Rwanda Politics

Rwanda Politics, Population and Geography

General information: In 1959, three years before independence, Rwanda’s largest ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the then-ruling Tutsi king. Over the next few years, thousands of Tutsis were killed and approximately 150,000 were forced to flee to neighboring countries. Subsequently, the children of these refugees created the Patriotic Front of Rwanda and in 1990 started a civil war. This war, as well as several political upheavals and economic upheavals, escalated the ethnic conflict, culminating in April 1994 when 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in a genuine genocide. Tutsi rebel forces overthrew the Hutu regime and put an end to the killings in July 1994, but an estimated 2 million Hutus, many of whom feared Tutsi revenge, fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, which is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since then, most of the refugees have returned to their homeland. Despite significant international support and political reforms – notably the country’s first local elections in March 1999 – the country has still failed to create an enabling environment for investment, increase agricultural productivity and achieve national reconciliation. Massive displacements of people, persistent subversion by Hutu extremists and the country’s involvement in two wars over the past four years (in neighboring DRC) continue to frustrate Rwanda’s efforts.


Location: Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. See to know more about Rwanda Geography.
Geographic coordinates: 2° 00′ S. latitude, 30° 00′ E
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 26,338 km2; land surface area: 24,948 km2; water surface area: 1,390 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Maryland.
Land borders: total length: 893 km; with neighboring states: with Burundi 290 km, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, with Tanzania 217 km, with Uganda 169 km.
Coastline: 0 km (country is landlocked).
Maritime claims: None (landlocked country).
Climate: moderate; two rainy seasons (February to April and November to January); mild in the mountains, where frosts and snow sometimes occur.
Terrain: mostly grassy uplands and hills; the terrain is mountainous, the height above sea level gradually decreases from west to east.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m; highest point: Karisimbi volcano 4,519 m.
Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 35%; cultivated land: 13%; pastures: 18%; forests and plantations: 22%; others: 12% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 40 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: periodic droughts; volcanic activity on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Current environmental issues: felling trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil degradation and erosion; widespread poaching.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Nuclear test ban. signed but not ratified: Law of the Sea.
Note to the section “Geography”: the country has no access to the sea; dominated by the rural population.


Population: 7,312,756; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 42.4% (male 1,555,878; female 1,544,942); 15 to 64 years: 54.73% (male 1,989,501; female 2,013,012); over 65: 2.87% (male 83,769; female 125,654) (2001 est.);
Population growth: 1.16% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 33.97 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 21.13 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.21 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; under 15: 1.01 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.99 male/female; over 65: 0.67 male/female; for the general population: 0.99 male/female (2001 est.).
Child mortality: 118.92 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 38.99 years; men: 38.35 years; women: 39.65 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 4.89 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 11.21% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 400,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 40,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Rwandan; adjective: Rwandan.
Ethnic groups: Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa (Pygmies) 1%.
Religious: Catholic 52.7%, Protestant 24%, Adventist 10.4%, Muslim 1.9% indigenous and other 6.5%, non-believers 4.5% (1996).
Language(s): Kinyarwanda (official) which is the universal dialect of the Bantu tribes, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in shopping malls.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 48%; men: 52%; women: 45% (1995 est.).


conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda;
conventional short form: Rwanda; local long form: Republika y’u Rwanda; local short form: Rwanda.
State structure: republic; multi-party presidential regime.
Capital: Kigali.
Administrative divisions: 12 prefectures: Butare, Byumba, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibue, Kibungo, Kigali, Kigaliville, Kyangugu, Ruhengeri, Umutara.
Independence: from July 1, 1962 (until 1962 – trusteeship of Belgium under a UN mandate).
National holiday: Independence Day, July 1 (1962).
Constitution: adopted May 5, 1995; The Provisional National Assembly adopted a new constitution, incorporating elements of the 18 June 1991 constitution, as well as the provisions of the 1993 Arusha peace agreement and the provisions of the November 1994 multi-party protocol of understanding.
Legal system: based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court is possible; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal for adults.
chief of state: President Major General Paul KAGAME (FPR) (since 22 April 2000);
head of the government: Prime Minister Bernard MAKUZA (since March 8, 2000);
government: council of ministers appointed by the president; elections: under normal circumstances, the president must be elected by popular vote for a five-year term; early elections for a new president, involving deputies of the National Assembly and members of the Council of Ministers, were held on 17 April 2000 (the next elections are to be held in 2002); the prime minister is appointed by the president; election results: Paul KAGAME was elected president by a special vote of parliamentarians and ministers, with 81 votes out of 86 possible.
Legislature: a unicameral Provisional National Assembly (a 70-member executive-sharing body established on 12 December 1994 following the adoption of a multi-party protocol of understanding; composition was determined by the Arusha peace agreement); elections: last national legislative elections held on 16 December 1988, elected members of the National Development Council (the legislature that preceded the Provisional National Assembly); the members of the Provisional National Assembly were not elected, as its composition was determined by the aforementioned peace agreement; composition: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by parties – FPR 13, MDR 13, PSD13, PL13, PDC6, RPA6, PSR2, PDI 2, UDPR 2; note – the distribution of seats was established by preliminary agreement, in 2001.
Judiciary: Supreme Court; local courts; appellate courts.
Political parties and leaders: Center Democratic Party (PDC) (Jean-Nipomuscene NAYINZIRA); Democratic Socialist Party (PSD) (Charles NIAKIRUTIN-KA, Vincent BIRUTA, Augustin IYAMUREMYE); People’s Democratic Union of Rwanda (UDPR) (Adrien RANGIRA); Democratic Republican Movement (MDR) (Celestin KABANDA, Emile NTWARABAKIGA, Christian MARARA); Islamic Democratic Party (PDI) (Andre BU-MAYA); Liberal Party (PL) (Pie MUGABO, Enock KABERA, Prosper MUGIRANEZA); Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) (Major General Paul KAGAME, Commander); Patriotic Front of Rwanda (FPR) (Major General Paul KAGAME);
Political Influence Groups and Their Leaders: Genocide Survivors’ Association (IBUKA).
Participation in international organizations: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, US, 1OM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic Representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Richard SEZIBERA; office: 1714 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone: [1] (202) 232-2882; fax: [1] (202) 232-4544.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador George M. STAPLES; embassy: Boulevard de la Revolution, Kigali; mailing address: W. R. 28, Kigali; phone: [250] from 756 01 to 756 03.721 26.771 47; fax: [250] 721 28.
Description of the flag: three equal vertical poles of red (hoist side), yellow and green with a large black letter “R” in the center of the yellow stripe; the colors of the flag of Ethiopia, popular throughout Africa, are used; similar to the flag of Guinea, the yellow stripe of which is devoid of decorations.

Rwanda Politics