Nations Mandate of 1923 to govern Ruanda-Urundi along with the Congo, while Great Britain accepted Tanganyika and other German colonies. After World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations (UN) "trust territory" administered by Belgium. The Belgian involvement in the region was far more direct than German involvement and extended its interests into education and agricultural supervision. The latter was especially important in the face of two droughts and subsequent famines in 1928-29 and in 1943. These famines forced large migrations of Rwandans to neighboring Congo.[23] In 1933 ethnic identification cards were used to classify one's ethnicity.

The Belgian colonizers also accepted the existing class system, featuring a minority Tutsi upper class and lower classes of Hutus and Tutsi commoners. However, in 1926 the Belgians abolished the local posts of "land-chief", "cattle-chief" and "military chief", and in doing so they stripped the Hutu of their limited local power over land. In the 1920s, under military threat, the Belgians finally helped to bring the northwest Hutu kingdoms, who had maintained local control of land not subject to the Mwami, under the Tutsi royalty's central control.[24] These two actions disenfranchised the Hutu. Large, centralized land holdings were then divided into smaller chiefdoms.[25]

The fragmenting of Hutu lands angered Mwami Yuhi IV, who had hoped to further centralize his power enough to rid himself of the Belgians. In 1931 Tutsi plots against the Belgian administration resulted in the Belgians deposing the Tutsi Mwami Yuhi. This caused the Tutsis to take up arms against the Belgians, but because of their fear of the Belgians' military superiority, they did not openly revolt.[26]

The Roman Catholic Church and Belgian colonial authorities considered the Hutus and Tutsis different ethnic races based on their physical differences and patterns of migration. However, because of the existence of many wealthy Hutu who shared the financial (if not physical) stature of the Tutsi, the Belgians used an expedient method of classification based on the number of cattle a person owned. Anyone with ten or more cattle was considered a member of the aristocratic Tutsi class. From 1935 on, "Tutsi", "Hutu" and "Twa" were indicated on identity cards. The Roman Catholic Church, being the primary educator in the country, subscribed to and reinforced the differences between Hutu and Tutsi, developing separate educational systems for each. In the 1940s and 1950s the vast majority of students were Tutsi. In 1943, Mwami Mutari III became the first Tutsi monarch to convert to Catholicism.

The Belgian colonialists continued to depend on the Tutsi aristocracy to collect taxes and enforce Belgian policies. It maintained the dominance of the Tutsi in local colonial administration and expanded the Tutsi system of labor for colonial purposes. The United Nations later decried this policy and demanded a greater self-representation of the Hutu in local affairs. In 1954 the Tutsi monarchy of Ruanda-Urundi demanded independence from Belgian rule. At the same time it agreed to abolish the system of indentured servitude (ubuhake and uburetwa) the Tutsis had practiced over the Hutu until then.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, a wave of Pan-Africanism swept through Central Africa, with leaders such as Julius Nyerere in Tanzania and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. Anti-colonial sentiment stirred throughout central Africa, and a socialist platform of African unity and equality for all Africans was forwarded. Nyerere himself wrote about the elitism of educational systems,[27] which Hutus interpreted as an indictment of the elitist educations provided for Tutsis in their own country.

Encouraged by the Pan-Africanists, Hutu advocates in the Catholic Church, and by Christian Belgians (who were increasingly influential in the Congo), Hutu sentiment against the aristocratic Tutsi was increasingly inflamed. The United Nations mandates, the Tutsi overlord class, and the Belgian colonialists themselves added to the growing unrest. The Hutu "emancipation" movement was soon spearheaded by Gregoire Kayibanda, founder of Parmehutu, who wrote his "Hutu Manifesto" in 1957. The group quickly became militarized.

In reaction, in 1959 the UNAR party was formed by Tutsis who desired an immediate independence for Ruanda-Urundi, to be based on the existing Tutsi monarchy. This group also became quickly militarized. Skirmishes began between UNAR and PARMEHUTU groups. Then in July 1959, the Tutsi Mwami (King) Mutara III Charles was believed by Rwandan Tutsis to have been assassinated when he died following a routine vaccination by a Flemish physician in Bujumbura. His younger half-brother then became the next Tutsi monarch, Mwami (King) Kigeli V.

