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1. Rwanda map and information page
2. Rwan-da

1. Rwanda map and information page ^Top

Date Accessed: 27 May. 2005
Title: Rwanda map and information page by World Atlas


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Facts and Figures

arrow Official Name Republic of Rwanda

arrow Capital City Kigali

arrow Languages Kinyarwanda, French, local dialects

arrow Official Currency Rwanda Franc

arrow Religions Catholic, traditional beliefs

arrow Population 7,312,000

arrow Land Area 24,950 sq km (9,633 sq miles)

arrow Time and Date in Kigali

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2. Rwan-da ^Top

Date Accessed: 27 May. 2005
Title: Rwanda: Map, History and Much More From
(Click to enlarge)
(Mapping Specialists, Ltd.)
Rwan·da (ru-än'd?) pronunciation (Formerly Ru·an·da (ru-än'd?))

A country of east-central Africa. By the late 18th century the region was the site of a Tutsi kingdom inhabited principally by Hutus. In 1890 it became part of German East Africa and later (1919) part of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi. Rwanda achieved independence from Belgium in 1962. In 1990 the country was invaded by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, a group largely composed of exiled Tutsis, which signed a peace agreement with the government in 1992. Ethnic fighting broke out again in 1994, however, with the Tutsis routing the Hutu government, causing over a million Hutus to flee to Zaire. Kigali is the capital and largest city. Population: 7,950,000 .

Rwan'dan adj. & n.
Rwanda (r?än') , officially Republic of Rwanda, republic (1992 pop. 7,164,994), 10,169 sq mi (26,338 sq km), E central Africa. It borders on Congo (Kinshasa) in the west, on Uganda in the north, on Tanzania in the east, and on Burundi in the south. Kigali is the capital and largest town.

Land and People

Most of Rwanda is situated at 5,000 ft (1,520 m) or higher, and the country has a rugged relief made up of steep mountains and deep valleys. The principal geographical feature is the Virunga mountain range, which runs north of Lake Kivu and includes Rwanda's loftiest point, Volcan Karisimbi (14,787 ft/4,507 m). There is some lower land (at elevations below 3,000 ft/910 m) along the eastern shore of Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River in the west and near the Tanzanian border in the east. The country is divided into twelve prefectures. In addition to the capital, other towns include Butare, Gisenyi, and Ruhengeri.

About 80% of the inhabitants are Hutu, and the rest Tutsi, except for a small number of Twa, who are a Pygmy group. Since independence, ethnic violence has led to large-scale massacres and the creation of perhaps as many as three million refugees. Kinyarwanda (a Bantu tongue), French, and English are the official languages, and Swahili is also spoken. Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, and its population has a high annual growth rate that is usually around 3%. About 75% of the people are Christian (primarily Roman Catholic,) and 25% follow traditional religious beliefs. A small number of Tutsi are Muslim.


The economy of Rwanda is overwhelmingly agricultural, with most of the workers engaged in subsistence farming. Economic development in Rwanda is hindered by the needs of its large population and by its lack of easy access to the sea (and thus to foreign markets). The chief food crops are bananas, cassava, pulses, sorghum, and potatoes. The principal cash crops are coffee, tea, and pyrethrum. Large numbers of cattle, goats, and sheep are raised; most of the cattle are owned by the Tutsi. Food must be imported, as domestic production has fallen below subsistence levels. Food shortages were sharply exacerbated by the civil strife and severe refugee problems of the early 1990s, and exports were devastated. By the late 1990s the economy appeared to be reviving slowly.

Cassiterite and wolframite are mined in significant quantities, and natural gas is produced at Lake Kivu. Rwanda's industries are limited to small factories that manufacture textiles, chemicals, cement, and basic consumer goods such as processed food, beverages (especially beer), clothing, and footwear. The country has a good road network but no railroads. Kigali has an international airport.

The annual value of Rwanda's imports is usually considerably higher than its earnings from exports. The main imports are foodstuffs, machinery, motor vehicles, fuel, and construction materials; the principal exports are coffee, casseritite, wolframite, tea, pyrethrum, and hides. The chief trading partners are Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Kenya. Rwanda depends on outside aid to balance its national budget, to finance foreign purchases, and to fund development projects.


