Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda (Kinyarwanda: Repubulika y'u Rwanda; French: République du Rwanda), is a sovereign state in central and east Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.
The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some belief differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as official languages. Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighboring countries, although human rights organizations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by an ordered administrative hierarchy since pre-colonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.
Rwanda is a member of the East African Community (EAC), which also includes Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. EAC countries established a common Customs Union in 2005 and a Common Market in 2010, and are working towards creating a Monetary Union by 2012.
The financial sector has been growing in recent year, and its stability, structure, and efficiency improved considerably due to stricter enforcement regulations by the central bank.
Rwanda's banking sector, comprising 9 commercials banks and five specialized banks, experienced a liquidity crisis in late 2008 caused by a significant reduction in deposits and increase in withdrawals by major depositors, as well as an increase in opportunity costs of bank deposits due to increasing negative real interest rates in the face of rising inflation. This forced the Central Bank to intervene in January 2009 with the injection of RWF 13 billion into the country's banking sector. The credit crunch has, however, pushed many banks to undertake efforts to expand their depositor base and offer new and attractive incentives to the public. Banks are now actively expanding their branch networks and investing in innovative products and technologies to increase the convenience and efficiency of their services. The number of branches increased significantly passing from 53 to 326 from 2007 to 2011. The banking system is highly concentrated but competitive. The three largest banks accounted for about 50 percent of total bank assets at end-June 2012 (from 60 percent as at end 2010). The distribution of loans and deposits is concentrated in a few institutional clients, and corporate lending mostly concentrated in construction and housing. Bank assets increased substantially between 2006 and 2010, and grew by another 37 percent by end-June 2012, while NPLs declined significantly to 6 percent (September 2012) compared with 11.3 percent (end-2010).
Authorities are actively taking steps to improve access to finance and encourage the creation of new financial institutions. In May 2007, the government finalized the country's Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) to establish a comprehensive policy framework and a detailed action plan for developing the financial sector. The number of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) is increasing, in 2012, , the government had fully licensed 220 of the 416 Umurenge (district-level) Savings and Credit Co?operatives (SACCOs) while 196 SACCOS were partially licensed to grant loans to expand access to banking services beyond the current 20% of the population. Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) have also been rapidly expanding, though many still suffer from a lack of capacity to finance themselves, develop new products, or expand their reach to rural clients.
|Agriculture||Plantains, Sweet Potatoes, Cassava, Beans, Sorghum, corn, and sugarcane|
|Manufacture||Energy, Machinery, Mining|
|Services (Including financial)||51% (2012 estimate)|
|Bank of Africa Rwanda Limited||Financials|
|Bank of Kigali||Financials|
|Bourbon Coffee||Consumer goods|
|Bralirwa Brewery||Consumer goods|
|Great Lakes Energy||Utilities|
|Silverback Cargo Freighters||Industrials|
|Banque Populaire du Rwanda SA||Financials|
The Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), is Rwanda's principal stock exchange. It was founded in January 2011. The RSE is operated under the jurisdiction of Rwanda's Capital Market Authority (CMA), previously known as Capital Markets Advisory Council (CMAC), which in turn reports to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN).
The exchange's doors opened for trading on 31 January 2011. That day coincided with the first day of trading in the stock of Rwanda's only brewery, Bralirwa, which trades under the symbol: BLR. The Rwanda Stock Exchange replaced Rwanda Over The Counter Exchange that had been in operation since January 2008, with two companies listed, namely Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB) listed on 18 June 2009 and National Media Group (NMG) listed on 2 November 2010.
The current global financial crisis, undoubtedly the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, has tested the strength and resilience of many economies around the globe. The financial crisis, which began last year as an isolated and sector-specific problem in the US sub-prime residential markets, has now spread into a global financial disaster.
Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed later by Bantu peoples. The population coalesced first into clans and then into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power, and later enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and ultimately established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1.3 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory.
Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide but has since strengthened. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, and visitors pay for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture, particularly drums and the highly choreographed into dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country.
Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 genocide, with widespread loss of life, failure to maintain infrastructure, looting, and neglect of important cash crops. This caused a large drop in GDP and destroyed the country's ability to attract private and external investment. The economy has since strengthened, with per-capita GDP (PPP) estimated at $1,784 in 2015, compared with $416 in 1994. Major export markets include China, Germany, and the United States. The economy is managed by the central National Bank of Rwanda and the currency is the Rwandan franc; in August 2015, the exchange rate was 755 francs to the United States dollar. Rwanda joined the East African Community in 2007 and has ratified a plan for monetary union amongst the five member nations, which could eventually lead to a common East African shilling.
