East-Central Africa

Capital City:

total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km

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

Coastline: 0 km
Total: 930 km




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

generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast

mean elevation: 1,598 m
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 sq km (2012)

Population – distribution:
one of Africa’s most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west

Natural hazards:
periodic droughts;
the volcanic Virunga Mountains are in the northwest


People and Society

As of 2017, the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda estimates Rwanda’s population to be 11,262,564. The 2012 census recorded a population of 10,515,973. The population is young: in the 2012 census, 43.3% of the population were aged 15 and under, and 53.4% were between 16 and 64. According to the CIA World Factbook, the annual birth rate is estimated at 40.2 births per 1,000 inhabitants in 2015, and the death rate at 14.9. The life expectancy is 59.67 years (61.27 years for females and 58.11 years for males), which is the 26th lowest out of 224 countries and territories. The sex ratio of the country is relatively even.

Rwanda’s fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government’s commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda’s birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering the reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families’ ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation.

The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR’s decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

11,901,484(July 2017 est.)


Ethnic groups:
Hutu, Tutsi, Twa (Pygmy)

Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, French, English
, Swahili/Kiswahili, other 6.3%, unspecified 0.3%

Protestant 49.5% (includes Adventist 11.8% and other Protestant 37.7%), Roman Catholic 43.7%, Muslim 2%, other 0.9% (includes Jehovah’s Witness), none 2.5%, unspecified 1.3% (2012 est.).

Ethnicity Language, and Religion

Rwanda has been a unified state since pre-colonial times, and the population is drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda; this contrasts with most modern African states, whose borders were drawn by colonial powers and did not correspond to ethnic boundaries or pre-colonial kingdoms. Within the Banyarwanda people, there are three separate groups, the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The CIA World Factbook gives estimates that the Hutu made up 84% of the population in 2009, the Tutsi 15% and Twa 1%.

The Twa are a pygmy people who descend from Rwanda’s earliest inhabitants, but scholars do not agree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi. In precolonial Rwanda, the Tutsi were the ruling class, from whom the kings and the majority of chiefs were derived, while the Hutu were agriculturalists. The current government discourages the Hutu/Tutsi/Twa distinction and has removed such classification from identity cards. The 2002 census was the first since 1933 which did not categorize Rwandan population into the three groups.

The country’s principal language is Kinyarwanda, which is spoken by nearly all Rwandans. Other languages spoken in Rwanda are English, French. Rwanda, a Bantu language belonging to the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family, is spoken by virtually all Rwandans. It is closely related to Rundi, which is spoken in the neighboring country of Burundi. English and French have traditionally been spoken by only a small fraction of the population, although English was designated the language of educational instruction in 2008. Swahili is widely spoken in the towns and is still the principal means of communication with Africans from neighboring countries.

A 2009 study indicated that about 94% of the population were Christians: 50% Catholic and 44% Protestant. Muslims accounted for about 5% of the total population and about 2% professed no religion at all. A small number of people practice indigenous religions exclusively, but it is believed that many adherents of other faiths incorporate traditional elements into their own practice. These elements include belief in a supreme being, Imaana, and a number of lesser deities, who can be communicated with through the spirits of ancestors. There are small groups of Baha’is, Hindus, and others. There are several foreign missionary groups.



Thanks to the significant efforts made over the last decade by the Government of Rwanda and its partners to expand access to education throughout the country, Rwanda is one of the top-performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa in education, having achieved Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 for access to Universal Primary Education, with a net enrolment rate of 97.7per cent (boys: 97.3%; girls: 98%) (MINEDUC, 2016). In terms of gender equality in education, Rwanda’s education system boasts the highest participation rates in East Africa as well as gender parity in net and gross enrolment at the pre-primary, primary, and secondary levels. In fact, girls’ enrolment surpasses boys’ enrolment at all levels.