History to Independence

The Twa were the original inhabitants of Rwanda and were followed (c.A.D. 1000), and then outnumbered, by the Hutus. In the 14th or 15th cent., the Tutsis migrated into the area, gained dominance over the Hutus, and established several states. By the late 18th cent. a single Tutsi-ruled state occupied most of present-day Rwanda. It was headed by a mwami (king), who controlled regionally based vassals who were also Tutsi. They in turn dominated the Hutus, who, then as now, made up the vast majority of the population. Rwanda reached the height of its power under Mutara II (reigned early 19th cent.) and Kigeri IV (reigned 1853–95). Kigeri established a standing army, equipped with guns purchased from traders from the E African coast, and prohibited most foreigners from entering his kingdom.

Nonetheless, in 1890, Rwanda accepted German overrule without resistance and became part of German East Africa. A German administrative officer was assigned to Rwanda only in 1907, however, and the Germans had virtually no influence over the affairs of the country and initiated no economic development. During World War I, Belgian forces occupied (1916) Rwanda, and in 1919 it became part of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi (which in 1946 became a UN trust territory). Until the last years of Belgian rule the traditional social structure of Rwanda was not altered; considerable Christian missionary work, however, was undertaken.

In 1957 the Hutus issued a manifesto calling for a change in Rwanda's power structure that would give them a voice in the country's affairs commensurate with their numbers, and Hutu political parties were formed. In 1959, Mutara III died and was succeeded by Kigeri V. The Hutus contended that the new mwami had not been properly chosen, and fighting broke out between the Hutus and the Tutsis (who were aided by the Twa). The Hutus emerged victorious, and some 100,000 Tutsis, including Kigeri V, fled to neighboring countries. Hutu political parties won the election of 1960; Grégoire Kayibanda became interim prime minister. In early 1961 a republic was proclaimed, which was confirmed in a UN-supervised referendum later in the year. Belgium granted independence to Rwanda on July 1, 1962.

Independence and Civil Strife

Kayibanda was elected as the first president under the constitution adopted in 1962 and was reelected in 1965 and 1969. In 1964, following an incursion from Burundi, which continued to be controlled by its Tutsi aristocracy, many Tutsis were killed in Rwanda, and numerous others left the country. In 1971–72, relations with Uganda were bitter after President Idi Amin of Uganda accused Rwanda of aiding groups trying to overthrow him. In early 1973 there was renewed fighting between Hutu and Tutsi groups, and some 600 Tutsis fled to Uganda.

On July 5, 1973, a military group toppled Kayibanda without violence and installed Maj. Gen. Juvénal Habyarimana, a moderate Hutu who was commander of the national guard. In 1978 a new constitution was ratified and Habyarimana was elected president. He was reelected in 1983 and 1988. In 1988 over 50,000 refugees fled into Rwanda from Burundi.

Two years later Rwanda was invaded from Uganda by forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), consisting mainly of Tutsi refugees. They were repulsed, but Habyarimana agreed to a new multiparty constitution, promulgated in 1991. In early 1993, after Habyarimana signed a power-sharing agreement, Hutu violence broke out in the capital; subsequently, RPF forces launched a major offensive, making substantial inroads. A new accord was signed in August, and a UN peacekeeping mission was established. However, when Habyarimana and Burundi's president were killed in a suspicious plane crash in Apr., 1994, civil strife erupted on a massive scale. Rwandan soldiers and Hutu gangs slaughtered an estimated 500,000–1 million people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The RPF resumed fighting and won control of the country, but over 2 million Rwandans, nearly all Hutus, fled the country.

In a gesture of reconciliation, the RPF named Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, as president, but there were reprisals against Hutus by elements of the Tutsi-dominated army, and real power was believed to lie with RPF leader Paul Kagame, who became vice president and defense minister. The Hutu refugees remained crowded into camps in the Congo (then called Zaïre) and other neighboring countries, where Hutu extremists held power and, despite relief efforts by the United Nations and other international organizations, disease claimed some 100,000 lives. In 1995, a UN-appointed tribunal, based in Tanzania, began indicting and sentencing a number of higher-ranking people for genocide in the Hutu-Tutsi atrocities; however, the whereabouts of many suspects were unknown. Many individuals were also tried in Rwandan courts, but by 2002 slightly less than 5,000 (of 120,000 charged with crimes) had been tried. Over a million Hutu refugees flooded back into the country in 1996; by 1997, there was a growing war between the Rwandan army and Hutu guerrilla bands.