Rwanda is a country of few natural resources, and the economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture by local farmers using simple tools. An estimated 90% of the working population farms, and agriculture constituted an estimated 32.5% of GDP in 2014. Farming techniques are basic, with small plots of land and steep slopes. Since the mid-1980s, farm sizes and food production have been decreasing, due in part to the resettlement of displaced people. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, and food imports are required. Subsistence crops grown in the country include matoke (green bananas), which occupy more than a third of the country's farmland, potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, cassava, wheat, and maize. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export, with the high altitudes, steep slopes and volcanic soils providing favorable conditions. Reliance on agricultural exports makes Rwanda vulnerable to shifts in their prices. Animals raised in Rwanda include cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chicken, and rabbits, with geographical variation in the numbers of each. Production systems are mostly traditional, although there are a few intensive dairy farms around Kigali. Shortages of land and water, insufficient and poor-quality feed and regular disease epidemics with insufficient veterinary services are major constraints that restrict output. Fishing takes place on the country's lakes, but stocks are much depleted, and live fish are being imported in an attempt to revive the industry.
The industrial sector is small, contributing 14.8% of GDP in 2014. Products manufactured include cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, and cigarettes. Rwanda's mining industry is an important contributor, generating US$93 million in 2008. Minerals mined include cassiterite, wolframite, gold, and coltan, which is used in the manufacture of electronic and communication devices such as mobile phones.
Rwanda's service sector suffered during the late-2000s recession as bank lending, foreign aid projects and investment were reduced. The sector rebounded in 2010, becoming the country's largest sector by economic output and contributing 43.6% of the country's GDP. Key tertiary contributors include banking and finance, wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport, storage, communication, insurance, real estate, business services and public administration including education and health. Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic resources and became the country's leading foreign exchange earner in 2007. In spite of the genocide's legacy, the country is increasingly perceived internationally as a safe destination. The number of tourist arrivals in 2013 was 864,000 people, up from 504,000 in 2010. Revenue from tourism was US$303 million in 2014, up from just US$62 million in 2000. The largest contributor to this revenue was mountain gorilla tracking, in the Volcanoes National Park; Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely; the gorillas attract thousands of visitors per year, who are prepared to pay high prices for permits. Other attractions include Nyungwe Forest, home to chimpanzees, Ruwenzori colobus and other primates, the resorts of Lake Kivu, and Akagera, a small savanna reserve in the east of the country. In 2016, Rwanda was ranked 42nd and second best country in Africa to do business in the Mara Foundation-The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index report.
|Paul Kagame (President)||Anastase Murekezi (Politician)|
The Rwandan franc (Code: RWF) is the currency of Rwanda. It is subdivided into 100 centimes. The franc became the currency of Rwanda in 1916 when Belgium occupied the previously German colony and the Belgian Congo franc replaced the German East African rupie. Rwanda used the currency of Belgian Congo until 1960 when the Rwanda and Burundi franc was introduced. Rwanda began issuing its own francs in 1964.
A proposal exists to introduce a common currency, a new East African shilling, for the five member states of the East African Community. While originally scheduled to occur by the end of 2012, current proposals are for an introduction in 2015. As of June 2016, a common currency has not been introduced. In 1964, coins were introduced for 1, 5 and 10 francs, with the 1 and 10 francs in cupronickel and the 5 francs in bronze. In 1969, aluminium 1 franc coins were introduced, followed in 1970 by ½ and 2 francs also in aluminium. A reduced sized copper-nickel 10 franc coin was issued in 1974.
Brass 20 and 50 francs were introduced in 1977. New series of 1-50 Francs coins were issued in 2004 (dated 2003) and a new bimetallic coin of 100 Francs was introduced in 2008 (dated 2007). In 1964, provisional notes were created for use in Rwanda by hand stamping (20 to 100 francs) or embossing (500 and 1,000 francs) Rwanda-Burundi notes bearing their original dates and signatures. These were followed by regular issues for the same amounts dated 1964 to 1976.
20- and 50-franc notes were replaced by coins in 1977, with 5,000-franc notes introduced in 1978. The nation's first-ever 2,000-franc note was introduced in mid-December 2007. In 2008 the bank replaced the 100-franc note with a bimetallic coin and revoked the notes’ legal tender status on 31 December 2009. On September 24, 2013, the National Bank of Rwanda issued a redesigned 500 franc note depicting cows on the front and students with XO computers (from One Laptop per Child) on the back. In December 2014, the National Bank of Rwanda issued 2,000 and 5,000 franc notes with revised security features and the removal of French descriptions on the notes. In October 2015, the National Bank of Rwanda issued a revised 1000 franc note with improved security features and the removal of French descriptions on the notes.
|National Song||"Rwanda Nziza"|
|Currency||Rwandan franc (RWF)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||22.793 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||6.9 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$1976.823 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
Hutu (Bantu) 84%
Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%
Twa (Pygmy) 1%
President – Paul Kagame[α]
Prime Minister – Édouard Ngirente
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||37.639 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||2.527 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|