Despite these achievements, gender disparities exist, namely in learning outcomes for girls and negative social norms that impact both boys and girls, which have been informed by a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Study on Gender in Education. Among populations of vulnerable children, however, equitable access is still a key issue: Equitable access to basic education for vulnerable children is an issue; only 70 percent of children with disabilities are enrolled in primary schools.

Each year 28,000 Rwandan students take the national secondary Education Ordinary Level test at the end of Junior Secondary School Form 3 (ninth grade) in nine subjects. Admission to Senior Secondary School is competitive: fewer than 13,000 students can be admitted into the 734 secondary schools. The vast majority of Rwandan students attend public boarding schools, many of which are highly competitive; there are also private secondary schools in the country.

At the end of Senior Secondary School (twelfth grade), all students take the final national exam in each of 3 subjects of the combinations plus Entrepreneurship and general paper. In order to receive a high school leaving certificate, a student must achieve at least three subsidiary level passes. Rwanda’s tertiary institutions enroll over 44,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, certificate and diploma programs in a full range of academic and professional fields. Public Universities in Rwanda recently merged to form the University of Rwanda (UR). Nine public polytechnics offer three-year Higher National Diplomas in Education, Technology, Human Health, Animal Health and Nursing (Advanced Diploma).



Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with agriculture accounting for about 63% of export earnings, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but, with the exception of the capital Kigali, is not concentrated in large cities – its 12 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (smaller than the state of Maryland). Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda’s fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth.

Rwanda’s annual growth reached 6.1% in the second half of 2017, thanks to improved export performance, revitalized agriculture and resumption of growth in private consumption, according to the 12th edition of the World Bank Rwanda Economic Update launched today. The growth is expected to accelerate to 7.2% in 2018 and to 7.5% in 2019. According to the report, favorable weather experienced in 2017 brought a substantial pick-up in agriculture, and growth in services accelerated to 8%. However, industrial growth slowed mainly because construction continued to contract. Headline inflation went down to 0.7% by December 2017 after peaking at 8% in February, while exchange rate remained relatively stable during the same period.

Leading sectors include energy, agriculture, trade and hospitality, and financial services. Rwanda’s economy is overwhelmingly rural and heavily dependent on agriculture. Strong growth in the services sector, particularly construction and tourism, has contributed to overall economic growth. GDP per capita was USD 697 in 2015, according to the World Bank. The government’s economic priority is turning Rwanda into a regional trade, logistics, and conference hub. Pillars of this strategy include the construction of several new international business class hotels and a convention center in downtown Kigali and expanding and investing in the fleet for the national carrier RwandAir.

Rwanda is playing a leading role in the Northern Corridor initiative, which includes Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia as core members and the DRC, Burundi, and Tanzania as observers. Rwanda is also at the forefront of the Central Corridor initiative, which also includes Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, and Uganda. Unlocking some of the larger infrastructure projects, especially rail transportation, envisioned under the Central and Northern Corridor initiatives would help to substantially reduce the cost of conducting business and transporting goods across borders in the region.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$24.61 billion (2017 est.)
$23.18 billion (2016 est.)
$21.89 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars

Real GDP:
$8.918 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
6.2% (2017 est.)
5.9% (2016 est.)
8.9% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$2,100 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)

Gross national saving:
10.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
8.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 30.9%
industry: 17.6%
services: 51.5% (2017 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

Population below poverty line:
39.1% (2015 est.)

revenues: $1.874 billion
expenditures: $2.255 billion (2017 est.)



Agriculture employs 70 percent of the labor force, and the country’s solid growth record and macroeconomic stability provide a solid foundation for agricultural investment. The country has committed to generating sustained agricultural growth, increasing the share of the national budget allocated to agriculture from 3 percent in 2006 to 10.01 percent in 2015. these investments appear to be paying off, with annual agriculture growth averaging over 6 percent since 2007. Despite the gains, agricultural productivity remains low and the levels of chronic malnutrition remain unacceptably high at 38 percent for children under 5 years old. Through Feed the Future, USAID is promoting inclusive agricultural growth throughout the country.

