Country Summary



A Rwandan kingdom dominated the Great Lakes region from the mid-18th century onward, with Tutsi rulers conquering others militarily and centralizing power. German colonial conquest began in the late 1890s, but the territory was ceded to Belgian forces in 1916 during World War I. Rwandan independence came in 1962. Conflict between Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups continued for decades, including genocide in 1994. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first presidential and legislative elections in 2003.



total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km


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

Natural resources

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

People and Society


13,400,541 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa


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.)


Christian 95.9% (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.)

Population growth rate

1.68% (2023 est.)


Government type

presidential republic


name: Kigali

Executive branch

chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Edouard NGIRENTE (since 30 August 2017)

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)


Economic overview

fast-growing Sub-Saharan economy; major public investments; trade and tourism hit hard by COVID-19; increasing poverty after 2 decades of declines; Ugandan competition for regional influence; major coffee exporter; contested GDP figures

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$30.141 billion (2021 est.)
$27.182 billion (2020 est.)
$28.127 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,200 (2021 est.)
$2,100 (2020 est.)
$2,200 (2019 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


$2.11 billion (2021 est.)
$1.929 billion (2020 est.)
$2.255 billion (2019 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)


$3.856 billion (2021 est.)
$3.578 billion (2020 est.)
$3.737 billion (2019 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)

Exchange rates

Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
988.625 (2021 est.)
943.278 (2020 est.)
899.351 (2019 est.)
861.093 (2018 est.)
831.554 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2024