In 1998, Rwandan soldiers began aiding antigovernment rebels in the Congo who were attempting to overthrow the Congolese president, Laurent Kabila; Rwanda had helped Kabila overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko 18 months earlier. President Bizimungu resigned in Mar., 2000, accusing the parliament of using an anticorruption campaign to attack Hutu members of the government. Kagame officially succeeded Bizimungu as president in April, becoming the first Tutsi to be president of Rwanda.

Fighting in 1999 and 2000 between Rwandan and Ugandan forces in the Congo has led to tense relations between the two nations and occasional fighting between proxy forces in the Congo; each nation also has accused the other of aiding rebels against its own rule. Rwandan troops were withdrawn from the Congo in 2002 as the result of the signing of a peace agreement, but Rwanda forces fighting Hutu rebels have made incursions into the Congo and Burundi as well. Also in 2002, former president Bizimungu, who had become a critic of the government and established an opposition party, was arrested and charged with engaging in illegal political activity; he was convicted in 2004.

In May, 2003, votes approved a new constitution. In the subsequent presidential election in July, President Paul Kagame faced three Hutu candidates, the most prominent of which was former prime minister Faustin Twagiramungu. The election, the first in which Rwandans could vote for an opposition candidate, was won by Kagame, with 95% of the vote, but some observers accused the government of voting irregularities, and the campaign was marred by continual government interference with opposition rallies. The RPF also won a majority of the elected seats in the Chamber of Deputies in September.


See W. R. Louis, Ruanda-Urundi, 1884–1919 (1963); R. Lemarchand, Rwanda and Burundi (1970); F. Keane, Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey (1996); P. Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (1998); L. Melvern, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide (2000).



Local Time: May 27, 11:03 PM

Local Cities: Kigali

Rwanda (roo-ahn-duh)

Republic in central Africa bordered by Uganda to the north, Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Burundi on the south, and Tanzania on the east. Its capital is Kigali.

  • Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium in 1962.
  • It has long been marked by ethnic strife between majority Hutus and dominant Tutsis. When its president died in a suspicious plane cash in 1994, Hutu militia massacred at least 500,000 Tutsis in an act of genocide.
  • Rwanda

    The international dialing code for Rwanda is:   250



    Background: 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, 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. Despite substantial international assistance and political reforms - including Rwanda's first local elections 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.


    Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Geographic coordinates: 2 00 S, 30 00 E
    Map references: Africa
    Area: total: 26,338 sq km
    water: 1,390 sq km
    land: 24,948 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: 32.43%
    permanent crops: 10.13%
    other: 57.44% (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; widespread poaching
    Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    Geography - note: landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural


    Population: 7,810,056
    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 2003 est.)
    Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.5% (male 1,667,128; female 1,651,422)
    15-64 years: 54.8% (male 2,128,495; female 2,148,694)
    65 years and over: 2.7% (male 85,576; female 128,741) (2003 est.)
    Median age: total: 18.1 years
    male: 17.8 years
    female: 18.3 years (2002)
    Population growth rate: 1.84% (2003 est.)
    Birth rate: 40.1 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
    Death rate: 21.72 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
    Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 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 (2003 est.)
    Infant mortality rate: total: 102.61 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 97.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
    male: 107.66 deaths/1,000 live births
    Life expectancy at birth: total population: 39.33 years
    male: 38.51 years
    female: 40.18 years (2003 est.)
    Total fertility rate: 5.6 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 8.9% (2001 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 500,000 (2001 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deaths: 49,000 (2001 est.)
    Nationality: 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
    Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 70.4%
    male: 76.3%
    female: 64.7% (2003 est.)


