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In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in a state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed up to a million of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population.

The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and established an RPF-led government of national unity. Approximately 2 million Hutu refugees – many fearing Tutsi retribution – fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and former Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF did in 1990.

Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda in 2009 staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in DRC to rout out the Hutu extremist insurgency there, and Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009 and assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing. Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange.

The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda’s fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 7%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. Nonetheless, a significant percent of the population still live below the official poverty line; 45% of the population now lives below the poverty line, compared to 57% in 2006. Despite Rwanda’s fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports In recognition of Rwanda’s successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument (PSI). Africa’s most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade; Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners.

The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth. The Rwandan Government is seeking to become regional leader in information and communication technologies.

In 2012, Rwanda completed the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications technologies, trade and logistics, mining, and construction.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$18.7 billion (2014 est.)
$17.65 billion (2013 est.)
$16.86 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
* country comparison to the world: 144

GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.002 billion (2014 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
6% (2014 est.)
4.7% (2013 est.)
8.8% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 34

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,700 (2014 est.)
$1,600 (2013 est.)
$1,600 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
* country comparison to the world: 211

Gross national saving:
11.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
16.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
12.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 140

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 82.6%
government consumption: 9.6%
investment in fixed capital: 24.2%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 17%
imports of goods and services: -33.5%
(2014 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 32.5%
industry: 14.8%
services: 52.7%
(2014 est.)

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

cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes

Industrial production growth rate:
7.1% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 28

Labor force:
6.061 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 68

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10%
(2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:
44.9% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
46.8 (2000)
28.9 (1985)
* country comparison to the world: 28

revenues: $1.953 billion
expenditures: $2.249 billion
(2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
24.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 121

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-3.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 133

Public debt:
31.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
29.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 121

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.4% (2014 est.)
4.2% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
7.75% (31 December 2010)
11.25% (31 December 2008)
* country comparison to the world: 39

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17.2% (31 December 2014 est.)
17.3% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 27

Stock of narrow money:
$833 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$739.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 155

Stock of broad money:
$1.387 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.245 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 163

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.141 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$846.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 155

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:
-$663.1 million (2014 est.)
-$562 million (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 108

$720 million (2014 est.)
$703 million (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 168

Exports – partners:
China 24.2%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 17%, Malaysia 13.4%, Swaziland 6.8%, US 5.5%, Pakistan 5.3% (2013)

Exports – commodities:
coffee, tea, hides, tin ore

$1.898 billion (2014 est.)
$1.852 billion (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 168

Imports – commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material

Imports – partners:
Uganda 15.9%, Kenya 15.2%, China 10.4%, UAE 8.6%, India 6.8%, Tanzania 5.1%, Belgium 4.6% (2013)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.128 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.071 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 131

Debt – external:
$1.901 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 147

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$1.016 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$853.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 105

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$12.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$12.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 98

Exchange rates:
Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar –
684.3 (2014 est.)
644.4 (2013 est.)
616.6 (2012 est.)
601.83 (2011 est.)
583.13 (2010 est.)

Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates:
2 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references:

total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 149

Area – comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:
total: 930 km
border countries (4): Burundi 315 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 221 km, Tanzania 222 km, Uganda 172 km

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible

mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m

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

Land use:
agricultural land: 74.5%
arable land 47%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 17.4%
forest: 18%
other: 7.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
96.25 sq km (2007)

Total renewable water resources:
9.5 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.15 cu km/yr (33%/11%/55%)
per capita: 17.25 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga Mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
volcanism: Visoke (elev. 3,711 m), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country’s only historically active volcano

Environment – current issues:
deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography – note:
landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural

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    Mr. Eliezer RusakanaMinistere des Resources rusakanael@yahoo.fr+250 580101
    Mr. J.M.V MinaniRwanda Development Board jeanmarie.minani@gmail.com+250 788 614516