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Countries > Rwanda Rwanda Flag

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Capital: Kigali
Population: 67,000,000
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Rwanda Map


Current issues: following the outbreak of genocidal strife in Rwanda in April 1994 between Tutsi and Hutu factions, more than 2 million refugees fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire; according to the UN High Commission on Refugees, in 1996 and early 1997 nearly 1,300,000 Hutus returned to Rwanda; of these, 720,000 returned from Zaire, 480,000 from Tanzania, 88,000 from Burundi, and 10,000 from Uganda


Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates: 2 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 26,340 sq km
land: 24,950 sq km
water: 1,390 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

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible

Terrain: 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), natural gas, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 35%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures : 18%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 12% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo

Environment - current issues: deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified : Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; predominantly rural population


Population: 7,398,074 (July 2002 est.)
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age structure:
0-14 years:41.7% (male 1,550,141; female 1,539,375)
15-64 years: 55.4% (male 2,039,573; female 2,057,059)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 84,030; female 127,896) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.16% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 33.28 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 21.39 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population:0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 117.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 38.66 years
male : 38.14 years
female: 39.2 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.72 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun : Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic groups: Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa (Pygmoid) 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7% (2001)

Languages: 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 : 60.5%
male: 69.8%
female: 51.6% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Rwandese Republic
conventional short form : Rwanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
local short form: Rwanda

Data code: RW

Government type: republic; presidential, multiparty system

National capital: Kigali

Administrative divisions: 12 prefectures (in French - prefectures, singular - prefecture; in Kinyarwanda - plural - NA, singular - prefegitura); Butare, Byumba, Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Kibuye, Kigali Rurale, Kigali-ville, Umutara, Ruhengeri

Independence: 1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution: on 5 May 1995, the Transitional National Assembly adopted a new constitution which included elements of the constitution of 18 June 1991 as well as provisions of the 1993 Arusha peace accord and the November 1994 multi-party protocol of understanding

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal adult

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Maj. Gen. Paul KAGAME (FPR) (since 22 April 2000)
head of government:Prime Minister Bernard MAKUZA (since 8 March 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections :normally the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; special election for new president by deputies of the National Assembly and governmental ministers held 17 April 2000 (next national election to be held NA 2003); prime minister is appointed by the president
election results: Paul KAGAME (FPR) elected president in a special parliamentary/ministerial ballot receiving 81 of a possible 86 votes

Legislative branch: unicameral Transitional National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale de Transition (a power-sharing body with 70 seats established on 12 December 1994 following a multiparty protocol of understanding; members were named by their parties, number of seats per party predetermined by the Arusha peace accord)
elections: the last national legislative elections were held 16 December 1988 for the National Development Council (the legislature prior to the advent of the Transitional National Assembly); no elections have been held for the Transitional National Assembly as the distribution of seats was predetermined by the Arusha peace accord
election results:seats by party under the Arusha peace accord - FPR 13, MDR 13, PSD 13, PL 13, PDC 6, RPA 6, PSR 2, PDI 2, UDPR 2; note - the distribution of seats was predetermined, four additional seats (two for women and two for youth) added in 2001

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, consists of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State in joint session

Political parties and leaders: Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Jean-Nipomuscene NAYINZIRA]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [leader NA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [leader NA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA]; Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Andre BUMAYA]; Liberal Party or PL [Pie MUGABO]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned) [Pasteur BIZIMURGI and Charilg NTAKIROTINKA]; Rwanda Patriotic Army or RPA [Maj. Gen. Paul KAGAME, commander]; Rwanda Patriotic Front or FPR [Maj. Gen. Paul KAGAME]; Rwandan Socialist Party or PSR [leader NA]

Political pressure groups and leaders: IBUKA - association of genocide survivors

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard SEZIBERA
chancery: (temporary) Suites C1 and C2, 2141 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone : [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret K. McMILLION since 13 December 2001
embassy: Boulevard de la Revolution, Kigali
mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
telephone : [250] 756 01 through 03, 721 26, 771 47
FAX: [250] 721 28

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green with a large black letter R centered in the yellow band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Guinea, which has a plain yellow band


Economy - overview:Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa; landlocked with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary exports are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and eroded the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made significant progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy. GDP has rebounded, and inflation has been curbed. Rwanda received approval for debt relief from the IMF in late 2000 and continued to make progress on inflation, privatization, and GDP growth in 2001. However, export earnings were hindered by low global coffee prices, depriving the country of much needed hard currency. President KAGAME is encouraging investors to take advantage of export opportunities in Rwanda based on its membership in the COMESA free trade area and its access to the US and the EU markets through preferential trade agreements.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.8 billion (1995 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $400 (1995 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 52%
industry: 13%
services: 35% (1994 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 22% (1995 est.)

Labor force:
total: 3.6 million
by occupation: agriculture 93%, government and services 5%, industry and commerce 2%

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: mining of cassiterite (tin ore) and wolframite (tungsten ore), tin, cement, processing of agricultural products, small-scale beverage production, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 60,000 kW

Electricity - production: 190 million kWh

Electricity - consumption per capita: 23 kWh (1993 est.)

Agriculture - products: coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock

total value: $51.2 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
commodities: coffee 63%, tea, cassiterite, wolframite, pyrethrum
partners : Brazil, EU

total value: $237.3 million (f.o.b.,1995 est.)
commodities: textiles, foodstuffs, machines and equipment, capital goods, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
partners: US, EU, Kenya, Tanzania

Debt - external: $1 billion (December 1995)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
note: in October 1990 Rwanda launched a Structural Adjustment Program with the IMF; since September 1991, the EU has given $46 million and the US $25 million in support of this program (1993)

Currency: 1 Rwandan franc (RF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Rwandan francs (RF) per US$1 - 309.85 (December 1996), 306.82 (1996), 262.20 (1995), 144.31 (1993), 133.35 (1992)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 6,400 (1983 est.)

Telephone system: telephone system does not provide service to the general public but is intended for business and government use
domestic : the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the prefectures by microwave radio relay; the remainder of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone
international: 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)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 630,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: NA


Railways: 0 km

total : 12,000 km
paved: 1,000 km
unpaved: 11,000 km (1997 est.)

Waterways: Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft

Ports and harbors: Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye

Airports: 7 (1996 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m : 2
under 914 m: 3 (1996 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Army, Gendarmerie

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,806,832 (1997 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 920,343 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $112.5 million (1992)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 7% (1992)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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