In November 1959, Tutsi forces beat up a Hutu politician, Dominique Mbonyumutwa, and rumors of his death set off a violent backlash against the Tutsi known as "the wind of destruction." Thousands of Tutsis were killed and many thousands more, including the Mwami, fled to neighboring Uganda before Belgian commandos arrived to quell the violence. Several Belgians were subsequently accused by Tutsi leaders of abetting the Hutus in the violence. Tutsi refugees also fled to the South Kivu province of the Congo, where they called themselves Banyamulenge. They eventually became a primary force in the First and Second Congo Wars.

In 1960, the Belgian government agreed to hold democratic municipal elections in Ruanda-Urundi, in which Hutu representatives were elected by the Hutu majorities. This precipitous change in the power structure threatened the centuries-old system by which Tutsi superiority had been maintained through monarchy. An effort to create an independent Ruanda-Urundi with Tutsi-Hutu power sharing failed, largely due to escalating violence. The Belgian government, with UN urging, therefore decided to divide Ruanda-Urundi into two separate countries, Rwanda and Burundi. Each had elections in 1961 in preparation for independence.

In 1961, Rwandans voted, by referendum and with the support of the Belgian colonial government, to abolish the Tutsi monarchy and instead establish a republic. Dominique Mbonyumutwa, who had survived his previous attack, was named the first president of the transitional government. This attack was the pretext used to explain that Tutsis were dangerous and had to be killed. Burundi, by contrast, established a constitutional monarchy, and in the 1961 elections leading up to independence, Louis Rwagasore, the son of the Tutsi Mwami and a popular politician and anti-colonial agitator, was elected as Prime Minister. However, he was soon assassinated. The monarchy, with the aid of the military, therefore assumed control of the country, and allowed no further elections until 1965.

Between 1961 and 1962, Tutsi guerrilla groups staged attacks into Rwanda from neighboring countries. Rwandan Hutu-based troops responded and thousands more were killed in the clashes.

On July 1, 1962, Belgium, with UN supervision, granted full independence to the two countries. Rwanda was created as a republic governed by the majority Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (Parmehutu), which had gained full control of national politics by this time. In 1963, a Tutsi guerrilla invasion into Rwanda from Burundi unleashed another anti-Tutsi backlash by the Hutu government in Rwanda, and an estimated 14,000 people were killed. In response, a previous economic union between Rwanda and Burundi was dissolved and tensions between the two countries worsened. Rwanda also now became a Hutu-dominated one-party state. In excess of 70,000 people had been killed.[citation needed] It was thought for a while that British Royal Marines then stationed in Tanzania might be sent to Rwanda to stop the horrific loss of life there.


Juvénal Habyarimana during a visit to the United States, 1980

Gregoire Kayibanda, founder of Parmehutu (and a Hutu) was the first president (from 1962 to 1973), followed by Juvenal Habyarimana (who was president from 1973 to 1994). The latter, also a Hutu (from the northwest of Rwanda), took power from Kayibanda in a 1973 coup, claiming the government to have been ineffective and riddled with favoritism.

He installed his own political party into government. Thereafter political parties were banned and one party rule effected. Rwanda enjoyed relative economic prosperity during the early part of his regime due to rising coffee and tea prices, the country's main exports, however only a small political elite connected to the President and his family would benefit from the country's growing prosperity.

Civil War and Genocide

In the 1980s the economic situation worsened and the incumbent president, Juvénal Habyarimana, began losing popularity. At the same time, Tutsi refugees in Uganda - supported by some moderate Hutus - were forming the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Their aim was to secure their right to return to their homeland and threatened to wage an armed struggle. Habyarimana chose to exploit this threat as a way to bring dissident Hutus back to his side, and Tutsis inside Rwanda were accused of being RPF collaborators.

In 1990 the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group, composed mostly of the Tutsi refugees, invaded northern Rwanda from Uganda. The Rwandan Civil War, fought between the Hutu regime, with support from Francophone nations of Africa and France itself,[28][29] and the RPF, with support from Uganda, vastly increased the ethnic tensions in the country and led to the rise of Hutu Power, an ideology that asserted that the Tutsi intended to enslave Hutus and thus must be resisted at all costs. Despite continuing ethnic strife, including the displacement of large numbers of Hutu in the north by the rebels and periodic localized extermination of Tutsi to the south, pressure on the government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a cease-fire in 1993 and the preliminary implementation of the Arusha Accords.

