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

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

<p>slightly smaller than Maryland</p>

Land boundaries

total: 930 km

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


0 km (landlocked)

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


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


12,943,132 (July 2021 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


noun: Rwandan(s)

adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic groups

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa (Pygmy)


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.


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.)

This is the population pyramid for Rwanda. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

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.)

Population growth rate

1.8% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

27.18 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

5.95 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

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


urban population: 17.6% of total population (2021)

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

Major urban areas - population

1.170 million KIGALI (capital) (2021)

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: 0.91 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.7 years (2014/15 est.)

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

Maternal mortality ratio

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 27.16 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 29.73 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 24.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.48 years

male: 63.55 years

female: 67.47 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.42 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 92% of population

rural: 76.9% of population

total: 79.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 8% of population

rural: 23.1% of population

total: 20.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 88.4% of population

rural: 79.4% of population

total: 80.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 11.6% of population

rural: 20.6% of population

total: 19.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

2,500 (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

Education expenditures

3.4% of GDP (2020)


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 - 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.)


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.)


urban population: 17.6% of total population (2021)

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

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 3.75% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 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

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.)


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


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)


1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)


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 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


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)

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 16, women 10, percent of women 38.5%

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 26, women 54, percent of women 67.5%; note - total Parliament percent of women 60.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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]
Party Imberakuri or PS-Imberakuri [Christine MUKABUNANI]
Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]
Rwandan Patriotic Front Coalition (includes RPF, PPC) [Paul KAGAME]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]

International organization participation


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:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Peter H. VROOMAN (since 5 April 2018)

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:

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


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 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$28.13 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$25.7 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Real GDP growth rate

6.1% (2017 est.)

6% (2016 est.)

8.9% (2015 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,100 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$2,200 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$2,100 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

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.)

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


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

Labor force

6.227 million (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 75.3%

industry: 6.7%

services: 18% (2012 est.)

Unemployment rate

2.7% (2014 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 20.5%

male: 18.8%

female: 22.4% (2019 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)


revenues: 1.943 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 2.337 billion (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

40.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

37.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

21.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$622 million (2017 est.)

-$1.336 billion (2016 est.)


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

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

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

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


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

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

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.)

Debt - external

$3.258 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.611 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

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.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 53% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 76% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 48% (2019)

Electricity - production

525 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - consumption

527.3 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - exports

4 million kWh (2015 est.)

Electricity - imports

42 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

42% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

51% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

6,628 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 11,671 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2020 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 10,614,408 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81.95 (2020 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: telecom market impacted by energy shortages and instability in neighboring states; government investing in smart city infrastructure; growing economy and foreign aid from South Korea help launch telecom sector, despite widespread poverty; expansion of LTE services; competing operators roll out national fiber optic backbone through connection to submarine cables, ending expensive dependence on satellite; importer of broadcasting equipment from China (2020)

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 76 telephones per 100 persons (2019)

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 downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

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: 4.12 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 21.77% (2019 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 17,685 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2020 est.)


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)


total: 7 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 4,700 km (2012)

paved: 1,207 km (2012)

unpaved: 3,493 km (2012)


(Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2011)

Ports and terminals

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

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Rwanda Defense Force (RDF): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR), Rwanda Reserve Force (2021)

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2020)

1.2% of GDP (2019)

1.2% of GDP (2018)

1.2% of GDP (2017)

1.2% of GDP (2016)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) has approximately 33,000 active personnel (32,000 Army; 1,000 Air Force) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the RDF's inventory includes mostly Soviet-era and older Western - largely French and South African - equipment; Rwanda has received a limited supply of imports since 2010 from a variety of countries, including China, Israel, Russia, and Turkey (2021)

Military deployments

2,250 Central African Republic (approximately 1,500 for MINUSCA; an additional 750 sent bilaterally in August, 2021); 1,000 Mozambique (deployed mid-2021 to assist with combating insurgency); 2,600 South Sudan (UNMISS) (Oct 2021)

Military service age and obligation

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

Military - note

the RDF is widely regarded as one of Africa’s best trained and most capable and professional military forces; as of late 2021, over 5,000 RDF personnel were deployed on missions in the African countries of the Central African Republic, Mozambique, and South Sudan

Transnational Issues

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 (DROC), 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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 77,252 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 47,884 (Burundi) (2021)