Rwanda’s key agricultural crops include coffee, pyrethrum, tea, cinchona, flowers, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes, finger millet, groundnuts, sorghum, banana, Irish and sweet potatoes, rice, wheat, bananas, sugarcane and simsim among others. Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in Rwanda playing a major role in the livelihoods of many people in the country. In Rwanda, about 500,000 households depend on coffee production.

Agriculture is crucial for Rwanda’s growth and reduction of poverty, as the backbone of the economy, it accounts for 39 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of employment, 63 percent of foreign exchange earnings, and 90 percent of the country’s food needs. The sector is challenged by land constraints due to population pressure, poor water management, small average land holdings, lack of public and private capacity, and limited commercialization constrained by poor access to output and financial markets. The country’s average annual income of $550 per capita reflects a rural poverty rate of 49 percent, a figure that soars to 76 percent for families whose main source of income is agriculture.

To curve this challenge the Rwanda government focus on; The intensification of agriculture on the region, which must be executed in potentially fertile hillside land, where most of the arable land is located. The Rwandan authorities have a strong commitment to this project, and the government requested IDA support. The program aimed to improve land husbandry and productivity in seven pilot watersheds covering 10,250 ha of land, of which 1,868 ha would be irrigated. The watershed approach employed by the project involves infrastructural development and farmer education on intensification and land husbandry technology best practices.

The result is an example to the rest of Africa. The Land Husbandry, Water Harvesting and Hillside Irrigation Project (LWH) was able to mobilize beneficiaries quickly for sensitization, implement a labor-intensive approach to land works, and complete a set of land husbandry works on one site while preparing another three sites. In addition to the successes highlighted below, the project has become a very important source of employment in the country. More than 7,000 people have been employed by the project, 19,828 Rwandans have benefited from the project directly, Rainfed productivity has reached $2,240 per non-irrigated hectare in just one season, surpassing the year 2 target of $1,000 per hectare, and more.

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 9,300,000
electrification – total population: 21%
electrification – urban areas: 67%
electrification – rural areas: 5% (2013)
Electricity – production:
600 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – consumption:
644 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – exports:
4 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity – imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
152,000 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
27.6% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 13,403
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (December 2017 est.) (July 2016 est.

Telephones – fixed lines:
total: 8.989 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones – mobile cellular:
total: 8.989 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (July 2016 est.)

Internet country code:
Internet users:
total: 2,597,685
percent of population: 20.0% (July 2016 est


The industrial sector plays a much smaller role and contributed just 7% of GDP for the same year (Government of the Republic of Rwanda, 2013). Manufacturing makes up the bulk of revenue from the industrial sector, contributing 6% to GDP in 2012, a decrease of 1% from the previous year (World Bank, 2013). According to a study by the Rwanda Development Board Rwanda’s manufacturing sector has approximately 27,769 employees (2012). The total labor force in Rwanda stood at 5.2 million in 2010 (World Bank, 2012).

According to the report from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the industrial sector grew by 6% during 2013/2014, compared to 12% in the 2012/2013. The construction and manufacturing sector with 5% growth, and beverages which grew at a rate of 3%. Sugar production declined due to the fact that the industry stopped production for four months for maintenance purposes instead of the more typical two months stoppage. The production of cement increased by 5% and modern beer at 4%. The production of cement increased mainly due to the greater stability of electricity used to run machines in the production process compared to the previous period. However, it was still a below-average increase in cement, which was related to the slow-down in construction, along with strong competition from imported.

The primary industrial activities involve mainly the processing of coffee, tea, bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes and other agricultural commodities. Other smaller scale industrial products include cement, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, and cigarettes. The majority of goods manufactured in Rwanda are produced for domestic consumption; in order to limit the country’s reliance on imports. The vast majority of manufacturing companies in Rwanda is located in the capital city, Kigali.