    Country name: conventional long form: Rwandese Republic
    conventional short form: Rwanda
    local short form: Rwanda
    former: Ruanda
    local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
    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 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 as Fundamental Law the constitution of 18 June 1991, provisions of the 1993 Arusha peace accord, the July 1994 Declaration by the Rwanda Patriotic Front, 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 (first national popular vote election to be held NA July 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)
    note: four additional seats, two for women and two for youth, added in 2001
    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
    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 (next to be held NA July 2003)
    Judicial branch: Supreme Court; communal courts; appeals courts
    Political parties and leaders: Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Jean-Nipomuscene NAYINZIRA]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [J. Damascene NTAWUKURIRYAYO]; 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 BIZIMUNGU and Charles NTAKARUTINKA]; 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, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
    Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Zac NSENGA
    chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
    Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret K. McMILLION
    embassy: #337 Boulevard de la Revolution, Kigali
    mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
    telephone: [250] 50 56 01 through 03
    FAX: [250] 57 2128
    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


    Economy - overview: Rwanda is a poor 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 foreign exchange earners 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 substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels, although poverty levels are higher now. GDP has rebounded, and inflation has been curbed. Export earnings, however, have been hindered by low beverage prices, depriving the country of much needed hard currency. Attempts to diversify into non-traditional agriculture exports such as flowers and vegetables have been stymied by a lack of adequate transportation infrastructure. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food to be imported. Rwanda continues to receive substantial amounts of aid money and was approved for IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in late 2000. But Kigali's high defense expenditures cause tension between the government and international donors and lending agencies.
    GDP: purchasing power parity - $9 billion (2002 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2002 est.)
    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2002 est.)
    GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 45%
    industry: 20%
    services: 35% (2002 est.)
    Population below poverty line: 60% (2001 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 4.2%
    highest 10%: 24.2% (1985)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index: 28.9 (1985)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.5% (2002 est.)
    Labor force: 4.6 million (2000)
    Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 90%
    Unemployment rate: NA%
    Budget: revenues: $199.3 million
    expenditures: $445 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
    Industries: cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
    Industrial production growth rate: 7% (2001 est.)
    Electricity - production: 96.78 million kWh (2001)
    Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 2.3%
    hydro: 97.7%
    other: 0% (2001)
    nuclear: 0%
    Electricity - consumption: 140 million kWh (2001)
    Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
    Electricity - imports: 50 million kWh (2001)
    Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
    Oil - consumption: 5,300 bbl/day (2001 est.)
    Oil - exports: NA (2001)
    Oil - imports: NA (2001)
    Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (January 2002 est.)
    Natural gas - proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (January 2002 est.)
    Agriculture - products: coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
    Exports: $68 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
    Exports - commodities: coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
    Exports - partners: Germany 17.7%, Pakistan 7.4%, Netherlands 6.7%, Belgium 5.6%, US 5.1% (2000)
    Imports: $253 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
    Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
    Imports - partners: Kenya 22.1%, Belgium 9.0%, US 9.5%, Japan 3.5%, Germany 3.1% (2000)
    Debt - external: $1.3 billion (2000 est.)
    Economic aid - recipient: $372.9 million (1999)
    Currency: Rwandan franc (RWF)
    Currency code: RWF
    Exchange rates: Rwandan francs per US dollar - 475.365 (2002), 442.992 (2001), 389.696 (2000), 333.942 (1999), 312.314 (1998)
    Fiscal year: calendar year


    Telephones - main lines in use: 600,000 note - 90% in Kigali (2002)
    Telephones - mobile cellular: 81,000 (2001)
    note: Rwanda has mobile cellular service between Kigali and several prefecture capitals (2002)
    Telephone system: general assessment: telephone system primarily serves business and government
    domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the prefectures by microwave radio relay and, recently, by cellular telephone service; much 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 (two main FM programs are broadcast through a system of repeaters and the third FM program is a 24 hour BBC program), shortwave 1 (2002)
    Television broadcast stations: NA
    Internet country code: .rw
    Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2002)
    Internet users: 20,000 (2002)


    Railways: 0 km
    Highways: total: 12,000 km
    paved: 1,000 km
    unpaved: 11,000 km (1999)
    Waterways: Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft
    Ports and harbors: Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye
    Airports: 9 (2002)
    Airports - with paved runways: total: 4
    over 3,047 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m: 1 (2002)
    Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m: 3 (2002)


    Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie
    Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,932,637 (2003 est.)
    Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 982,909 (2003 est.)
    Military expenditures - dollar figure: $59.57 million (FY02)
    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3% (FY02)

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces continue fighting in Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda to gain control over populated areas and natural resources - government heads pledge to end conflicts, but localized violence continues despite UN peacekeeping efforts



    Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. It is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. Prior to European colonization, it was the site of one of the region's most complex monarchical systems. Its fertile and hilly terrain supports one of the densest populations in Africa. It is best known to the outside world for the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that resulted in the deaths of up to one million people.