On April 6, 1994 Rwandan President Habyarimana and the Burundian President were killed when Habyarimana's plane was shot down near Kigali Airport. Hutu extremists, suspecting that the Rwandan president was finally about to implement the Arusha Peace Accords, are believed to have been behind the attack.[30][31] The shooting down of the plane served as the trigger for the Genocide. In the course of the next few months the Hutu majority in Rwanda organized and implemented the mass slaughter of the Tutsi minority. Hundreds of thousands of Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutu political moderates were killed on the orders of the Hutu dominated government under the Hutu Power ideology. Over the course of approximately 100 days, from the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana on 6 April through mid-July, at least 500,000 people were killed.[32] Estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500,000 and 1,000,000,[33] or as much as 20% of the total population of the country.

The assassination of Habyarimana in April 1994 was the proximate cause of the mass killings of Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus. They were carried out primarily by two Hutu militias associated with political parties: the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi. The genocide was directed by a Hutu power group known as the Akazu. The killing also marked the end of the peace agreement meant to end the war and the Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, eventually defeating the army and seizing control of the country.

Post-civil war

Approximately two million Hutus, participants in the genocide, and the bystanders, with anticipation of Tutsi retaliation, fled from Rwanda, to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and for the most part Zaire. Thousands of them died in epidemics of diseases common to the squalor of refugee camps, such as cholera and dysentery.[34] The United States staged the Operation Support Hope airlift from July to September 1994 to stabilize the situation in the camps.[35]

After the victory of the RPF, the size of UNAMIR (henceforth called UNAMIR 2) was increased to its full strength, remaining in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.[36]

In October 1996, an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire marked the beginning of the First Congo War, and led to a return of more than 600,000 to Rwanda during the last two weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of 500,000 more from Tanzania after they were ejected by the Tanzanian government. Various successor organizations to the Hutu militants operated in eastern DR Congo until May 22, 2009.

Political development

After its military victory in July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Juvénal Habyarimana in 1992. Called The Broad Based Government of National Unity, its fundamental law is based on a combination of the constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND party was outlawed. Political organizing was banned until 2003. The first post-war presidential and legislative elections were held in August and September 2003 respectively.[citation needed]

The current government prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race or religion. The government has also passed laws prohibiting emphasis on Hutu or Tutsi identity in most types of political activity.[citation needed]

In March 1998, on a visit to Rwanda, U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke to the crowd assembled on the tarmac at Kigali Airport: "We come here today partly in recognition of the fact that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred" in Rwanda.[37] Four years after the genocide, Clinton issued what is now known as the "Clinton apology," acknowledging his failure to efficiently deal with the situation in Rwanda, but not formally apologizing for inaction by the U.S. government or the international community.

In March 2000, after removing Pasteur Bizimungu, Paul Kagame became President of Rwanda. On August 25, 2003 Kagame won the first national elections since the RPF took power in 1994.


President Paul Kagame in 2006

A new constitution, written by the Kagame government, was then adopted by referendum in 2003. The first post-war presidential and legislative elections were held in August and September 2003, respectively. The stated RPF-led government goals were to promote reconciliation and unity among all Rwandans through the new constitution by forbidding any political activity or discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion. Right of return to Rwandans displaced between 1959 and 1994, was enshrined in the constitution and the constitution guarantees "All persons originating from Rwanda and their descendants shall, upon their request, be entitled to Rwandan nationality" and "No Rwandan shall be banished from the country."[38]

By law, at least a third of the Parliamentary representation must be female. In the parliamentary election of September 2008, 56% of seats were won by women.[39]

The Senate has at least 26 members, each with a term of eight years. Eight posts are appointed by the president. 12 are elected representatives of the former 11 provinces and the city of Kigali. Four members are designated by the Forum of Political Organizations (a quasi-governmental organization that currently is an arm of the dominant political party); one member is a university lecturer or researcher elected by the public universities; one member is a university lecturer or researcher elected by the private universities. Any past President has permanent membership in the Senate. Under this scheme, up to 12 appointees to the Senate are appointed by the President and his party. The elected members must be approved by the Supreme Court. The 14 Supreme Court members are designated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies has 80 members, each with a 5 year term; 24 posts are reserved for women and are elected by province; 53 posts can be men or women and are also are elected by local elections; 2 posts are elected by the National Youth Council; 1 post is elected by Federation of the Associations of the Disabled.