Rwanda has development aims, which are outlined in Vision 2020; its objectives include targeting growth and development, which focus on economy-wide improvements in productivity. The overall goal is to have transformed Rwanda’s economy by 2020, moving away from subsistence agriculture towards increased manufacturing, services, and commercial agriculture.


Banking and Finance

Rwanda is home to many financial institutions, including commercial and development banks. The National Bank of Rwanda is the central bank and issues the national currency, the Rwandan franc. The Rwanda Stock Exchange, located in Kigali, opened in 2008. Access to affordable credit is a serious challenge in Rwanda. Interest rates are high for the region, banks offer predominantly short-term loans, and Rwandan commercial banks rarely issue significant loan values. Large international transfers are subject to authorization. Investors who seek to borrow more than USD 1 million must often engage in multi-party loan transactions, usually leveraging support from larger regional banks. Credit terms generally reflect market rates and foreign investors are able to negotiate credit facilities from local lending institutions if they have collateral and “bankable” projects.

Rwanda’s financial sector remains highly concentrated. Around 50 percent of all bank assets in are held by five of the largest commercial banks, while just one bank – majority state-owned Bank of Kigali (BoK) – holds 30 percent of all assets. The banking sector holds around 67 percent of total financial sector assets in Rwanda. Non-performing loans constitute seven percent of all total banking sector assets. Foreign banks are permitted to establish operations in Rwanda. In January 2016, Atlas Mara Limited acquired a majority equity stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR). BPR/Atlas Mara has the largest number of branch locations, and with assets of approximately USD 325 million, is Rwanda’s second-largest bank after Bank of Kigali. Rwanda’s banks have assets of USD 1.5 billion. The IMF gives the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Rwanda’s central bank, high marks for its effective monetary policy.

Local banks operate in both local currency and dollar-based accounts. Starting in 2008, the Rwandan Central bank fixed a capital requirement of five billion Rwanda Francs ($6.5 million) for commercial banks. All commercial banks have international correspondent banks operating in major cities of the world. Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) are available but limited with only 400 in all of Rwanda. Commercial banks are authorized to provide loans in foreign currency. The government has implemented a financial sector development plan that improves access to financial services and competition in the banking sector and in micro-finance. The IMF gives the National Bank of Rwanda, Rwanda’s central bank, high marks for its effective monetary policy.


Rwanda’s tourism industry contributes to 12.7 percent of the country’s GDP, supporting 132,000 jobs. The country is best-known for its 480-strong mountain gorilla population, for which people travel from all over the world to see, paying £1,300 for a permit to enter the Volcanoes National Park with a guide to track down the roaming animals. The country was attempting to reduce its reliance on foreign aid from 80 percent of its budget 10 years ago to 17 percent today. Rwanda believes that a “booming tourism sector”, which has seen the number of visitors double since 2008, is key. It is hoping to reach 1.7 million international arrivals by 2028.

Place of Attractions

Historically Rwanda has been most famous for its natural attractions, namely its three National Parks; Volcanoes National Park on the slopes of the Virunga mountain range, famous for the country’s biggest attraction, the mountain gorillas. Akagera National Park, defined by its “archetypal African savannah landscape”, and Nyungwe Forest National Park, the largest single tract of montane forest in East and Central Africa with incredibly a rich biodiversity. Other attractions include

Kigali is the dynamic capital at the heart of our country. Peacefully nestled along picturesque hilltops, Kigali is a thriving African city immediately notable for its cleanliness, orderliness, and hospitality.

Karongi is located in the western part of Rwanda, Karongi lies on the shores of the Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is surrounded by magnificent mountains and has deep emerald green waters. The lake covers a total surface area of 2,700 km and stands at a height of 1,460 meters above sea level.

Rubavu / Lake Kivu: If you’re surprised that Rwanda has a beach – you’re not alone. Rubavu (also known as Gisenyi) is a waterfront town located on the shores of Lake Kivu, one Africa’s great bodies of water. At only an hour away from Volcanoes National Park, Rubavu is a great way to unwind after trekking adventures.