    Repubulika y'u Rwanda
    Republique Rwandaise
    Republic of Rwanda
    Flag of Rwanda Coat of Arms of Rwanda
    (Flag) (Coat of Arms)
    National motto: Liberty, Cooperation, Progress
    National anthem: Rwanda nziza
    Location of Rwanda
    Capital Kigali
    1° 57' S, 30° 4' E
    Largest city Kigali
    Official languages French, Kinyarwanda, English, Swahili
    Prime Minister
    republic; pres. multy-p. syst.
    Paul Kagame
    Bernard Makuza
     - Date
    From Belgium
    July 1, 1962
     - Total
     - Water (%)
    26,338 km² (
     - 2004 est.
     - ? census
    7,954,013 (
    281/km² (
    GDP (PPP)
    2003 est.
     - Per capita
    10,462 (
    1,268 (
    Currency Rwandan franc (RWF)
    Time zone
     - Summer (DST)
    EET (UTC+2)
    not observed (
    Internet TLD .rw
    Calling code +250


    Main article: History of Rwanda

    The earliest known inhabitants of the region now known as Rwanda were the pygmy Twa. At later stages groups known as Hutus and Tutsis also settled in the same region.

    In 1895 Rwanda became a German colony. However at early stages the Germans were completely dependent on the indigenous government. The colonizers favoured Tutsis over Hutus, creating a bigger gap between the two than had existed before. After Germany's loss in World War I, the colony was taken over by Belgium. Belgian rule in the region was far more direct and far harsher than that of the Germans. Belgian forced labour policies were mainly enforced by Tutsis, further polarising the Hutu-Tutsi situation.

    After World War II Rwanda became a UN trust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Through a series of processes, including several reforms, the assassination of King Charles in 1959 and the fleeing of the last Tutsi monarch, King Kigeri V, to Uganda, the Hutu gained more and more power and upon Rwanda's independence in 1962, the Hutu held virtually all power.

    In 1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The military government of Juvénal Habyarimana responded with genocidal programs against Tutsis, whom it claimed were trying to re-enslave the Hutus. Fighting continued until 1992, when the government and the RPF signed a cease-fire agreement known as the Arusha accords in Arusha, Tanzania.

    In 1994, President Habyarimana was assasinated [1] ( his plane was shot down while landing in Kigali, and over the next three months, the military and militia groups killed over 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates in the Rwandan Genocide. The RPF launched another invasion, and captured the northern part of the country by July. The war ended as the French peacekeepers secured the southern part of the country.

    Over 2 million Hutus fled the country after the war, fearing Tutsi retribution. Most have since returned, although some militias remain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and have become involved in that country's civil war.


    Main article: Politics of Rwanda

    After its military victory in July 1994, the Rwandese 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 1993 Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. Habyarimana's National Movement for Democracy and Development was outlawed.

    Political organizing was banned until 2003. The first post-war presidential and legislative elections were held in August and September 2003, respectively.


    Map of Rwanda
    Map of Rwanda

    Rwanda is divided into 12 provinces:

    • Kibungo
    • Kibuye
    • Kigali Rural
    • Kigali City
    • Umutara
    • Ruhengeri


    Main article: Geography of Rwanda

    This small country is located near the centre 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 centre 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. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, and constitute part of the Great Rift Valley. 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.


    A Rwandan market
    A Rwandan market

    Main article: Economy of Rwanda

    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.


    Main article: Demographics of Rwanda

    The population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population, are farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis are a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattleholding. The Twa are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers.


    Main article: Culture of Rwanda

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    Bibliography ^ Top

    Rwanda map and information page by World Atlas. 27 May. 2005 <>.
    Rwanda: Map, History and Much More From 27 May. 2005 <>.