The President and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies must be from different political parties. The President is elected every seven years, and may serve a maximum of two terms. In 2006, however, the structure of the country was reorganized. It is unclear how this affects current elected representation proportions.

The current Rwandan government, led by Paul Kagame, has been praised by many for establishing security and promoting reconciliation and economic development, but is also criticized by some for being overly militant and opposed to dissent. The country now has many international visitors and is regarded as the safest country in East and Central Africa.

With new independent radio stations and other media arising, Rwanda is attempting a free press, but the Government has been criticized for cracking down on journalists who have questioned the government.[40][41]

On 2 December 2009, Rwanda became the first country to be declared free of landmines under the Ottawa Treaty.[42]

Rebuilding the economy

The government initiated an economic stabilization and recovery program in 1994, which led to a major economic turnaround over the period between 1994 and 2001. The government restructured the country's external debt through the Paris Club, secured a three-year support loan from IMF/World Bank, abolished export taxes, initiated rehabilitation of the banking sector, liberalized trade, currency and wage regimes, achieved full current account convertibility, firmed up the independence of the Central Bank, and launched the restructuring and privatisation of public entities.[citation needed]

Between 1994 and 1997, the GDP growth rate rose by nearly 70%. In the following years, growth remained relatively high (between 6% and 9%). The last three years have also seen spectacular GDP growth at an average rate of over 8%. In 2008 Rwanda registered double digit growth at 11.2%.

Map of Rwanda

Administrative divisions

Rwanda is divided into five provinces (intara) and subdivided into thirty districts (akarere). The provinces are:

Prior to 1 January 2006, Rwanda was composed of twelve provinces (known as prefectures up to 2001), but these were abolished in full and redrawn as part of a program of decentralization and reorganization.


Satellite image of left, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library
The Nyabarongo river flowing through Rwanda to Lake Victoria and the Nile river.

This small country, slightly smaller than the US state of Massachusetts or half the size of Scotland, is located near the center of Africa, a few degrees south of the Equator. It is separated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley to the west; it is bounded on the north by Uganda, to the east by Tanzania, and to the south by Burundi. The capital, Kigali, is located in the center of the country.

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet (2,743 m).

On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, and constitutes part of the Great Rift Valley. This western section of the country lies within the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion.

The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region. Therefore the country is also fondly known as "Land of a Thousand Hills" (Pays des mille collines). In 2006, a British-led exploration announced that they had located the longest headstream of the River Nile in Nyungwe Forest.[43]


The transport system in Rwanda centres primarily around the road network, with paved roads between the capital, Kigali and most other major cities and towns in the country.[44] Rwanda is also linked by road to other countries in East Africa, notably to the port of Mombasa via Kampala and Nairobi, which provides Rwanda's most important trade route.[45] The country has an international airport at Kigali, serving one domestic and several international destinations.[46][47] There is no public water transport between the port cities on Lake Kivu, although a limited private service exists.[48] A large amount of investment in the transport infrastructure has been made by the government since the 1994 genocide, with aid from the USA, European Union, Japan and others.

The principal form of public transport in the country is share taxi, with express routes linking the major cities and local services serving most villages along the main roads of the country. Coach services are available to various destinations in neighbouring countries.

In 2006, the Chinese government proposed funding a study for the building of a railway link from Bujumbura in Burundi to Kigali in Rwanda to Isaka in Tanzania.[49] A delegation from the American railroad BNSF also met with President Paul Kagame to discuss a route from Kigali to Isaka and at the same time the government announced that it had selected a German consulting company to undertake pilot work for the proposed rail line.[50]


For now, Rwanda leads the region in terms of ICT adoption and infrastructure development. The country has a 100% mobile telecommunication coverage. Three Mobile phone operators (MTN, RwandaTel & TIGO) provide 3G mobile phone and internet services.

