Rwanda hillsides.
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Introduction

Background

Rwanda - a small and centralized country dominated by rugged hills and fertile volcanic soil - has exerted disproportionate influence over the African Great Lakes region for centuries. A Rwandan kingdom increasingly dominated the region from the mid-18th century onward, with the Tutsi monarchs gradually extending the power of the royal court into peripheral areas and expanding their borders through military conquest. While the current ethnic labels Hutu and Tutsi predate colonial rule, their flexibility and importance have varied significantly over time. The majority Hutu and minority Tutsi have long shared a common language and culture, and intermarriage was not rare. The Rwandan royal court centered on the Tutsi king (mwami), who relied on an extensive hierarchy of political, cultural, and economic relationships that intertwined Rwanda’s ethnic and social groups. Social categories became more rigid during the reign of RWABUGIRI (1860-1895), who focused on aggressive expansion and solidifying Rwanda’s bureaucratic structures. German colonial rule began in 1898, but Belgian forces captured Rwanda in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations quickly realized the benefits of ruling through the already centralized Rwandan kingdom. Colonial rule reinforced existing trends toward autocratic and exclusionary rule, leading to the elimination of traditional positions of authority for Hutus and a calcification of ethnic identities. Belgian administrators significantly increased requirements for communal labor and instituted harsh taxes, increasing frustration and inequality. Changing political attitudes in Belgium contributed to colonial and Catholic officials shifting their support from Tutsi to Hutu leaders in the years leading up to independence.

Newly mobilized political parties and simmering resentment of minority rule exploded in 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, when Hutus overthrew the Tutsi king. Thousands of Tutsis were killed over the next several years, and some 150,000 were driven into exile in neighboring countries. Army Chief of Staff Juvenal HABYARIMANA seized power in a coup in 1973 and ruled Rwanda as a single-party state for two decades. HABYARIMANA increasingly discriminated against Tutsi and extremist Hutu factions that gained prominence after multiple parties were introduced in the early 1990s. The children of Tutsi exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and began a civil war in 1990. The civil war exacerbated ethnic tensions and culminated in the shooting down of HABYARIMANA’s private jet in April 1994. The event sparked a state-orchestrated genocide in which Rwandans killed approximately 800,000 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 established an RPF-led government of national unity. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003, formalizing President Paul KAGAME’s de facto role as head of government. KAGAME won reelection in 2010, and again in 2017 after changing the constitution to allow him to run for a third term.

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Geography

Location

Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi

Geographic coordinates

2 00 S, 30 00 E

Area

total: 26,338 sq km

land: 24,668 sq km

water: 1,670 sq km

country comparison to the world: 148

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 930 km

border countries (4): Burundi 315 km; Democratic Republic of the Congo 221 km; Tanzania 222 km; Uganda 172 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

highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m

lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m

mean elevation: 1,598 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 74.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 47% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 18% (2018 est.)

other: 7.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

96 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Kivu (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 2,220 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Nile river source (shared with Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Population distribution

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga Mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo

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

Geography - note

landlocked; most of the country is intensively cultivated and rugged with the population predominantly rural

People and Society

Population

13,173,730 (2022 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly taken into account the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic

country comparison to the world: 76

Nationality

noun: Rwandan(s)

adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic groups

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa (Pygmy)

Languages

Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, French (official) <0.1, English (official) <0.1, Swahili/Kiswahili (official, used in commercial centers) <0.1, more than one language, other 6.3%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Inkoranya nzimbuzi y'isi, isoko fatizo y'amakuru y'ibanze. (Kinyarwanda)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Protestant 57.7% (includes Adventist 12.6%), Roman Catholic 38.2%, Muslim 2.1%, other 1% (includes traditional, Jehovah's Witness), none 1.1% (2019-20 est.)

Demographic profile

Rwanda’s fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government’s commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda’s birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families’ ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation.

The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR’s decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Age structure

0-14 years: 39.95% (male 2,564,893/female 2,513,993)

15-24 years: 20.1% (male 1,280,948/female 1,273,853)

25-54 years: 33.06% (male 2,001,629/female 2,201,132)

55-64 years: 4.24% (male 241,462/female 298,163)

65 years and over: 2.65% (male 134,648/female 201,710) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.2

youth dependency ratio: 68.8

elderly dependency ratio: 5.4

potential support ratio: 18.4 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.7 years

male: 18.9 years

female: 20.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Birth rate

26.44 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Death rate

5.86 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Net migration rate

-3.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Population distribution

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 17.7% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.07% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.208 million KIGALI (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.54 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23 years (2019/20 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

248 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Infant mortality rate

total: 26.39 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 28.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.85 years

male: 63.89 years

female: 67.86 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 199

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 92.3% of population

rural: 80.7% of population

total: 82.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 7.7% of population

rural: 19.3% of population

total: 17.3% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.4% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

0.12 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 89.1% of population

rural: 83.2% of population

total: 84.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 10.9% of population

rural: 16.8% of population

total: 15.8% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

animal contact diseases: rabies

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 6.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.23 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.03 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 6 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