Akagera National Park is located in the northeast of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km.

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  • Pre-history

    The territory of present-day Rwanda has been green and fertile for many thousands of years, even during the last ice age, when part of Nyungwe Forest was fed by the alpine ice sheets of the Rwenzoris. It is not known when the country was first inhabited, but it is thought that humans moved into the area shortly after that ice age, either in the Neolithic period, around ten thousand years ago, or in the long humid period which followed, up to around 3000 BC. The earliest inhabitants of the region are generally thought to have been the Twa, a group of Pygmy forest hunters and gatherers, whose descendants still live in Rwanda today.

    The Great Lakes Twa, also known as Batwa, Abatwa or Ge-Sera, are a pygmy people who are generally assumed to be the oldest surviving population of the Great Lakes region of central Africa, though currently, they live as a Bantu caste. Current populations are found in the states of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Traditionally, the Twa have been semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers of the mountain forests living in association with agricultural villages, much as other pygmy peoples do. When the Hutu, a Bantu-speaking people, arrived in the region, they subjugated ‘bush people’ (hunter-gatherers) they called Abatwa, which are generally assumed to be the ancestors of the Twa today, though it may be that the Twa arrived alongside the Hutu, and either were a distinct people from the original inhabitants, or have mixed ancestry.

    Between 400 – 1000 CE migrants from central Africa brought with them more extensive knowledge of agriculture and farming. They engaged in agriculture, had small herds of livestock and were later identified as Hutu people. The last wave of migrants were cattle-herding pastoralists who were fleeing famine and drought (either from central or east Africa) and settled in Rwanda between 1400 and 1500CE. The last group was identified as the Tutsi people after the 1600s. These migrations arose in slow and steady waves and did not occur through invasions and conquest. There was also a great deal of cohabitation and intermarriage. To this end, there was a large degree of integration, acceptance, and interaction between the different groups who arrived at different times.

  • The Middle Ages

    During the early period clans, or ubwoko, were the dominant broader social organizing principle rather than ethnicity (which would only really be an important signifier of social relationships in the colonial period). Each clan had a patriarchal figure, known as “father of the clans” who would coordinate clan-based activities. The clans were constituted through a mythology of a shared patrilineal descent, where people traced their origins through the male lines of their families. In reality, this was more like a system of alliances between smaller family units, called Inzu.

    The clans would remain important signifiers of belonging throughout Rwanda’s history and would often constitute people from all of the three ethnic groups of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. In the 1300’s and 1400s, the clans began to form more rigid structures around clan leaders, turning the “father of the clans” into hereditary kingship. As an increasing amount of power and wealth was accumulated by a single person at the head of a clan Rwanda saw the emergence of a variety of small hereditary kingdoms. These Kingdoms were ruled by an aristocracy of powerful cattle herders, with a King as the symbol of sovereignty. By the 1500s Rwanda was made up of a myriad of smaller kingdoms.

    Some academics believe that a shortage of land created increased conflict over cattle to be used as lobola, and that created a class of warriors amongst the mainly Tutsi people who practised pastoralism. The degree of how expansive the influence of the Kingdom of Rwanda was is debated however, but what is clear is that in the 1400s, through the conquest of several smaller chiefdoms, a state was formed around the Mwami (or king) of Rwanda.

  • Kingdom of Rwanda

    In the 1600s the Mwami established a hierarchical system called ubuhake where people who farmed (Hutu) would give their service and crops to the pastoralists (Tutsi), in exchange for use of land and cattle. Through the ubuhake system, a Hutu farmer could acquire cattle and, with a large enough herd, become a Tutsi pastoralist. Usually , the system was based on a client giving services to a wealthy patron in exchange for cattle and land. So the ubuhake system had a certain kind of social mobility that was more founded on clan affiliation than ethnic division. However, some historians argue that there was less fluidity between these social classes in the Kingdom of Rwanda than in the Kingdom of Burundi.