In 2009, WiBro technology was launched in Kigali enabling users to access high speed wireless Internet from any part of the city.

The postal system is mostly reliable. Those wishing to receive post must register and pay for annually, a Post Office Box at the Post Office.

There is one national television station: Rwanda Television which broadcasts feeds from various international broadcasters during the day. The evening programming largely consists of locally produced news programming repeated in Kinyarwanda, English and French.

Subscription-based satellite television is easily available. There are currently two operators: South African based DSTV and China based Star Communications.


Coffee, such as this bag of Maraba Coffee, is one of Rwanda's major cash crops.

Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 genocide, with widespread loss of life, failure to maintain the infrastructure, looting and neglect of important cash crops causing a large drop in GDP and destroying the country's ability to attract private and external investment.[51] The country has since strengthened, with per-capita GDP (PPP) estimated at $951 in 2008,[52] compared with just $390 in 1994.[53] Major export markets include China, Germany and the United States.[51] The currency is the Rwandan franc and the economy is managed by the central National Bank of Rwanda, although Rwanda recently joined the East African Community and there are plans for a common East African shilling, which could be in place by 2010.[54]

Rwanda is a country of few natural resources, and the economy is based mostly on semi-subsistence agriculture by local farmers using simple tools.[55] An estimated 90% of the working population farms, and agriculture comprised an estimated 39.4% of GDP in 2006.[51] Since the mid 1980s, farm sizes have and food production have been decreasing, due in part to the resettlement of displaced people.[56][57] Thus despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food imports.[51] Crops grown in the country include coffee, tea, pyrethrum, bananas, beans, sorghum and potatoes. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export, with the high altitudes, steep slopes and volcanic soils providing favourable conditions. Reliance on agricultural exports makes Rwanda vulnerable to shifts in their prices.[58]

The mountain gorilla is Rwanda's leading tourist attraction

Livestock are raised throughout the country, with animal husbandry contributing around 8.8% of GDP in 2006.[59] Animals raised in Rwanda include cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chicken and rabbits, with geographical variation in the numbers of each.[59] Production systems are mostly traditional, although there are a few intensive dairy farms around Kigali.[59] Shortage of land, water shortage, insufficient and poor quality feed and regular disease epidemics with insufficient veterinary service are major constraints, restricting output in this sector. Fishing takes place on the country's lakes, but stocks are very depleted and live fish are now being imported in an attempt to revive the industry.[60]

The industrial sector is small and uncompetitive.[61] Products manufactured include cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes.[51] Despite being a landlocked country of few natural resources, Rwanda's mining industry is an important contributor, generating US$93 million in 2008.[62] Minerals mined include cassiterite, coltan, wolfram, and gold and coltan, which is used in the manufacture of electronic and communication devices such as mobile phones.[62][63]

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner, generating US$214 million in 2008, up by 54% on the previous year.[64] Despite the genocide, the country is increasingly perceived internationally as a safe destination,[65][66] and one million people are estimated to have visited the country in 2008, up from 826,374 in 2007.[64] The country's most popular tourist activity is the tracking of mountain gorillas, which takes place in the Volcanoes National Park.[65][67] Other attractions include Nyungwe Forest, home to chimpanzees, Ruwenzori colobus and other primates,[68] the resorts of Lake Kivu,[69] and Akagera, a small savanna reserve in the east of the country.[70]


Rural children.

Most Rwandans speak Kinyarwanda, one of the country's three official languages, and in market towns many people speak Swahili. Educated Rwandans speak French and English. In 2008 the Rwandan government announced that English would become the primary language of instruction in schools, replacing French as the primary language of instruction.

This change was initiated to ensure further integration with the global economic community. Rwanda was admitted in November 2009 to membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.[71]


Religion in Rwanda[72]
religion percent
Roman Catholic

Most Rwandans are Christian, with significant changes since the genocide.

A 2006 study reported that 56.5 percent of the population were Catholic (with a 6.9% increase since the 2001 survey), 37.1 percent Protestant (of which 11.1 Adventists, and 14,000 Jehovah's Witnesses), 4.6 percent Muslim, 1.7 claimed no religious beliefs, and 0.1 percent practiced traditional indigenous beliefs[73].