Tobacco use

total: 13.7% (2020 est.)

male: 20.1% (2020 est.)

female: 7.2% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 73.2%

male: 77.6%

female: 69.4% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 20.5%

male: 18.8%

female: 22.4% (2019 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; land degradation; soil erosion; a decline in soil fertility (soil exhaustion); wetland degradation and loss of biodiversity; widespread poaching

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 40.75 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1.11 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.92 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

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

Land use

agricultural land: 74.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 47% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 18% (2018 est.)

other: 7.5% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 17.7% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.07% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

animal contact diseases: rabies

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 4,384,969 tons (2016 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Kivu (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 2,220 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Nile river source (shared with Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt [m]) - 6,650 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 61.4 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 20.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 102 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

13.3 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

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

etymology: the name translates as "domain" in the native Kinyarwanda language

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Kigali

geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 03 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the city takes its name from nearby Mount Kigali; the name "Kigali" is composed of the Bantu prefix ki and the Rwandan gali meaning "broad" and likely refers to the broad, sprawling hill that has been dignified with the title of "mount"

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)

Independence

1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest adopted by referendum 26 May 2003, effective 4 June 2003

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic (with Council of Ministers approval) or by two-thirds majority vote of both houses of Parliament; passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote in both houses; changes to constitutional articles on national sovereignty, the presidential term, the form and system of government, and political pluralism also require approval in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2015

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

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Rwanda; if the father is stateless or unknown, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: Prime Minister Edouard NGIRENTE (since 30 August 2017)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); note - a constitutional amendment approved in December 2016 reduced the presidential term from 7 to 5 years but included an exception that allowed President KAGAME to serve another 7-year term in 2017, potentially followed by two additional 5-year terms; election last held on 4 August 2017 (next to be held in August 2024); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Paul KAGAME reelected president; Paul KAGAME (RPF) 98.8%, Philippe MPAYIMANA (independent) 0.7%, Frank HABINEZA (DGPR)0.5%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Senat (26 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum - a body of registered political parties, and 2 selected by institutions of higher learning; members serve 8-year terms)
Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (80 seats; 53 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 24 women selected by special interest groups, and 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 16-18 September 2019 (next to be held in 2027)
Chamber of Deputies - last held on 3 September 2018 (next to be held in September 2023)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 17, women 9, percent of women 34.6%

Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Rwandan Patriotic Front Coalition 40, PSD 5, PL 4, other 4 indirectly elected 27; composition - men 31, women 49, percent of women 54.7%; note - total Parliament percent of women 54.7%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 15 judges; normally organized into 3-judge panels); High Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and a minimum of 24 judges and organized into 5 chambers)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (SCJ), a 27-member body of judges, other judicial officials, and legal professionals) and approved by the Senate; chief and deputy chief justices appointed for 8-year nonrenewable terms; tenure of judges NA; High Court president and vice president appointed by the president of the republic upon approval by the Senate; judges appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice upon approval of the SCJ; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: High Court of the Republic; commercial courts including the High Commercial Court; intermediate courts; primary courts; and military specialized courts


 

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda or DGPR [Frank HABINEZA]
Liberal Party or PL [Donatille MUKABALISA]
Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Dr. Alivera MUKABARAMBA]
Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]
Rwandan Patriotic Front Coalition (includes RPF, PPC) [Paul KAGAME]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]
Social Party Imberakuri or PS-Imberakuri [Christine MUKABUNANI]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mathilde MUKANTABANA (since 18 July 2013)

chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW,  Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882

FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

email address and website:
info@rwandaembassy.org

https://rwandaembassy.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Deb MacLEAN (since February 2022)

embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie (Kaciyiru), P. O. Box 28 Kigali

mailing address: 2210 Kigali Place, Washington DC  20521-2210

telephone: [250] 252 596-400

FAX: [250] 252 580-325

email address and website:
consularkigali@state.gov

https://rw.usembassy.gov/

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 symbol(s)

traditional woven basket with peaked lid; national colors: blue, yellow, green

National anthem

name: "Rwanda nziza" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)

lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA

note: adopted 2001

Economy

Economic overview

Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with agriculture accounting for about 63% of export earnings, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but, with the exception of the capital Kigali, is not concentrated in large cities – its 12 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (smaller than the state of Maryland). Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth.

 

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 well beyond pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 6%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006.

 

The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment. Rwanda consistently ranks well for ease of doing business and transparency.

 

The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies and aims to reach middle-income status by 2020 by leveraging the service industry. In 2012, Rwanda completed 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, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. In 2016, the government launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$27.18 billion (2020 est.)

$28.13 billion (2019 est.)

$25.7 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 141

Real GDP growth rate

6.1% (2017 est.)

6% (2016 est.)

8.9% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Real GDP per capita

$2,100 (2020 est.)

$2,200 (2019 est.)

$2,100 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 212

GDP (official exchange rate)

$9.136 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.3% (2019 est.)

