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Info Africa - RWANDA

Rwanda is a landlocked country in Eastern Africa. It shares a border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Rwanda was part of German East Africa until 1919 when German lost all of its African colonies. Under the United Nations trusteeship, Rwanda was administered by Belgium until 1962 when it was granted full independence. The worst genocide in Africa occurred in Rwanda between April and June 1994 as a result of the ethnic conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus. Rwanda is still recovering from this disastrous event, politically, socially and economically. Rwanda's capital, Kigali, is the country’s most important business centre and main port of entry .

The city has a vibrant market with countless souvenir stands where one can buy different kinds of local crafts. Butare (Huye) is another important part of Rwanda. It has an outstanding National Museum that contains material that provides an insight into the pre-colonial times. The Royal Palace in Nyanza used to be the seat of Rwanda’s monarchy. This palace has been restored to its 19th century state and is now kept as a museum. Rwanda is known for its rich music and dance tradition.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Rwanda's Flag

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

Nationality: Rwandan

Capital: Kigali

Population: 8,648,248 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 41.9%
  • 15-64 years: 55.6%
  • 65 years and over: 2.5% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.43% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 70.4% of the population is literate (male: 76.3%, female: 64.7%) (2003 est.)

Major 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

Quick Facts
  • total: 26,338 sq km
  • land: 24,948 sq km
  • water: 1,390 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Nova Scotia

Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land

Environmental Issues: deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching


Nearly 90% of Rwandans are engaged in agriculture. It is a poor rural country, with a few natural resources and minimal industry. Rwanda’s main foreign exchange earners are coffee and tea. The unforgettable 1994 genocide not only impoverished the people of Rwanda, but it also destroyed Rwanda’s delicate economy. The genocide also damaged Rwanda’s ability to attract private and external investment. Since the genocide, Rwanda has been working hard to stabilize and rehabilitate its economy. Rwanda needs to import food because its food production is not keeping pace with its population growth. It received aid money and has also received an IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005. The inadequate transportation linkages between Rwanda and other countries harm Rwanda’s export growth. Tension between the government and international donors and leading agencies exists because of Kigali’s high defense and expenditures.

Major industries:

  • cement
  • agricultural products
  • small-scale beverages
  • soap
  • furniture
  • shoes
  • plastic goods
  • textiles
  • cigarettes

Agricultural products:

  • coffee
  • tea
  • pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums)
  • bananas
  • beans
  • sorghum
  • potatoes
  • livestock

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 12,000 km (paved: 996 km, unpaved: 11,004 km)

Currency: Rwandan franc


Telephone lines in use: 23,200 (2002)

Cellular lines in use: 138,700 (2004)

Television Stations: 2 (2004)

Radio Stations: AM 0, FM 8 (two main FM programs are broadcast through a system of repeaters, three international FM programs include the BBC, VOA, and Deutchewelle), shortwave 1 (2005)

Internet users: 38,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 5.1% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 250,000 (2003 est.)

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