    Through critical engagement with the ibiteekerezo (a special form of Rwandese storytelling or royal poetry), we know much about the Kingdom of Rwanda, and the royal dynasty of Nyiginya (who ruled the Kingdom). Because these stories are sometimes contradictory and shrouded in mythology, there is much about the early history of the Rwandan Kings that we cannot say for certain. Some of the Kings are known and much spoken about, but a comprehensive and historically conclusive list of Kings and the exact periods they ruled would be difficult to compile with accuracy.

    What we know about the kingdom is that it was around the Nyiginya dynasty that the Kingdom of Rwanda was first constituted into a nuclear state. The mythical founding father of the Kingdom of Rwanda was Gihanga, but it is debated whether he was a real historical figure or not. With some historical accuracy, we know that Mwami Ruganzu I Bwimba was the king which began the process of expansion which would firmly establish the nucleus of the Kingdom of Rwanda.

  • Mwami Ruganzu II

    By the end of 16th C. Mwami, Ruganzu II Ndori oversaw a second period of expansion and conquered several smaller kingdoms in and around the central parts of Rwanda. Up until this point, most of central Rwanda had been constituted by a series of smaller kingdoms, which were associations of chiefs centered around a king. Umwami Ruganzu II Ndori’s conquests, and his efforts to centralise power into his family, was the true beginning of Rwanda as a hereditary monarchy, especially as he was instrumental in establishing the ubuhake system of patronage.

    The actual extent of the influence and power that the Kingdom wielded is debated. What is clear is that the 1400s to the early 1900CE was a period when the Kings and nobility of Rwanda expanded their control of the periphery until the Kingdom was about the size of the contemporary nation-state of Rwanda. It is estimated that in 1700 the Kingdom of Rwanda only made up about 14% of contemporary Rwanda, and that the following 150 years was a period of great expansion of its borders[lvi]. Mwami Kigeri IV Rwabugiri who ruled from 1860 – 1895 was the final architect of Rwandan unification and expanded the Kingdom beyond its current borders (including some areas of present day Uganda).

    The Mwami ruled with the help of an array of chiefs and advisers. The military chief was in charge of the army and land distribution after the conquest. The cattle chief regulated disputes over cattle and the land chief was in charge of land and agriculture. In the palace, the Mwami took advice from the Queen mother and an advisory council known as the Abiru. Some historians claim that this system of chiefs and advisor’s guarded the common people from abuses of power by the kings and the nobility. The King would have a personal guard of young professional warriors from his kin group to protect him and help him enforce his rule.

  • The Reign of Rwabugiri

    During the 19th century, the state became far more centralized, and the history far more precise. Expansion continued, reaching the shores of Lake Kivu. This expansion was less about military conquest and more about a migrating population spreading Rwandan agricultural techniques, social organization, and the extension of the political control of a Mwami. Once this was established camps of warriors were established along the vulnerable borders to prevent incursions. Only against other well developed states such as Gisaka, Bugesera, and Burundi was expansion carried out primarily by force of arms.

    Under the monarchy, the economic imbalance between the Hutus and the Tutsis crystallized, and a complex political imbalance emerged as the Tutsis formed into a hierarchy dominated by a Mwami or ‘king’. The King was treated as a semi-divine being, responsible for making the country prosper. The symbol of the King was the Kalinga, the sacred drum. The Mwami’s main power base was in control of over a hundred large estates spread through the kingdom. Including fields of banana trees and many head of cattle, the estates were the basis of the rulers’ wealth. The most ornate of the estates would each be home to one of the king’s wives, monarchs having up to twenty. It was between these estates that the Mwami and his retinue would travel.