-0.3% (2018 est.)

8.4% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B+ (2014)

Moody's rating: B2 (2016)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2019)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 30.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.6% (2017 est.)

services: 51.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 75.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 18.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -32.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava, potatoes, plantains, beans, maize, gourds, milk, taro

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 75.3%

industry: 6.7%

services: 18% (2012 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 20.5%

male: 18.8%

female: 22.4% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)

Budget

revenues: 1.943 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.337 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

40.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

37.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$622 million (2017 est.)

-$1.336 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Exports

$2.25 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2.04 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 150

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 35%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 28%, Uganda 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, refined petroleum, coffee, tea, tin (2019)

Imports

$3.74 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$3.34 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 151

Imports - partners

China 17%, Kenya 10%, Tanzania 9%, United Arab Emirates 9%, India 7%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, gold, raw sugar, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$997.6 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132

Debt - external

$3.258 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.611 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Exchange rates

Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -

839.1 (2017 est.)

787.25 (2016 est.)

787.25 (2015 est.)

720.54 (2014 est.)

680.95 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 53% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 76% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 48% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 265,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 1,007,300,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 4.5 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 93.96 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 142 million kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 39% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 6.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 53.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 8,300 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 56.634 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

1.189 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 1.189 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Communications

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 10,614,408 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 82 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Rwanda was slow to liberalize the mobile sector; there was effective competition among three operators; the fixed broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices; operators are rolling out national backbone networks which also allow them to connect to the international submarine cables on Africa’s east coast; these cables gave the entire region greater internet bandwidth and ended the dependency on satellites; while the country also has a new cable link with Tanzania, and via Tanzania’s national broadband backbone it has gained connectivity to the networks of several other countries in the region; the number of subscribers on LTE infrastructure has increased sharply, helped by national LTE coverage achieved in mid-2018; mobile remains the dominant platform for voice and data services; the regulator noted that the number of mobile subscribers increased 2.7% in 2021, year-on-year; there was a slight fall in the beginning of 2022 (2022)

domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to provincial centers by microwave radio relay, and recently by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; fixed-line less than 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased to nearly 82 telephones per 100 persons (2020)

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); international submarine fiber-optic cables on the African east coast has brought international bandwidth and lessened the dependency on satellites

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

13 TV stations; 35 radio stations registered, including international broadcasters, government owns most popular TV and radio stations; regional satellite-based TV services available

Internet users

total: 3,497,096 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 27% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 17,685 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,073,528 (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Roadways

total: 4,700 km (2012)

paved: 1,207 km (2012)

unpaved: 3,493 km (2012)

country comparison to the world: 148

Waterways

90 km (2022) (Lake Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft)

country comparison to the world: 112

Ports and terminals

lake port(s): Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye (Lake Kivu)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Rwanda Defense Force (RDF; Ingabo z’u Rwanda): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR), Rwanda Reserve Force, Special Units (2022)

Military expenditures

1.4% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.2% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $220 million)

1.2% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $200 million)

1.2% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $190 million)

country comparison to the world: 101

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 33,000 active RDF personnel (32,000 Army; 1,000 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the RDF's inventory includes mostly Russian, Soviet-era, and older Western - largely French and South African - equipment; since 2010, Russia has been the top supplier (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for men and women for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career (2021)

Military deployments

2,450 (plus about 500 police) Central African Republic (approximately 1,700 for MINUSCA; an additional 750 troops sent separately under a bilateral agreement with CAR in August, 2021); up to 2,000 Mozambique (deployed mid-2021 under a bi-lateral agreement to assist with combating insurgency; includes both military and police forces); 2,600 (plus about 400 police) South Sudan (UNMISS) (2022)

Military - note

since 2021, Rwanda has deployed troops to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to combat the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR); it has also been accused by the DRC Government of providing material support to the March 23 Movement (M23, aka Congolese Revolutionary Army) rebel group, which as of 2022 was fighting with DRC troops and UN peacekeeping forces

the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) were established following independence in 1962; after the 1990-1994 civil war and genocide, the victorious Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front's military wing, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), became the country's military force; the RPA participated in the First (1996-1997) and Second (1998-2003) Congolese Wars; the RPA was renamed the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) in 2003, by which time it had assumed a more national character with the inclusion of many former Hutu officers as well as newly recruited soldiers

the RDF is widely regarded as one of Africa’s best trained and most capable and professional military forces; as of 2022, over 7,000 RDF and police personnel were deployed on missions in Africa (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Rwanda-Burundi: Burundi's Ngozi province and Rwanda's Butare province dispute the two-kilometer-square hilly farmed area of Sabanerwa in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965 around Kibinga Hill in Rwanda's Butare Province

Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):
the 2005 DRC and Rwanda border verification mechanism to stem rebel actions on both sides of the border remains in place

Rwanda-Uganda:
 a joint technical committee established in 2007 to demarcate sections of the border


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 76,465 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 48,369 (Burundi) (2022)

stateless persons: 9,500 (mid-year 2021)