Rwanda facts on every entity in the world

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 established an RPF-led government of national unity. Approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and former Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF did in 1990. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda in 2009 staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in DRC to rout out the Hutu extremist insurgency there, and Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009 and assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.



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

Geographic coordinates

2.00° S, 30.00° E

Area 149/257

total: 26,338 sq km

land: 24,668 sq km

water: 1,670 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 74.5%

arable land 47%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 17.4%

forest: 18%

other: 7.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

96 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

9.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.15 cu km/yr (33%/11%/55%)

per capita: 17.25 cu m/yr (2005)

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

People and Society


noun: Rwandan(s)

adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic groups

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


Kinyarwanda only (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, Kinyarwanda and other language(s) 6.2%, French (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, English (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, Swahili (or Kiswahili, used in commercial centers) 0.02%, other 0.03%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)


Roman Catholic 49.5%, Protestant 39.4% (includes Adventist 12.2% and other Protestant 27.2%), other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 1.8%, animist 0.1%, other 0.6%, none 3.6% (2001), unspecified 0.5% (2002 est.)

Population 74/238


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 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.83% (male 2,670,040/female 2,626,646)

15-24 years: 18.86% (male 1,193,523/female 1,193,953)

25-54 years: 32.72% (male 2,077,406/female 2,065,261)

55-64 years: 4.07% (male 239,924/female 274,829)

65 years and over: 2.53% (male 131,613/female 188,538) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 78.1%

youth dependency ratio: 73.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 5%

potential support ratio: 20.1% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 18.8 years

male: 18.6 years

female: 19 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 22/233

2.56% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 30/224

33.75 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 69/225

8.96 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 66/222

0.85 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 28.8% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 6.43% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

KIGALI (capital) 1.257 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 35/184

290 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 23/224

total: 58.19 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 61.68 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 54.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 199/224

total population: 59.67 years

male: 58.11 years

female: 61.27 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 27/224

4.53 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

51.6% (2010/11)

Health expenditures 18/191

11.1% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking water source


urban: 86.6% of population

rural: 71.9% of population

total: 76.1% of population


urban: 13.4% of population

rural: 28.1% of population

total: 23.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 58.5% of population

rural: 62.9% of population

total: 61.6% of population


urban: 41.5% of population

rural: 37.1% of population

total: 38.4% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

2.82% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

210,500 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,000 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 170/191

3.3% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 63/138

11.7% (2011)

Education expenditures 73/173

5.1% of GDP (2013)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years

male: 10 years

female: 10 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 4.5%

male: 3.6%

female: 5.2% (2012 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 traslates as "domain" in Kinyarwanda

Government type

republic; presidential, multiparty system


name: Kigali

geographic coordinates: 1.57° S, 30.03° 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)


several previous; latest adopted by referendum 26 May 2003, effective 4 June 2003; amended several times, last in 2010 (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 Anastase MUREKEZI (since 24 July 2014)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 9 August 2010 (next to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Paul KAGAME reelected president; Paul KAGAME (RPF) 93.1%, Jean NTAWUKURIRYAYO (PSD) 5.1%, other 1.8%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the 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) and the Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (80 seats; 53 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 24 women elected by special interest groups, and 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - NA; Chamber of Deputies - last held on 16-18 September 2013 (next to be held in 2018)

election results: Chamber of Deputies percent of vote by party - RPF 76.2%, PSD 13%, PL 9.3%, other 1.5%; seats by party - RPF 41, PSD 7, PL 5, 27 members indirectly elected

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 12 judges; normally organized into 3-judge benches)

note: the Gacaca Court was established in 2001 by the National Unity Government to try cases of genocide against the Tutsis

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president of the republic after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (a 14-member body of judges, other judicial officials, and legal professionals), and approved by the Senate; court president and vice president appointed for 8-year nonrenewable terms; tenure of other judges NA

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

Political parties and leaders

Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]

Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Christian MARARA]

Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]

Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]

Political pressure groups and leaders

IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)

International organization participation


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 - overview

Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. 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 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; 39% of the population now lives below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006.

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. In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument (PSI).

The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies. 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 144/230

$20.32 billion (2015 est.)

$19.09 billion (2014 est.)

$17.85 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$8.468 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 21/225

6.5% (2015 est.)

6.9% (2014 est.)

4.7% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 206/230

$1,800 (2015 est.)

$1,700 (2014 est.)

$1,600 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 122/179

14.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

14.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

19.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 73.7%

government consumption: 14.7%

investment in fixed capital: 25.6%

investment in inventories: 0.8%

exports of goods and services: 13.6%

imports of goods and services: -28.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 32.6%

industry: 14.1%

services: 53.3% (2015 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 44/202

4.4% (2015 est.)

Labor force 69/233

6.247 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 90%

industry and services: 10% (2000)

Unemployment rate


Population below poverty line

39.1% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 30/144

46.8 (2000)

28.9 (1985)


revenues: $1.857 billion

expenditures: $2.255 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 145/219

21.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 165/220

-4.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 130/176

33.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

30.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 124/226

2.3% (2015 est.)

1.8% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 40/156

7.75% (31 December 2010)

11.25% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 27/184

17.2% (31 December 2015 est.)

17.25% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 156/192

$845.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$820.3 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 161/193

$1.576 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.407 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 148/191

$1.577 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.261 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 118/197

-$895 million (2015 est.)

-$942 million (2014 est.)

Exports 168/224

$726.1 million (2015 est.)

$719.9 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

coffee, tea, hides, tin ore

Exports - partners

China 18.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 16.1%, Malaysia 10.3%, Thailand 8.6%, US 8.2%, Swaziland 6.4%, Germany 5.8%, Pakistan 5% (2014)

Imports 164/223

$1.913 billion (2015 est.)

$1.984 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

Uganda 15.6%, Kenya 11.8%, India 9.8%, China 8.3%, UAE 8.3%, Tanzania 5%, Belgium 5% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 129/170

$1.028 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.005 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 152/206

$1.778 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.691 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 110/120

$1.198 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.016 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 102/105

$12.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$12.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -

726.9 (2015 est.)

680.95 (2014 est.)

680.95 (2013 est.)

616.6 (2012 est.)

601.83 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 176/220

310.2 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 174/219

365.5 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 93/218

3 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 96/219

80 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 174/214

99,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 172/214

34.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 173/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 33/214

65.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 124/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 184/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 181/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 118/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 183/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 125/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 167/212

5,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 214/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 158/213

5,302 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 122/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 188/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 171/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 126/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 62/212

56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 171/212

769,300 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 163/219

total subscriptions: 49,600

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 98/217

total: 7.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 63 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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

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; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased and now exceeds 40 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) (2010)

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 168/232

1,447 (2012)

Internet users 120/217

total: 1.1 million

percent of population: 9.2% (2014 est.)


Airports 167/236

7 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 153/223

total: 4,700 km

paved: 1,207 km

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 branches

Rwanda Defense Force (RDF): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required, as is a 9th-grade education for enlisted recruits and an A-level certificate for officer candidates; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career; retirement (for officers and senior NCOs) after 20 years of service or at 40-60 years of age (2012)

Military expenditures 91/132

1.12% of GDP (2012)

1.19% of GDP (2011)

1.12% of GDP (2010)

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): 74,409 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2015); 72,027 (Burundi) (2016)

IDPs: undetermined (fighting between government and insurgency in 1998-99; returning refugees) (2012)