Rwanda [Country Flag of Rwanda]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Rwanda] Background: In 1959, three years before independence, 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 genocide in which roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the genocide in July 1994, but approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC). Since then most of the refugees have returned. Despite substantial international assistance and political reforms - including Rwanda's first ever local elections held in March 1999 - the country continues to struggle to boost investment and agricultural output and to foster reconciliation. A series of massive population displacements, a nagging Hutu extremist insurgency, and Rwandan involvement in two wars over the past four years in the neighboring DROC continue to hinder Rwanda's efforts.



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

Geographic coordinates: 2 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,948 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), methane, hydropower, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 35%
permanent crops: 13%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 12% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts; the volcanic Birunga 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; widespread poaching

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

Geography - note: landlocked; predominantly rural population


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Population: 7,229,129
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 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 1,558,730; female 1,548,175)
15-64 years: 54% (male 1,943,268; female 1,971,542)
65 years and over: 3% (male 83,699; female 123,715) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.14% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 34.78 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 20.95 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 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: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 120.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 39.34 years
male: 38.58 years
female: 40.13 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.07 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan

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

Religions: Roman Catholic 65%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 1%, indigenous beliefs and other 25%

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.)


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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

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, Kigali-ville, Umutara, Ruhengeri

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962); Liberation Day, 4 July (1994)

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 multiparty 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 regular election to be held NA 2002); prime minister is appointed by the president
election results: Paul KAGAME elected president in a special parliamentary vote 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 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: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FPR 13, MDR 13, PSD 13, PL 13, PDC 6, RPA 6, PSR 2, PDI 2, other 2; note - the distribution of seats was predetermined

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 and Socialist Party or PSD [Charles NIAKIRUTINKA, Juvenal NKSUI, Jacqueline MUHONGAYRIE]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Pierre Celestin RWIGEMA, chairman]; Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [leader NA]; Liberal Party or PL [Agnes NTAMABYALIRO]; National Repulican Movement for Democracy and Development or MRNDD (formerly known as the National Movement for Democracy and Development or MRND [Mathieu NGIRUMPATSE]; Rwanda Patriotic Army or RPA [Maj. Gen. Paul KAGAME, commander]; Rwandan 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, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard SEZIBERA
chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador George M. STAPLES
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


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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; is landlocked; and has 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. In June 1998, Rwanda signed an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) with the IMF. Rwanda has also embarked upon an ambitious privatization program with the World Bank. Continued growth in 2000 depends on the maintenance of international aid levels and the strengthening of world prices of coffee and tea.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $5.9 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5.3% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $720 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 44%
industry: 20%
services: 36% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: 51.2% (1993 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.2%
highest 10%: 24.2% (1983-85)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10% (1998)

Labor force: 3.6 million

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 90%, government and services, industry and commerce

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $202 million
expenditures: $361 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries: cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate: 8.7% (1998 est.)

Electricity - production: 159 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.52%
hydro: 97.48%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 165 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 3 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 20 million kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $70.8 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: coffee, tea, hides, tin ore

Exports - partners: Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Pakistan, Spain, Kenya

Imports: $242 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material

Imports - partners: Kenya, Tanzania, US, Benelux, France

Debt - external: $1.2 billion (1998)

Economic aid - recipient: $591.5 million (1997); note - in the summer of 1998, Rwanda presented its policy objectives and development priorities to donor governments resulting in multiyear pledges in the amount of $250 million

Currency: 1 Rwandan franc (RF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Rwandan francs (RF) per US$1 - 349.53 (January 2000), 333.94 (1999) 312.31 (1998), 301.53 (1997), 306.82 (1996), 262.20 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones - main lines in use: 15,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: telephone system primarily serves business and government
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 0, FM 3, shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios: 601,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (1997)

Televisions: NA; probably less than 1,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (1999)


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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: 8 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (1999 est.)


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Military branches: Army, Gendarmerie, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,774,459 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 902,970 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $92 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.8% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes - international: Rwandan military forces are supporting the rebel forces in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo