[Country map of Rwanda]



Location: Central Africa, east of Zaire

Map references: Africa

total area: 26,340 sq km
land area: 24,950 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries: total 893 km, Burundi 290 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km, Zaire 217 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: none

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

Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), natural gas, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 29%
permanent crops: 11%
meadows and pastures: 18%
forest and woodland: 10%
other: 32%

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion
natural hazards: periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Zaire
international agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea

Note: landlocked; predominantly rural population


Population: 8,605,307 (July 1995 est.)
note: the demographic estimates were prepared before civil strife, starting in April 1994, set in motion substantial and continuing population changes

Age structure:
0-14 years: 51% (female 2,184,549; male 2,201,049)
15-64 years: 47% (female 2,034,278; male 1,968,298)
65 years and over: 2% (female 126,255; male 90,878) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.67% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 48.52 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 21.82 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)
note: since April 1994, more than one million refugees have fled the civil strife between the Hutu and Tutsi factions in Rwanda and crossed into Zaire, Burundi, and Tanzania; close to 350,000 Rwandan Tutsis who fled civil strife in earlier years are returning to Rwanda and a few of the recent Hutu refugees are going home despite the danger of doing so; the ethnic violence continues and in 1995 could produce further refugee flows as well as deter returns

Infant mortality rate: 118.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 39.33 years
male: 38.5 years
female: 40.19 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 8.12 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic divisions: Hutu 90%, Tutsi 9%, Twa (Pygmoid) 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 65%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 1%, indigenous beliefs and other 25%

Languages: Kinyarwanda (official), French (official), Kiswahili used in commercial centers

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 50%
male: 64%
female: 37%

Labor force: 3.6 million
by occupation: agriculture 93%, government and services 5%, industry and commerce 2%


conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda
conventional short form: Rwanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
local short form: Rwanda

Digraph: RW

Type: republic; presidential system
note: after genocide and civil war in April 1994, the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front, in July 1994, took power and formed a new government

Capital: Kigali

Administrative divisions: 10 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture in French; plural - NA, singular - prefegitura in Kinyarwanda); Butare, Byumba, Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Kibuye, Kigali, Ruhengeri

Independence: 1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution: 18 June 1991

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: NA years of age; universal adult

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pasteur BIZIMUNGU (since 19 July 1994); took office following the siezure of the government by the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front and the exiling of interim President Dr. Theodore SINDIKUBWABO; no future election dates have been set
head of government: Prime Minister Faustin TWAGIRAMUNGU (since the siezure of power by the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front in July 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Development Council: (Conseil National de Developpement) elections last held 19 December 1988 (next to be held NA 1995); results - MRND was the only party; seats - (70 total) MRND 70

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court consists of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State in joint session

Political parties and leaders: Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Alexis KANYARENGWE, Chairman; National Revolutionary Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND); significant independent parties include: Democratic Republican Movement (MDR); Liberal Party (PL); Democratic and Socialist Party (PSD); Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR); Party for Democracy in Rwanda (PADER); Christian Democratic Party (PDL)
note: formerly a one-party state, Rwanda legalized independent parties in mid-1991

Other political or pressure groups: Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), the RPF military wing, Maj. Gen. Paul KAGAME, commander;


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires ad interim Joseph W. MUTABOBA
chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

US diplomatic representation:
note: US Embassy closed indefinitely
chief of mission: Ambassador David P. RAWSON
embassy: Boulevard de la Revolution, Kigali
mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
telephone: [250] 756 01 through 03
FAX: [250] 721 28

Flag: three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green with a large black letter R centered in the yellow band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Guinea, which has a plain yellow band


Overview: Rwanda is a poor African nation suffering bitterly from ethnic-based civil war. Almost 50% of GDP comes from the agricultural sector; coffee and tea make up 80%-90% of total exports. The amount of fertile land is limited, however, and deforestation and soil erosion continue to create problems. The industrial sector in Rwanda is small, contributing only 17% to GDP. Manufacturing focuses mainly on the processing of agricultural products. The Rwandan economy remains dependent on coffee/tea exports and foreign aid. Weak international prices since 1986 have caused the economy to contract and per capita GDP to decline. A structural adjustment program with the World Bank began in October 1990. Ethnic-based insurgency since 1990 has devastated wide areas, especially in the north, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. A peace accord in mid-1993 temporarily ended most of the fighting, but massive resumption of civil warfare in April 1994 in the capital city Kigali and elsewhere has been taking thousands of lives and severely affecting short-term economic prospects. The economy suffers massively from failure to maintain the infrastructure, looting, neglect of important cash crops, and lack of health care facilities.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $7.9 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: -8% (1993 est.)

National product per capita: $950 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $350 million
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (1992 est.)

Exports: $44 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: coffee 63%, tea, cassiterite, wolframite, pyrethrum
partners: Germany, Belgium, Italy, Uganda, UK, France, US

Imports: $250 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: textiles, foodstuffs, machines and equipment, capital goods, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
partners: US, Belgium, Germany, Kenya, Japan

External debt: $873 million (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -2.2% (1991); accounts for 17% of GDP

capacity: 60,000 kW
production: 190 million kWh
consumption per capita: 23 kWh (1993)

Industries: mining of cassiterite (tin ore) and wolframite (tungsten ore), tin, cement, agricultural processing, small-scale beverage production, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes

Agriculture: cash crops - coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums); main food crops - bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; stock raising

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $128 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $2 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $45 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $58 million
note: in October 1990 Rwanda launched a Structural Adjustment Program with the IMF; since September 1991, the EC has given $46 million and the US $25 million in support of this program (1993)

Currency: 1 Rwandan franc (RF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Rwandan francs (RF) per US$1 - 144.3 (3rd quarter 1994), 144.25 (1993), 133.35 (1992), 125.14 (1991), 82.60 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 4,885 km
paved: 880 km
unpaved: gravel, sand and gravel 1,305 km; unimproved earth 2,700 km

Inland waterways: Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft

Ports: Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye

total: 7
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2
with paved runways under 914 m: 3
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1


Telephone system: NA telephones; telephone system does not provide service to the general public but is intended for business and government use
local: NA
intercity: the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the prefectures by microwave radio relay; the remainder of the network depends on wire and high frequency radio
international: international connections employ microwave radio relay to neighboring countries and satellite communications to more distant countries; 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) and 1 SYMPHONIE earth station in Kigali (includes telex and telefax service)

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Gendarmerie

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 1,792,326; males fit for military service 913,711 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $112.5 million, 7% of GDP (1992)