Figures from 2001 survey were 49.6 % Catholic, 43.9 % Protestant, 4.6 % Muslim, 1.7 % no religious beliefs, and 0.1 % traditional indigenous beliefs. This represented a 19.9 percent increase in the number of Protestants, a 7.6 percent drop in the number of Catholics, and a 3.5 percent increase in the number of Muslims from the U.N. Population Fund survey in 1996.

There has been a proliferation of small, usually Christian-linked schismatic religious groups since the 1994 Genocide.[72] The figures for Protestants include the growing number of members of Jehovah's Witnesses and evangelical Protestant groups. There also is a small population of Baha'is and Jews.[74][75]

The Muslim community may have grown in part because Muslims are suggested to have saved the lives of many Tutsis from Hutu attacks.[76][77] Some estimate the Muslim population of the country to be as high as 14%.[78][76][77][79]

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Rwanda hosted 54,200 refugees and asylum seekers in 2007. Approximately 51,300 refugees and asylum seekers were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 2,900 from Burundi.[80]


Fertility is at about six births per woman.[81] HIV prevalence was at about 3 % of the 15-49 year olds in 2005.[81] Public expenditure was at 4.3 % of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was 3.2 %.[81] There were 5 physicians per 100,000 people in 2000-2004.[81] Infant mortality was at 118 per 1,000 live births in 2005.[81]



LGBT rights

Homosexuality is legal in Rwanda, although no specific laws regarding homosexuality exist.[82]

On December 16, 2009, Rwanda discussed legislation that would criminalize homosexuality, proposing 5–10 years imprisonment.[83] This legislation is similar to the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the neighboring country of Uganda, which would penalize homosexuals with imprisonment and (in cases of relations with a minor or a disabled person, in cases where the "offender" is HIV-positive and in cases of repeated homosexual acts)[84] the death penalty.


Net primary enrollment rate was at 74 % in 2004.[81] Public expenditure was at 3.8 % of the GDP in 2002-2005.[81] A significant minority of the adult population of Rwanda is illiterate, particularly women.[81] Public primary education has become fee-free.[85] Kinyarwanda, French and English are taught generally.[86] Rwanda has several universities.[87]

Primary and Secondary

See List of schools in Rwanda

Post Secondary Institutions

There are 20 places of higher education in Rwanda with 6 public and 14 private[88]:



  • Adventist University of Central Africa
  • Kigali Independent University
  • Kigali Lay Adventist University
  • Gitwe Institute of Education
  • Kibungo University of Agriculture, Technology and Education
  • Kabgayi Catholic University
  • Butare Protestant Theological College
  • International College of Accountancy and Management
  • Nyakibanda Major Seminary
  • Byumba Polytechnic Institute
  • Rwanda Pentecostal University
  • Kigali Professional Institute

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace [1] Global Peace Index[90] 86 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 167 out of 182
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 89 out of 180

