COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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The Republic of Rwanda is located in Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; in a region called "The Great Lakes" because of the presence of the most important Africa's natural lakes: Victoria, Kivu, George, Albert, Tanganyika, Kyoga and others.

The hilly landscape has earned the country the name of "The land of a thousand hills".

With its temperate climate (mild in mountains with frost and snow possible); grassy uplands and hills, Rwanda is a beautiful country known worldwide for its wildlife - in particular the mountain gorillas living in the volcano areas of Mount Karisimbi 4,519 m

Total area: 26,338 sq. km (land: 24,948 sq. km water: 1,390 sq. km)

Bordering countries: Burundi over 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo over 217 km, Tanzania over 217 km, Uganda over 169 km

Population: 8,129,129 Population (2000); 7,810,056 (July 2003 est.); growth rate: 1.14% (2000); 1.84% (2003 est.) One of the most crowded African country (290 people/sq. km)

Capital: Kigali

Independence from Belgium (United Nations granted controlling mandate): July 1, 1962
National holiday: Independence Day: July 1
Liberation Day: July 4 (1994)
Constitution: on May 5, 1995, the Transitional National Assembly adopted a new constitution which included elements of the constitution of 18 June 1991 as well as provisions of the 1993 Arusha peace accord and the November 1994 multiparty protocol of understanding

Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower.

Agriculture productions: coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock

Industrial productions: cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes Industrial production growth rate: 8.7% (one of the highest in Africa; but the country is just playing catch-up with lost attrition / war years)

Rwanda is a war torn, psychically wounded nation.

A bit of history is necessary to "understand" the social, cultural and political situation prevailing now in that country.

Rwanda was an ancient kingdom dating back to the sixteen century, under the rule of Tutsi kings, which became Germany colony / protectorate in 1907. Belgium took over, in 1916, during the first world war; and administrated the territory of Rwanda-Urundi (Urundi is current Burundi) till the independence of Rwanda and Burundi in 1962.

Three years before independence, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus - 85% of the population - overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Thousands of Tutsis were killed; some 150,000 fleeing into exile in neighboring countries: Uganda, Congo-Kinshasa, Tanzania).

The emigrants' children to Uganda played - between 1982-1986 - an important role in helping Yoweri Museveni grasping state power in Uganda. In 1986, when Museveni achieved his ambition and became Uganda's president, some of these people were rewarded with decision making positions in Uganda state's machine. That position of power helps them later in structuring a rebel group: "The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) " which engineered a civil war - in 1990 - on Rwanda's Northern region.

The civil war aggravated ethnic tensions between Tutsis and Hutus.

On June 6, 1994, Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi (both ethnic Hutu) were killed; their plane was shot down - few minutes before landing at Kigali's airport. They were returning from a peace-talk session in Arusha - Tanzania. That tragic event immediately triggered a wave of ethnic violence, a genocide - the worst ever in Africa - in which roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Click here for The Path of Genocide / The Rwandan Crisis From Uganda to Zaire.

The Tutsi rebels won the civil war in July 1994. Approximately 2 million Hutu fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo (Click here and choose a country to review countries' briefs). End of 1996 most of the refugees returned to Rwanda. Except the so-called "Hutus rebels / extremists" who keep on skirmishing - alongside Rwanda - Congo-Kinshasa - Burundi borders and inside Rwanda's territory - against Rwanda's national army.

On July 30, 2000 Congo's. Kabila and Rwanda's Kagame signed a peace agreement, which finality is structured as follows:

1 - The pull-out of Rwandan invading troops from the eastern territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, within a period of 90 days
2 - Together with the disarmament of the Hutu guerillas / activists established on said territory;
3 - Followed by 30 days of inspection by the international community.

And on October 5, 2002, Rwanda completed the pull out of the last of its soldiers from the eastern region of the Democratic Republic Of The Congo. Click here for more.

However, since April / May 2004 there are still some attacks of Hutu "rebels" inside Rwanda from Congo's Kivu region. Rwanda's authorities are threathening to send back Rwanda Army to the Democratic Republic of the Congo if said attacks are not quelled by Congo. Click here fore the latest about Rwanda / Congo events

The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base. Agriculture production was severely disrupted and the rural population further impoverished (90 % of the total of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture) .

The government is doing its best to reestablish law and order; to boost investment and agricultural output. The end of Congo "military adventure" is doubtless a welcome event and asset. Twenty three percent of the national budget was allocated to military expenses that could now be diverted to productive economic activities unless the persisting problem of political battle between the Tutsi led government of Kigali and the so-called "extremists" Hutu leads to the resumption of war in Eastern Congo.

