RWANDA

Date of establishment: July 1, 1962

Brief history:

  • Pre-colonial period: Rwanda had a rich history before the arrival of European colonists. The country was home to various ethnic groups, including the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Tutsis often had a more prominent social position.
  • Colonization: Belgian colonial authorities took control of Rwanda after World War I under the League of Nations mandate. The Belgian administration introduced a policy of differentiation between Hutus and Tutsi.
  • Independence: Rwanda gained independence from Belgium on July 1, 1962. After independence, a monarchy was established, and Kigeli V became king. It soon transitioned to a republican system.
  • 1960s and 1970s: It faced political and ethnic conflicts between Hutus and Tutsis, resulting in violent persecution and clashes.
  • 1994 Genocide: A horrific genocide took place in Rwanda in April and July 1994, killing an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people, mostly Tutsi. The conflict was based on long-standing ethnic tensions and political problems.
  • End of Genocide: The genocide ended after several months when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame captured the capital Kigali. Paul Kagame became president, and the country began to go through a process of reconstruction and national reconciliation.
  • 21st century: The country experienced economic growth and progress in infrastructure and education. The country also strengthened its international position and became an active member of the African Union.

 

International abbreviation: RW

 

Currency: Rwandan franc RWF

The Rwandan franc is the official currency of Rwanda and is used in all financial transactions in the country. The franc is divided into 100 centimes.

 

Internet domain: .rw

 

Dialing code: +250

 

Time zone: GMT +2

 

Geography:

Rwanda is located in Central Africa. It borders Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.

The landscape is mostly hilly and mountainous. The country lies in the Great Rift Valley region, a geological formation that includes a series of mountains, lakes ,and valleys.

The country is known for its many lakes. The largest and most famous is Kivu, which lies on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other important lakes are Muhazi, Ruhondo and Bulera. The vast rainforests are home to rich biodiversity. Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the last refuges of mountain gorillas in the wild.

 

Highest peak: Karisimbi 4 507 m (14 787 feet) above sea level.

It is part of the Virunga Mountains, located on the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mount Karisimbi is the highest peak of the Virunga Mountains.

The mountain is part of the Virunga volcanic range, which is known for its active volcanoes and beautiful mountain scenery.

 

Climate:

Most of Rwanda has a tropical climate with warmer temperatures during the day and mild temperatures at night throughout the year. It has two main rainy seasons. The long rainy season runs from March to May and the short rainy season runs from October to December. There can be a lot of rainfall during these periods. Dry periods occur in summer and winter, with July and August being the driest months.

Temperatures are affected by altitude. At lower altitudes, including Kigali, temperatures can average around 21-27°C (70-81°F). At higher altitudes, they can drop to 10-15°C (50-59°F).

 

Fauna and flora:

Rwanda is famous for its mountain gorillas, which are an endangered primate species. The Virunga Mountains, which lie on the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are their home. Gorillas can be seen in Volcanoes National Park. Apart from gorillas, there are also other primates like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys. National parks such as Akagera National Park are home to African elephants.

Akagera National Park is also known for its giraffe population. The country has a rich avifauna and is home to many species of birds, including endangered species such as the golden eagle or the brown ibis. It has extensive rainforests, including the Nyungwe Forest National Park, which is home to many rare plant species. Orchids and other exotic species grow in national parks and nature reserves.

 

Agriculture:

The country produces a wide variety of products such as coffee, tea, tobacco, bananas, cassava, potatoes, tea, and beans. Coffee is one of Rwanda’s main exports.

Agriculture is characterized by its many small farms, which are usually family businesses. Farmers often grow crops for their own consumption as well as for sale at local markets.

Because of the hilly landscape, terracing is common, which involves the preparation of slopes into terraces to grow crops. This technique helps fight erosion and increase yields.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Rwanda has reserves of tungsten and tin. These metals are important for the electronics industry, but also for the production of various industrial products. It also has smaller reserves of other ores, including gold, tantalite, and silver.

 

Industry:

The food industry plays a significant role. It includes food processing, including dairy, meat, sugar, and other food products. The government supports the local production of clothing and reduces the import of textile products. The construction industry is growing due to the development of infrastructure, construction of roads, hospitals, and residential buildings.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: tourism

 

Natural and historical attractions: Virunga Mountains, Lake Kibu, Nyungwe Forest and Akagera national parks, and Kigali city

Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains are home to rare mountain gorillas, one of the main attractions for tourists. Gorilla trekking is a popular activity that allows tourists to observe these endangered animals in the wild.

Akagera National Park is the only one in Rwanda where you can experience a safari. The park offers the opportunity to see African wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, and many species of birds. Nyungwe Forest National Park is a vast rainforest that is home to chimpanzees. Rwanda’s Crater Lakes District offers beautiful lakes surrounded by hills.

In addition to natural beauty, you can also discover rich culture and history here. You can visit traditional villages, museums, and historical monuments such as the royal palace in Nyanza.

 

 

Form of government: semi-presidential republic

Rwanda has a president who is the head of state and government. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term and may be re-elected only once.

The government is responsible for the implementation of state policy and the administration of the country. The main components of the government are the president, the prime minister, and the ministers. The prime minister is appointed by the president and is the head of government.

Parliament consists of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies is elected in general elections and has legislative powers. The Senate is composed of members appointed by the president or elected by provincial councils, and senators represent various social and professional groups.

Rwanda has an independent judicial system that includes the Supreme Court, courts of appeal and lower courts.

 

Capital city: Kigali

Kigali is located in the interior of Rwanda, near the country’s central-eastern border. It is surrounded by green hills. In 1994, Kigali and all of Rwanda witnessed the horrors of genocide, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Kigali was one of the places where many crimes were committed. The genocide left a deep and lasting impact on the city and the entire country.

 

Area: 26 338 km2 (10 169 square miles)

 

Population: 13 050 000 (2022)

Rwanda has a diverse ethnic makeup. The Tutsi were historically a privileged group in the Kingdom of Rwanda. The Hutus make up the majority of the population in Rwanda and are the predominant group. The Twa minority are considered indigenous. The official language is Rwandan, which is the language spoken by the majority of the population. Other languages spoken are French and English. The majority of the population practices Christianity. However, there are also smaller Muslim and traditional religious communities.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 2

 

  1. Genocide Memorial Sites: Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi, and Bisesero (2023) – Four memorial sites of the genocide committed against the Tutsi between April and July 1994.
  2. Nyungwe National Park (2023) – A national park with one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, which is rich in biodiversity.

 

National parks: 4

 

  1. Volcanoes National Park
  2. Akagera National Park
  3. Nyungwe National Park
  4. Gishwati-Mukura National Park