See also


  1. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2009). "Rwanda". The World Factbook. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.8. 2008 revision. United Nations. p. 19. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Rwanda". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ See, e.g., Rwanda: How the genocide happened, BBC, April 1, 2004, which gives an estimate of 800,000, and OAU sets inquiry into Rwanda genocide, Africa Recovery, Vol. 12 1#1 (August 1998), page 4, which estimates the number at between 500,000 and 1,000,000.
  5. ^ CNN: Africa's Biggest Success Story, Zakaria "
  6. ^ Fortune: Why CEO's Love Rwanda. "
  7. ^ UN Habitat. "
  8. ^ Siuberski, Philippe. "
  9. ^ Josh Kron (2009-11-29). "Rwanda Joins British Commonwealth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  10. ^ BBC News - Rwanda becomes a member of the Commonwealth
  11. ^ a b c d e Briggs and Booth 2006 p6
  12. ^ Chrétien p44
  13. ^ Dorsey p36
  14. ^ Chrétien p45
  15. ^ Chrétien p43-44
  16. ^ H. J. M. Claessen, Peter Skalník. "The Study of the State". Mouton, 1981. 17. ISBN 9-0279-3348-0
  17. ^ a b Briggs and Booth 2006 p7
  18. ^ a b Prunier p16
  19. ^ "The Rwandan Conflict: Origin, Development, Exit Strategies". 
  20. ^ ""The Origin of Rwandan Conflict". Rwandan Government: National Unity and Reconciliation Committee. 
  21. ^ "RECONCILIATION: AN EXPERIENCE FROM RWANDA (Memorandum submitted by Dr Zac Nsenga, Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, to Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs)". Parliament of the U.K.. 2004-12-29. 
  22. ^ "International Boundary Study: Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) -- Rwanda Boundary" (PDF). Department of State, Washington, D.C., US. 1965-06-15. Retrieved 2006-06-05. 
  23. ^ "Re-imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival and Disinformation in the Twentieth Century" (PDF). School of Oriental and African Studies, University of England (Cambridge University Press). 2002-03-01. Retrieved 2006-06-05. 
  24. ^ "Re-imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival and Disinformation in the Twentieth Century" (PDF). School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Cambridge University Press). 2002-03-01. Retrieved 2006-06-05. 
  25. ^ "Perspective of Land Reform in Rwanda" (PDF). Ministry of Lands, Human Settlement, and Environmental Protection, Kigali, Rwanda. 2002-04-26. Retrieved 2006-06-05. 
  26. ^ "The Teaching of the History of Rwanda: A Participatory Approach (A Reference Book for Secondary Schools in Rwanda)" (PDF). Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Research, Kigali, Rwanda, and UC Berkeley Human Rights Center, Berkeley, US. 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  27. ^ "Julius Nyerere: Lifelong Learning and Informal Education". infed (Informal Education website), London, UK. 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  28. ^ Wallis, Andrew. Silent accomplice. 2006, page 38-41
  29. ^ Walter, Barbara F. and Snyder, Jack L. Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention. 1999, page 135
  30. ^ New Yorker: The Mutsinzi Report on the Rwandan Genocide, Philip Gourevitch"
  31. ^ PBS: 100 Days of Slaughter, A chronology of US/UN inaction"
  32. ^ Des Forges, Alison (1999). Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-171-1. Retrieved 2007-01-12. 
  33. ^ See, e.g., Rwanda: How the genocide happened, BBC, April 1, 2004, which gives an estimate of 800,000, and OAU sets inquiry into Rwanda genocide, Africa Recovery, Vol. 12 1#1 (August 1998), page 4, which estimates the number at between 500,000 and 1,000,000. 7 out of every 10 Tutsis were killed.
  34. ^ Ch. 10: "The Rwandan genocide and its aftermath"PDF in State of the World's Refugees 2000, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  35. ^ "Operation Support Hope". 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  36. ^ Homepage for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda,
  37. ^ Power, Samantha. "Bystanders to Genocide." Atlantic Monthly. Sept. 2001.<>.
  38. ^ "The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda". Government of Rwanda, Kigali. 2003-05-26. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  39. ^ "Rwandan Women Secure 56% of Parliamentary Seats in Historic Election Result". United Nations Development Fund for Women. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  40. ^ "Rwanda - 2007 Annual Report". Reporters Without Borders, Paris, France. 2007-05-02. 
  41. ^ "OPC Letter to Rwanda". Overseas Press Club of America, New York, USA. 2007-02-15. 
  42. ^ "Rwanda – first landmine-free country". BBC News. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  43. ^ "Team reaches Nile's 'true source'". BBC News. 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2006-12-04. 
  44. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p63
  46. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p35
  47. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p62
  48. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p64
  49. ^ "China to Assist Rwanda". Railways Africa, Gauteng, South Africa. 2006-09-07. 
  50. ^ "Rwanda: Kagame Meets Railway Expert". The New Times. Kigali, Rwanda. 2007-04-27. 
  51. ^ a b c d e The World Factbook - Rwanda] United States Central Intelligence Agency
  52. ^ Gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita GDP, Rwanda, 1994 World Economic Outlook Database, April 2008, International Monetary Fund
  53. ^ Gross domestic product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita GDP, Rwanda, 2008 World Economic Outlook Database, April 2008, International Monetary Fund
  54. ^ East African currency coming News24, South Africa
  55. ^ "Special Report on Rwanda, July 97". CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO RWANDA. FAO/WFP. 1997-07-01. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  56. ^ "Agriculture and Food COUNTRY PROFILE - Rwanda". EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal. Earth Resources Institute. 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  57. ^ "Rwanda - Economy". Travel Document Systems, Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  58. ^ "Continued reforms and technical assistance should help Rwanda in its efforts to achieve a dynamic economy". TRADE POLICY REVIEW: RWANDA. World Trade Organization. 2004-09-30. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  59. ^ a b c "Livestock production". Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture. 2006-06-10. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  60. ^ Namata, Berna (2008-12-28). "Rwanda to restock water bodies with fisheries". The New Times. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  61. ^ "World Hunger - Rwanda". World Food Program. Retrieved 2006-12-04. 
  62. ^ a b "Mining industry generated $93 million in 2008". The New Times. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  63. ^ Imtiyaz Delawala (2001-09-07). "What Is Coltan?". Nightline. ABC news. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  64. ^ a b "Tourism and Conservation Performance in 2008". Rwanda Tourist Board (ORTPN). 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  65. ^ a b Briggs and Booth 2001, Introduction viii
  66. ^ "Rwanda - Country Specific Information". International Travel Information. U.S. Department of State. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  67. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p204
  68. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p140-141
  69. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p165
  70. ^ Briggs and Booth 2006, p229
  71. ^ Stephanie McCrummen (2008-10-28). "Rwandans Say Adieu to Français". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.): p. A10. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  72. ^ a b U.S. Department of State
  73. ^ U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report 2007
  74. ^ Thousands Outraged at Aquittal [sic] in '94 Bombing of Jewish Community Center (Argentina)
  75. ^ Rwandan genocide survivor visits Canada | Canadian Bahá’í News Service
  76. ^ a b Emily Wax (2002-11-23). "Islam Attracting Many Survivors of Rwanda Genocide". Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post. p. A10. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  77. ^ a b Tiemessen, Alana (2005) From Genocide to Jihad: Islam and Ethnicity in Post-Genocide Rwanda. Paper presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, London, Ontario.
  78. ^ Robert Walke (2004-04-01). "Rwanda's religious reflections". BBC. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  79. ^ Times Daily
  80. ^ "World Refugee Survey 2008". U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. 2008-06-19. 
  81. ^ a b c d e f g h Human Development Report 2009 - Rwanda
  82. ^ Spartacus International Gay Guide, page 1216. Bruno Gmunder Verlag, 2007.
  83. ^ Africa’s Culture War: The Fight Over Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill - The World Newser
  84. ^ Anti-gay bill in Uganda challenges Catholics to take a stand | National Catholic Reporter
  85. ^ Republic Of Rwanda - Ministry of Education
  86. ^ Site en travaux
  87. ^ Site en travaux
  88. ^ Rwandan Development Gateway
  89. ^ Kigali Institute of Science and Technology
  90. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