    Located in the border camps, the military were a mix of Hutu and Tutsi drawn from across the kingdom. This intermixing helped produce a uniformity of ritual and language in the region, and united the populace behind the Mwami. Most evidence suggests that relations between the Hutu and Tutsi were mostly peaceful at this time. Some words and expressions suggest there may have been friction, but other than that evidence supports peaceful interaction.

  • Colonial German

    The 1884 events in Europe would profoundly change not only the historical trajectory for the Kingdom of Rwanda, but also the rest of Africa for the CENTURY TO COME. During the Berlin conference, without any consultation with the Rwandan people, it was decided that Rwanda would be part of the German Empire. In 1890, despite no European ever having even visited the country, the Kingdom was incorporated into a German East Africa protectorate. Two years later, in 1892, the first European, a German named Oscar Bauman, entered the Kingdom of Rwanda.

    The first German to visit or explore Rwanda was Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen, who from 1893 to 1894 led an expedition to claim the hinterlands of the Tanganyika colony. Götzen entered Rwanda at Rusumo Falls, and then travelled through Rwanda, meeting the mwami (king) at his palace in Nyanza, and eventually reached Lake Kivu, the western edge of the kingdom. With only 2,500 soldiers in East Africa, Germany hardly changed the social structures in much of the region, especially in Rwanda.

    War and division seemed to open the door for colonialism, and in 1897 German colonialists and missionaries arrived in Rwanda. The Rwandans were divided; a portion of the royal court was wary and the other thought the Germans might be a good alternative to dominance by Buganda or the Belgians. Backing their faction in the country a pliant government was soon in place. Rwanda put up less resistance than Burundi did to German rule. In the early years, the Germans had little direct control in the region and completely relied on the indigenous government. The Germans did not encourage modernization and centralization of the regime.; however, they did introduce the collection of cash taxes. The Germans hoped cash taxes, rather than taxes in kind, would force farmers to switch to profitable crops, like coffee, in order to acquire the required cash to pay taxes. This policy led to changes in the Rwandan economy.

  • The Source Horrific Rwanda Genocide of 1994

    Rwanda was only a German colony for a short period of time, however. With the German empire’s loss in World War I, Rwanda was transferred to become part of the Belgian colonial empire as part of the mandate from the League of Nations (later United Nations). The Belgian colonial occupation had a much more lasting effect in Rwanda. They added more aspects of the direct rule, taking a greater part in the everyday administration of the colony, making Rwanda a unique mix of an indirect and direct rule. As part of their efforts to control the Rwandan people, they enlisted the Catholic church and the missionaries to indoctrinate people, especially the aristocracy, towards a European disposition. In 1930 the Catholic missionaries also took over all primary schooling in the country, and Tutsi children were told that they were better than Hutu, and the education for Hutu children was only meant to prepare them for manual labour.

    The Belgian colonial authorities would continue the German policy of cementing Hutu and Tutsi identities into permanent and biologically determined racial categories. Previously these were fluid identities which people moved in and out off depending on the work they did and their status in society. The colonial government made them permanent markers, people were either Hutu or Tutsi and you were born into one or the other. From 1935 on, “Tutsi”, “Hutu” and “Twa” were indicated on identity cards, Which will have historical consequence(genocide) by the end of the 20th century.

    The Belgians intended the colony to be profitable. They introduced coffee as a commodity crop and used a system of forced labor to have it cultivated. Each peasant was required to devote a certain percentage of their fields to coffee and this was enforced by the Belgians and their local, mainly Tutsi, allies. A system of corvée that had existed under Mwami Rwabugiri was used. This forced labour approach to colonization was condemned by many internationally, and was extremely unpopular in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans immigrated to the British protectorate of Uganda, which was much wealthier and did not have the same policies.

  • Movement toward indepndnce

    In 1946, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN trust territory under Belgian administration. Events in Africa after World War II aroused Hutu political consciousness and led the Hutu to demand the abolition of social and political inequalities. In November 1959, a Hutu revolution began, continuing sporadically for the next few years. Many Tutsi either were killed or fled to neighboring territories during the nationwide anti-Tutsi campaign named the “wind of destruction.” The Belgian authorities, along with the Roman Catholic missionaries, provided crucial support to the Hutu during this troubled period.

