We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!


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 (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 state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed up to a million of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population. The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and... See More



 Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic Coordinates:

 2 00 S, 30 00 E


 Total: 26,338 sq km
Land: 24,668 sq km
Water: 1,670 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


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 234)

Maritime Claims:

 None (landlocked)


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


 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: 45.56%
Permanent crops: 10.25%
Other: 44.19% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 90 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 5.2 cu km (2003)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.15 cu km/yr (24%/8%/68%)
Per capita: 17 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo

Volcanism: Visoke (elev. 3,711 m), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country's only historically active volcano

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - Note:

 Landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural

Back to the Top



 Noun: Rwandan(s)
Adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic Groups:

 Hutu (Bantu) 84%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%


 Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular), French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili, used in commercial centers)


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


 11,370,425 (July 2011 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 42.9% (male 2,454,924/female 2,418,504)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 3,097,956/female 3,123,910)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 110,218/female 164,913) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.7 years
Male: 18.5 years
Female: 19 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.792% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 36.74 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 9.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 1.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 19% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 4.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 KIGALI (capital) 909,000 (2009)

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: 0.67 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 540 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 64.04 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 67.64 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 60.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 58.02 years
Male: 56.57 years
Female: 59.52 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.9 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.024 physicians/1,000 population (2005)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 77% of population
Rural: 62% of population
Total: 65% of population
Urban: 23% of population
Rural: 38% of population
Total: 35% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 50% of population
Rural: 55% of population
Total: 54% of population
Urban: 50% of population
Rural: 45% of population
Total: 46% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 2.9% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 170,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 4,100 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 18% (2005)

Education Expenditures:

 4.1% of GDP (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 70.4%
Male: 76.3%
Female: 64.7% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2009)

People - Note:

 Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa

Back to the Top


Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda
Conventional short form: Rwanda
Local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
Local short form: Rwanda
Former: Ruanda, German East Africa

Government Type:

 Republic; presidential, multiparty system


 Name: Kigali
Geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 04 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 4 provinces (in French - provinces, singular - province; in Kinyarwanda - intara for singular and plural) and 1 city* (in French - ville; in Kinyarwanda - umujyi); Est (Eastern), Kigali*, Nord (Northern), Ouest (Western), Sud (Southern)


 1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 1 July (1962)


 New constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of civil law, based on German and Belgian models, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)

Head of government: Prime Minister Pierre Damien HABUMUREMYI (since 7 October 2011)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

Elections: President elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 9 August 2010 (next to be held in 2017)

Election results: Paul KAGAME elected to a second term as president; Paul KAGAME 93.1%, Jean NTAWUKURIRYAYO 5.1%, Prosper HIGIRO 1.4%, Alvera MUKABAR 0.4%

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (26 seats; 12 members elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum, 2 represent institutions of higher learning; members to serve eight-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members to serve five-year terms)

Elections: Senate - NA; Chamber of Deputies - last held on 15 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party - RPF 78.8%, PSD 13.1%, PL 7.5%; seats by party - RPF 42, PSD 7, PL 4, additional 27 members indirectly elected

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Agnes MUKABARANGA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [Gonzague RWIGEMA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA] (officially banned); Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Musa Fazil HARERIMANA]; Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned); Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Alvera MUKABARAMBA]; Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]; Rwandan Socialist Party or PSR [Jean Baptist RUCIBIGANGO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]; Socialist Party-Imberakuri or PS-Imberakuri [Christine MUKABUNANI]; Solidarity and Prosperity Party or PSP [Pheobe KANYANGE]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador James KIMONYO
Chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
Telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Donald W. KORAN
Embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, Kigali
Mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
Telephone: [250] 596-400
FAX: [250] 596-591

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; blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources; the sun symbolizes unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance

National Anthem:

 Name: "Rwanda nziza" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
Lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA

Note: adopted 2001

Back to the Top


Economy - Overview:

 Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism is now Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner and in 2008, minerals overtook coffee and tea as Rwanda's primary export. Minerals exports declined 40% in 2009-10 due to the global economic downturn. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled 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. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 7-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. Nonetheless, a significant percent of the population still live below the official poverty line. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Agricultural production has increased significantly over the last three years and last year Rwanda was self sufficient in food production. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument (PSI). Rwanda also received a Millennium Challenge Threshold Program in 2008. Africa's most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade. Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth. The Rwandan government is seeking to become regional leader in information and communication technologies. In 2010, Rwanda neared completion of the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications technologies, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. The global downturn hurt export demand and tourism, but economic growth is recovering, driven in large part by the services sector, and inflation has been contained. On the back of this growth, government is gradually ending its fiscal stimulus policy while protecting aid to the poor.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $12.16 billion (2010 est.)
$11.42 billion (2009 est.)
$10.97 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $5.622 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 6.5% (2010 est.)
4.1% (2009 est.)
11.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,100 (2010 est.)
$1,100 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 33.6%
Industry: 14.3%
Services: 52.1% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 4.446 million (2007)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 90%
Industry and services: 10% (2000)

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:

 60% (2001 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.1%
Highest 10%: 38.2% (2000)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 46.8 (2000)
28.9 (1985)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 46,272 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 4,400 (Burundi) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 22.1% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $1.449 billion
Expenditures: $1.471 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 25.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -0.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.3% (2010 est.)
10.4% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 7.75% (31 December 2010 est.)
11.25% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 16% (31 December 2010 est.)
16% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $233.6 million (31 December 2005)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $227.4 million (31 December 2005)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $540.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$512.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $1.243 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.068 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $538.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$490.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock


 Cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 7.5% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 160 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 2.3%
Hydro: 97.7%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 236.8 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 2 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 88 million kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 6,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 5,105 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$629.3 million (2010 est.)
-$379 million (2009 est.)


 $234.2 million (2010 est.)
$193 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Coffee, tea, hides, tin ore

Exports - Partners:

 Kenya 36.6%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 14.7%, China 9.1%, Swaziland 5.9%, US 5.3%, Pakistan 4.6% (2010)


 $1.121 billion (2010 est.)
$961 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material

Imports - Partners:

 Kenya 19.6%, Uganda 17.7%, UAE 8.4%, Tanzania 5.7%, China 5.3% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $812.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$742.7 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $NA (31 December 2010 est.)
$747 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Rwanda Franc to Any Currency

Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
586.25 (2010)
568.18 (2009)
550 (2008)
585 (2007)
560 (2006)

Back to the Top


Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 39,700 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 3.549 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: small, inadequate telephone system primarily serves business, education, and government

Domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the provinces by microwave radio relay and, recently, by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased to about 25 telephones per 100 persons

International: country code - 250; 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)

Broadcast Media:

 Government owns and operates the only TV station; government-owned and operated Radio Rwanda has a national reach; 9 private radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 0, FM 10 (two main FM programs are broadcast through a system of repeaters; international FM programming includes the BBC, VOA, and Deutchewelle) (2007)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 2 (2004)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 815 (2010)

Internet Users:

 450,000 (2009)

Back to the Top



 9 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 4
Over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 3 (2010)


 Total: 14,008 km
Paved: 2,662 km
Unpaved: 11,346 km (2004)


 (Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2009)

Ports and Terminals:

 Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye

Back to the Top


Military Branches:

 Rwandan Defense Force (RDF): Rwandan Army (Rwandan Land Force), Rwandan Air Force (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship required (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 2,625,917
Females age 16-49: 2,608,110 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,685,066
Females age 16-49: 1,749,580 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 110,736
Female: 110,328 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 2.9% of GDP (2006 est.)

Back to the Top


Disputes - International:

 Burundi and Rwanda dispute two sq km (0.8 sq mi) of Sabanerwa, a farmed area in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965; fighting among ethnic groups - loosely associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces in Great Lakes region transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda - abated substantially from a decade ago due largely to UN peacekeeping, international mediation, and efforts by local governments to create civil societies; nonetheless, 57,000 Rwandan refugees still reside in 21 African states, including Zambia, Gabon, and 20,000 who fled to Burundi in 2005 and 2006 to escape drought and recriminations from traditional courts investigating the 1994 massacres; the 2005 DROC and Rwanda border verification mechanism to stem rebel actions on both sides of the border remains in place

Back to the Top

Last Updated: December 2011

Rwanda Main Page World Factbook Main Page


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(RF) Rwanda Franc (RWF)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map