Indeed, adamant Hutu rebels, ready to match Kagame's Tutsi led government uncompromising / defiant political attitude and actions, will continue to hinder Rwanda's economic development efforts if the reconciliation process collapses.

Click here to visit Rwanda's Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning

Click here for dynamic news headlines on Rwanda.


1- D&B Export Guide to Rwanda
Digital Delivery In PDF by D&B
2- Violence Through Environmental Discrimination
by Gunther Baechler
3- Agents of Altruism
Expansion of Humanitarian Non Governmental Organizations by Katarina West
4- Re-Imagining Rwanda
Conflict, Survival and Desinformation In The Late 20th Century by Johan Pottier
5- The Great Lakes of Africa
Two Thousand Years of History
Jean-Pierre Chretien
6- The Cohesion of Oppression
by Catharine Newsburry
7- Race and Ethnicity In East Africa
by Peter G. Foster
8- Bureaucratizing The Good Samaritans
The Limitations of Humanitarian Relief Operations / by Tony Waters
9- Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa
Conflict Roots, Mass Violence and Regional War by Christian P. Scherrer
10- Mountain Gorillas
Three Deades of Research at Karisobe / by Martha M. Robbins
11- Leave None To Tell The Story
Genecide In Rwanda by Allison Liechafsky
12- More News On Rwanda
by Yahoo! Update

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



GNP: purchasing power parity:
US$ 2.37 billion (2000); 2.5 billion (2001); 2.62 billion (2002); .2.87 billion (2003)
GNP-real growth rate: 5.4% (2000); 5% (2001); 9.7% (2002); 5% (2003)
GNP-per capita: US$ 292 (2000); 368 (2003)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 45%

  2. industry: 20%
  3. services: 35%

Exports: US$ 68.4 million (f.o.b. 2000); 68 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: coffee, tea, hides, tin ore.
Exports - partners: Brazil, Belgium, Pakistan, Spain, Kenya, Indonesia 30.8%, Germany 14.6%, Hong Kong 9%, South Africa 5.5% (2002)

Imports: US$ 245.9 million (f.o.b. 2000); 253 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material.
Imports - partners: Imports - partners: Kenya 21.8%, Germany 8.4%, Belgium 7.9%, Israel 4.3% (2002)




A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required.

Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days.

There are no limits to the import and export of foreign currency, but it must be declared on arrival. Only Frw 5000 (click here for equivalence) can be imported and/or exported.

Detailed entry information may be obtained from the nearest Rwandan embassy or consulate.

Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN)
B.P. 905
Tel: +(250) 76515 through 7 / 76514 Fax: +(205) 76512
Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda
121 Sherwood Drive
Ontario K1Y 3V1
Tel: +(1) 613 722 5835
Fax: +(1) 613 722 4052
Click here
Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda
1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W Washington D.C. 20009
+( 202) 232 2882
Fax: +(202) 232 4544
Click here
Website URL:
Click here
Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda
58-59 Trafalgar Square
London, WC2N 5DX
Tel: +(44) 171 9302570
Fax: +(44) 171 9302572


The country international airport is located in the Capital-City: Kigali. It is serviced by many international air-carriers: Alliance Express, Sabena, Ethiopia Airways, Kenya Airways, Cameroon Airlines, Uganda Airlines etc.

Waterways: Lake Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft Ports and harbors: Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye

All imports / exports are made through the ports of Mombassa (Kenya) and routed via Uganda (1760 km) by road; Dar El Salaam (Tanzania) and routed over 1528 km by road.

Click here for the website of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Privatization Secretariat
Executive Secretary
BP 158
Click here
Tel: +(250) 75383 / 70989 / 70991 /70992
Fax: +(250) 75384
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
B.P. 319
Tel: +(250) 83538 / 83541
Fax: +(250) 83532
Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system

Most of hotels of international standard are located in the Capital-City: Kigali.

For more on accommodation you may contact the Office of Tourism and National Parks below listed.

Baobab Hotel
B.P. 1406
Kigali Rwanda
Tel:+ (250) 75633 / 73281
Office of Tourism and National Parks
B.P. 905
Tel: +(250) 76515 through 7 / 76514
Fax: +(205) 76512
Hotel des Diplomates
B.P. 269
Tel: +(250) 75111
Fax: +(250) 75365
Hotel des Mille Collines
B.P. 1322
Tel: +(250) 76530
Fax: +(250) 76541
Guest House Ituze Kacyiru
B.P. 2797
Tel: (250) 84289
Fax: (250) 84289
Hotel Chez Lando Remera
B.P. 1519
Tel: +(250) 82050 / 84328
Fax: +(250) 84380

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