Cited texts

  • Briggs, Philip & Booth, Janice (2006) Rwanda - The Bradt Travel Guide. 3rd ed. London: Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 1841621803
  • Chrétien, Jean-Pierre (2003) The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History Hardcover ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 189095134X
  • Dorsey, Learthen (1994) Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810828200
  • Munyakazi, Augustine & Ntagaramba, Johnson Funga (2005). Atlas of Rwanda French ed. Oxford: Macmillan Education. ISBN 0333954513

External links

Ceremony site


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. Kinyarwanda, a Bantu language of Rwanda.

External links


Proper noun

Ruanda f.

  1. Rwanda


Proper noun

Ruanda f.

  1. Rwanda


Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Rwanda


Derived terms

  • ruandalainen


Proper noun

Ruanda n

  1. Rwanda


Proper noun


  1. Rwanda


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Ruanda m.

  1. Rwanda

Derived terms



Alternative spellings


  • IPA: /ruˈanda/

Proper noun

Ruanda f.

  1. Rwanda (country)


Singular only
Nominative Ruanda
Genitive Ruandy
Dative Ruandzie
Accusative Ruandę
Instrumental Ruandą
Locative Ruandzie
Vocative Ruando

Derived terms

  • Ruandyjczyk m., Ruandyjka f.
  • adjective: ruandyjski


Proper noun


  1. Rwanda


Proper noun

Ruanda f

  1. Rwanda


Proper noun


  1. Rwanda


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