    A provisional government, republican in tendency and composed predominantly of members of the Parmehutu Party, was set up in Ruanda in October 1960. In the following January, the leaders of the Parmehutu proclaimed the deposition of the mwami and the creation of a republican regime. The new regime was recognized de facto by the administering authority, but the UN declared it to have been established by irregular and unlawful means.

    On 25 September 1961, legislative elections and a referendum on retaining the institution and person of the mwami were held in Ruanda at the insistence of the UN General Assembly and under the supervision of the UN Commission for Ruanda-Urundi. The elections gave the Parmehutu, led by Grégoire Kayibanda, an overwhelming majority. In the referendum, about 95% of the electorate took part, voting 4 to 1 to abolish the monarchy. The UN strongly urged both Ruanda and Urundi to come to independence united, but reluctantly agreed that neither country wished to do so. On 27 June 1962, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution providing for the independent states of Rwanda and Burundi, and on 1 July, Rwanda became an independent country.

  • The 1990’s

    Shame on you Western world(especially Germany and Belgian)!!  STAND UP TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS[colonial policy…(…the source the genocide)]), instead of trying to prosecute your puppet and dummies. Do you think we African cares whether you have the Bogus Hague court or not… It’s ALL YOU EUROPE!!! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!!!,  AS WE(many AFRICAN) TOOK RESPONSIBILITY for our misguided idea (ROOTED by you) of the past AND MOVE ON TO SEE THE BRIGHT 21st century AFRICA!!!

    • The Germans(Nazi) racial superiority complex not only responsible for the 1940’s disappearance of over 7 million Jewish in Europe, but its ruminant became the cause of LOST LIVES (close to one million Rwandan) in the 1990’s.

    ***IF YOU ARE IN THIS PAGE PLEASE PRAY, FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIFE for UNNECESSARY CIVIL WAR caused by (proxy war b/n Communist(Russia) and Capitalist(Western World). Some of this countries include Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Senegal, Sera leon, Liberia and so on).

  • Paul Kegame

    Paul Kagame is born 23 October 1957, he is currently serving as Rwandans president and he is also a former military leader. Kagame previously commanded the rebel force that ended the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He was considered Rwanda’s de facto leader when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence from 1994 to 2000. Kagame was born to a Tutsi family in southern Rwanda. When he was two years old, the Rwandan Revolution ended centuries of Tutsi political dominance; his family fled to Uganda, where he spent the rest of his childhood.

    In the 1980s, Kagame fought with Yoweri Museveni’s rebel army, becoming a senior Ugandan army officer. After Museveni’s military victories, which carried him to the Ugandan presidency, Kagame joined the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which control Rwanda in 1990. RPF leader Fred Rwigyema died early in the war and Kagame took control. By 1993, the RPF controlled significant territory in Rwanda and a ceasefire was negotiated. The assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana set off the genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu. Kagame and his advocate enter the civil war to ended the genocide, which ended the genocide and a persuasive military victory for paul kagame leaded force.

    As president, Kagame has prioritized national development, launching a programme to develop Rwanda as a middle income country by 2020 (Vision 2020). As of 2013, the country is developing strongly on key indicators, including health care and education; annual growth between 2004 and 2017 averaged 8% per year. Kagame remain popular in Rwanda, and observers from Africa and across the globe; human rights groups accuse him of political repression(Once again these are the same people, who turn the blind eye on the genocide). He won an election in 2003, under a new constitution adopted that year, and was elected for a second term in 2010. Kagame was elected again in 2017, and due to yet another change in the constitution, he could potentially be President until 2034. In 2018, Kagame began a one-year term as Chairperson of the African Union. Africa Need a leader like Kagame, who cares more about his Country and its People than the outsiders.