|R¨¦publique du Rwanda
||Kinyarwanda, French, English
|Form of government
||Presidential multi-party system
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country in
eastern Central Africa and, with an area of 26,338
km², is about the size of Albania. In the north the
country borders on Uganda , in the east on Tanzania , in
the south on Burundi and in the west on the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (until 1997 Zaire).
Rwanda is at an altitude of 1,500 m above sea level
and is characterized by mountainous areas with partially
active volcanoes. In the west of the country lies the
Kiwu Lake in the Central African ditch, which lies at
around 1,460 m and forms part of the border with the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. To the east, the edge
of the ditch rises steeply as a mountain range in which
heights of up to 3,000 m are reached and which forms the
watershed between the Nile and the Congo. The chain of
partially active Virunga volcanoes lies in the northern
area of the moat, this region is considered to be one
of the most earthquake-prone in the world. The Karisimbi
here in northwest Rwanda is the highest point in the
country at 4,507 m.
To the east is the highland of Rwanda, which descends
in steps to heights of around 1,500 m. The plateau is
deeply cut through numerous valleys. In the east of
Rwanda there is an extensive swamp landscape with
several runoff lakes. Here the river Kagera (around
1,250 m above sea level) forms the eastern border with
neighboring Tanzania. Other lakes are Luhondo, Bulera
The capital Kigali is located in the heavily
populated highlands of Rwanda.
Rwanda has a tropical and humid climate, which is
mitigated by the high altitudes. The temperatures in the
lower and middle-lying areas are consistently high all
year round, the values average around 21 ¡ã C. Above
1,800 m the average values drop to around 17 ¡ã C.
Night frost can occur at higher altitudes. There are two
rainy seasons (February-April and November-December),
generally the rainfall decreases from the west to the
east. While up to 2,000 mm are measured in the western
mountain country, the average values in the eastern
part of Rwanda are around 800 to 1,000 mm annually.
Flora and fauna
Due to the different altitudes, the vegetation ranges
from tropical rainforest in the west to dry savannah in
the east. In the mountainous west there is rainforest
that changes into bamboo forests from a height of
approx. 2,500 m. A total of 20% of the country's area is
forested. The central highlands are covered by wet
savannas. The predominant tree species are eucalyptus,
acacia and oil palm. The former dry sparse forests in
the east of the country have been largely cleared of
grass and bushes. In the flooded area of the Kagera
River there is dense papyrus vegetation. Due to the
dense population of Rwanda, large parts of the savannah
landscapes have become cultural land.
12% of the country's area has been declared a
protected area, especially in the two national parks (Kagera
and Park of the Volcanoes) there is a species-rich
wildlife. In the Kagera Park (2,500 km²) there are large
populations of various antelope species, waterbucks and
zebras in addition to elephants. In addition to lions
and leopards, black rhino also live here. In addition to
crocodiles and hippos, numerous bird species can be
found in the swampy floodplains. The mountain gorillas,
which are threatened with extinction, live in the
rainforest on the mountain slopes in western Rwanda.
A total of around 8.44 million people live in Rwanda.
The degree of urbanization is very low at around 6%. By
far the largest city is Kigali with around 605,000
residents. Other cities are Butare (70,000 residents),
Ruhengeri (72,000) and Gitarama (85,000). However, due
to the uncontrolled influx of rural people and the high
number of refugees, the numbers are only estimates. The
average population density in Rwanda is the highest on
the African continent at 343 people per square
According to COUNTRYAAH, 85% of the population of Rwanda belong to the
Hutu Bantu people, the Tutsi (also: Watussi, Hima) have
a share of about 14% of the population. The descendants
of the presumable Rwandan indigenous people, the Pygmy
Twa, make up around one percent of the population.
Official languages are the Bantu language Kinyarwanda
(Rwanda, also spoken by the Tutsi) and French. English
(third official language since 1996) is becoming
increasingly important as a traffic and administrative
language. An estimated 60% of Rwandans are followers of
the Catholic faith, while Protestants account for around
25%. About 7% are Muslims, and traditional religions are
also practiced - sometimes parallel to Christianity.
Medical care for the population is poor. The rate of
people infected with the immune deficiency disease AIDS
is a high 5.1% and continues to rise. The average life
expectancy is 47 years and infant mortality is 9.1%. At
2.4%, the population growth is very high again after a
phase of slowdown.
School attendance is compulsory for children between
the ages of seven and 15, attending school is free of
charge. Around 71% of Rwandans can read and write.
Rwanda has a presidential multi-party system; the
constitution dates from 2003. The head of state is the
president, who has been directly elected by the people
for seven years (since April 2000 Paul Kagame). The
government is led by the Prime Minister (Pierre
Habumuremyi since October 2011), whose cabinet is
appointed by the President.
The legislature lies with the Senate and the Chamber
of Deputies (80 members, for five years; fixed quotas
for the representation of women, youth and people with
disabilities). The 26 senators are elected partly
indirectly by the people, partly by the president and a
party assembly for eight years.
The case law is based on Belgian law and African
Rwanda is divided into five provinces.
Rwanda wants to achieve the status of "middle-income
country" by 2020. The proportion of the population
living below the poverty line has been reduced in recent
years, but is still at 45%. This makes Rwanda one of the
poorest countries in the world. The challenges are
shortages in the power supply and in trained
specialists, high population growth, scarcity of land
and the effects of climate change.
Agriculture contributes a third of the gross domestic
product (GDP). 90% of the population live largely from
subsistence farming. Despite extensive agricultural
land, the population's own food requirements cannot be
met. Coffee and tea are mainly grown for export, and
bananas, beans, corn, millet and sweet potatoes are also
cultivated. Dried chrysanthemum flowers provide the base
material for the insecticide pyrethrum. Livestock
farming is only used to cover their own needs. After the
uncontrolled deforestation of large areas, reforestation
has been carried out since the mid-1990s.
The service sector (financial services, information
technology, insurance, tourism) has now overtaken
agriculture with more than half of GDP.
Rwanda has a poorly developed industry. The existing
companies concentrate on the greater area around the
capital Kigali and mainly process agricultural products.
Shoes, textiles, soap, cement, furniture and cigarettes
are also produced on a small scale. Copper, tin stone,
tungsten, beryllium and gold are mined from mineral
resources. Methane gas is produced in Lake Kiwu. Part of
the country's energy needs are imported from firewood,
and oil and methane gas are imported.
Coffee is Rwanda's most important export, followed by
tea and copper. About two thirds of the exports go to
the countries of the East African Community EAC, about a
quarter to other African countries and 14% to Europe.
The main imports are food, machinery and accessories,
steel and fuels from Kenya, Germany and Belgium.
The main road network in Rwanda is quite well
developed. Almost 1,000 km of a total of around 12,000
km of roads are paved. There is no rail network or
navigable rivers. The capital Kigali is served by
The currency is the Rwandan franc.