Rwanda

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RWANDA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS RWANDANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Rwanda

Republika y'u Rwanda

CAPITAL: Kigali

FLAG: The national flag has three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double width), yellow, and green, with a golden sun with 24 rays near the fly end of the blue band.

ANTHEM: Rwanda Rwacu (Our Rwanda).

MONETARY UNIT: The Rwanda franc (RFr) is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 francs and notes of 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 francs. RFr1 = $0.00164 (or $1 = RFr610) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Democracy Day, 28 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 1 July; Peace and National Unity Day, 5 July; Assumption, 15 August; Anniversary of 1961 Referendum, 25 September; Armed Forces' Day, 26 October; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Rwanda, a landlocked country in east-central Africa, has an area of 26,338 sq km (10,170 sq mi), extending 248 km (154 mi) nesw and 166 km (103 mi) senw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Rwanda is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. It is bordered on the n by Uganda, on the e by Tanzania, on the s by Burundi, and on the w and nw by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROCthe former Zaire), with a total boundary length of 893 km (555 mi).

Rwanda's capital city, Kigali, is located near the center of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Rwanda lies on the great East African plateau, with the divide between the water systems of the Nile and Congo rivers passing in a northsouth direction through the western part of the country. To the west of the divide, the land drops sharply to Lake Kivu in the Great Rift Valley; to the east, the land falls gradually across the central plateauits grassy highlands are the core areas of settlement of Rwanda's peoplesto the swamps and lakes on the country's eastern border. Almost all of Rwanda is at least 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level; the central plateau is between 1,500 and 2,000 m (4,9506,600 ft) high. In the northwest on the border with the DROC are the volcanic Virunga Mountains; the highest peak, Mt. Karisimbi (4,519 m/14,826 ft), is snowcapped. Lake Kivu, 1,460 m (4,790 ft) above sea level, drains into Lake Tanganyika through the sharply descending Ruzizi River. The Kagera River, which forms much of Rwanda's eastern border, flows into Lake Victoria.

CLIMATE

The high altitude of Rwanda provides the country with a pleasant tropical highland climate, with a mean daily temperature range of less than 2°c (4°f). Temperatures vary considerably from region to region because of the variations in altitude. At Kigali, on the central plateau, the average temperature is 21°c (70°f). Rainfall is heaviest in the southwest and lightest in the east. A long rainy season lasts from February to May and a short one from November through December. At Gisovu, in the west, near Kibuye, annual rainfall averages 160 cm (63 in); at Gabiro, in the northeast, 78 cm (31 in); and at Butare, in the south, 115 cm (45 in).

FLORA AND FAUNA

Most of Rwanda is a region of savanna grassland. There is little forest left; the country is one of the most eroded and deforested in all of tropical Africa. Remaining woodlands are small areas of tropical forests along the western border, north and south of Lake Kivu. The most common trees are eucalyptusimported from the south in the 1890sacacias, and oil palms.

Wildlife was abundant before the region became agricultural. There are still elephants, hippopotamuses, buffalo, cheetahs, lions, zebras, leopards, monkeys, gorillas, jackals, hyena, wild boar, antelope, flying lemurs, crocodiles, guinea hens, partridges, ducks, geese, quail, and snipe. Because the region is densely populated, these are becoming fewer, and some species are disappearing. As of 2002, there were at least 151 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, and over 2,200 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

The ability of the nation's agricultural sector to meet the demands of its large population are complicated by the overuse and infertility of the soil. Soil erosion and overgrazing are also serious problems. The remaining forested area is under intense pressure from uncontrolled cutting for fuel. During 198185, deforestation averaged 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) per year. Between 1990 and 2000, the average rate of deforestation was 3.9% per year. In 2000, only about 12.4% of the total land area was forested. Malaria and sleeping sickness have spread because forest clearing and irrigation have increased the breeding areas for disease-carrying insects. Rwanda has about 5 cu km of renewable water resources with 94% of annual withdrawals used for farming and 2% used for industrial activity. About 92% of the nation's city dwellers and 69% of the rural population have access to improved water sources. The nation's cities produce about 0.1 million tons of solid waste per year.

In 2003, about 6.2% of the total land area was protected. In northeastern Rwanda the beautiful Kagera National Park is a game reserve sheltering many types of wildlife. Volcano National Park, which surrounds Mt. Karisimbi and was Africa's first wildlife park, is one of the last existing homes of the mountain gorilla. The national parks suffered from uncontrolled poaching and unauthorized cultivation until recent years. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 13 types of mammals, 9 species of birds, 8 species of amphibians, 4 species of invertebrates, and 3 species of plants.

Threatened species include the chimpanzee, African elephant, and black rhinoceros. Sixteen species of fish have become extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Rwanda in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 8,722,000, which placed it at number 87 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 2% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 44% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 94 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.3%, a rate the government viewed as too high. Chief among the government's concerns is whether the economy can support the growing population. The projected population for the year 2025 was 12,906,000. The population density was 331 per sq km (858 per sq mi), making Rwanda the most densely populated country on the African continent.

The UN estimated that 17% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 9.30%. The capital city, Kigali, had a population of 656,000 in that year.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Rwanda. The UN estimated that 9.1% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.

MIGRATION

Before independence, many Rwandans, compelled by famine and underemployment, migrated to neighboring Zaire (now DROC), Uganda, and Tanzania. The Hutu and Tutsi political quarrels have caused numerous Tutsi to flee their homeland, many of them going to Burundi, where there were 245,600 refugees at the end of 1992. In the mid-1960s, nearly 400,000 Rwandans were listed as permanent residents of Uganda. Some 85,800 Rwandan refugees were in Uganda at the end of 1992.

