Facts about Rwanda

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Rwanda CoffeeIn 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 the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and 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 tried in 1990. Despite substantial international assistance and political reforms - including Rwanda's first local elections in March 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003 - the country continues to struggle to boost investment and agricultural output, and ethnic reconciliation is complicated by the real and perceived Tutsi political dominance. Kigali's increasing centralization and intolerance of dissent, the nagging Hutu extremist insurgency across the border, and Rwandan involvement in two wars in recent years in the neighboring DRC continue to hinder Rwanda's efforts to escape its bloody legacy.

Geography of Rwanda

Location:
Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coordinates:
2 00 S, 30 00 E
Area:
total: 26,338 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
land: 24,948 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 893 km
border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km
Coastline:
0 km (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 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
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
Environment current issues:
deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
Geography - note:
landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural

Population of Rwanda

Population:
10,186,063 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.9% (male 1,817,998/female 1,802,134)
15-64 years: 55.6% (male 2,392,778/female 2,417,467)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 87,325/female 130,546)
Median age:
18.6 years
Growth rate:
2.43%
Infant mortality:
89.61 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.3 years
male: 46.26 years
female: 48.38 years
Fertility rate:
5.43 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
Ethnic groups:
Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa (Pygmoid) 1%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7%
Languages:
Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
female: 64.7% 
male: 76.3%
total population: 70.4%
People - note:
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Rwandese Republic
local short form: Rwanda
former: Ruanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
Government type:
republic; presidential, multiparty system
Capital:
Kigali
Administrative divisions:
12 prefectures (in French - prefectures, singular - prefecture; in Kinyarwanda - plural - NA, singular - prefegitura); Butare, Byumba, Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Kibuye, Kigali Rurale, Kigali-ville, Umutara, Ruhengeri
Independence:
1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
Constitution:
new constitution adopted 4 June 2003
Legal system:
based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal adult
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Bernard MAKUZA (since 8 March 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: President elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term).
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (26 seats; 12 members elected local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 by the Political Organizations Forum, 2 represent institutions of higher learning, to serve eight-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations, to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees

Economy

Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and is landlocked with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary foreign exchange earners are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and eroded 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, although poverty levels are higher now. GDP has rebounded and inflation has been curbed. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Rwanda also received Millennium Challenge Account Threshold status in 2006. 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, although energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap growth.

GDP:
$8.057 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
5.2%
GDP per capita:
$1,500
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 40.1%
industry: 22.9%
services: 37%
Inflation rate:
8%
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 90%
Budget:
revenues: $509.9 million
expenditures: $584.6 million 
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.3%
hydro: 97.7%
other: 0% 
Industries:
cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
Agriculture:
coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
Exports:
coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
Export partners:
Indonesia 63.9%, Germany 3.6%, China 2.3% 
Imports:
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
Import partners:
Kenya 24.6%, Uganda 6.4%, Germany 5.6%, Belgium 5.4% 
Currency:
Rwandan franc (RWF)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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