With renewed violence in 1994, one half of Rwanda's 7.5 million population was forced to flee their homes. Of these displaced persons, 2.4 million refugees fled to neighboring countries. In 1996, violence in Burundi forced 100,000 Rwandans to repatriate. After the civil war in the DROC in October of 1996, 720,000 of the 1.1 million Rwandan refugees were forced to repatriate. In 1996 and early 1997, Tanzania returned 480,000 Rwandan refugees from its western regions. Another 10,000 returned from Uganda. In addition, one million refugees who left Rwanda in the 1950s and 1960s have also returned since 1994. By the end of 1997, fewer than 100,000 Rwandans remained outside the country; some 30,000 of these in the DROC were expected to return. In 2004, 19,743 Rwandans were refugees in the DROC, 19,604 in Uganda, 5,921 in the Congo, and 5,767 in Zambia. In that same year, over 2,000 Rwandans applied for asylum in Europe, Canada, and surrounding African countries.

As of 2004, Rwanda hosted some 67,605 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly Congolese, Burundi, and Ugandans. As in 1999, more than 30,000 refugees from the DROC were situated in two camps, Kiziba in Kibuye Prefecture and Gihembe in Byumba Prefecture. There was also an urban group of refugees and asylum seekers in Kigali

In 2000, the net migration rate was 62.8 migrants per 1,000 population, a significant change from -58.4 per 1,000 in 1990. In 2005, the net migration rate was an estimated zero migrants per 1,000 population. Remittances in 2002 were $7.2 million.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The population of Rwanda is about 84% Hutu, a Bantu people who are traditionally farmers. The Tutsi, a pastoral people, constitute about 15% of the total population, but many have fled into neighboring territories for refuge, especially since civil strife began in 1959. The Tutsi migrated to Rwanda sometime before the 15th century. An enormous amount of tension exists between the Hutu and the Tutsi and frequently leads to violence. There are also some Batwa (Twa), a tribe of hunters related to the Pygmies of the DROC; the earliest known inhabitants of the region, they now constitute about 1% of the population of Rwanda. There are also small numbers of Asians and Europeans.

LANGUAGES

The main language is Kinyarwanda, a member of the Bantu language family. The official languages are Kinyarwanda, French, and English. Kiswahili, a form of Swahili, is used in commercial centers.

RELIGIONS

European missionaries, notably the White Fathers, introduced Christianity to Rwanda in the late 19th century. A 2001 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.

The constitution allows for freedom of religion; however, some groups have reported restrictions and discrimination from some local government authorities. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated as national holidays.

TRANSPORTATION

In 2002, an estimated 12,000 km (7,457 mi) of road, one of the most intensive systems in all of Africa, radiated through Rwanda, but only about 996 km (620 mi) were paved. Five principal roads connect Kigali to other Rwandan cities, and an asphalted road connects Butare and Cyangugu. Most roads become impassable during the rainy season, and there are few bridges. In 1995, there were 7,868 automobiles, and 2,048 commercial vehicles in use. Bus service connects Kigali to the 10 prefectures. The most important roads for landlocked Rwanda's external trade run from Kigali to Kibungo and from Kigali to Kakitumba, thence connecting by road and rail with Indian Ocean ports in Tanzania and Kenya. About 90% of foreign trade is via the Kakitumba route, which leads to the Kenyan ports via Uganda. Rwanda has no railroads. There is traffic on Lake Kivu to the DROC from Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu, using native craft and shallow-draft barges.

There were an estimated nine airports in 2004, four of which had paved runways as of 2005. International airports are at Kigali-Kanombe and at Kamembe, served by Air Rwanda, Sabena, Air Zaïre, Aeroflot, Air Burundi, Kenya Airways, Air Tanzania, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air France. Direct flights from Europe are available from Brussels, Paris, and Athens. Internal air traffic is provided by Air Rwanda to six domestic airfields.

HISTORY

Stone Age habitation, as far back as 35,000 years, has been reported in the region now called Rwanda. The first known inhabitants of the area were the Twa, a pygmoid group following hunting and gathering subsistence patterns. Later, between the 7th and 10th centuries ad, the Bantu-speaking Hutu people, who followed a settled, agricultural way of life, arrived, probably from the region of the Congo River basin. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, the Tutsi, a pastoral people of Nilotic origin, arrived from the north and formed numbers of small and independent chieftaincies. At the end of the 15th century, a few of these chieftaincies merged to form a state, near Kigali, under the leadership of Ruganzu I Bwimba. In the 16th century, the Tutsi dynasty began a process of expansion that continued into the late 19th century under the prominent Tutsi leader Kigeri IV Rwabugiri (d.1895).

The Tutsi conquest initiated a process of political integration. The ownership of land was gradually transferred from the Hutu tribes to the mwami, the king of the Tutsi, who became the supreme head and, in theory, absolute master of the country. He was the incarnation of the state and enjoyed an almost divine prestige. A feudal social system based on castethe conquering Tutsi and the subject Hutuwas the dominant feature of social relations, and especially of economic and political relations. The ownership of cattle, a vital element in the social system, was controlled by the Tutsi, who in turn parceled out their use to the Hutu. The Hutu did the farming and grew the food, but had no part in government. The Tutsi did no manual labor. To a certain extent, however, the castes were open to each other, and the northwest remained Hutu-controlled. Intermarriage, especially between Tutsi males and Hutu females, was common. The Hutu language, Kinyarwanda, was eventually adopted by the Tutsi.

The first European known to have explored the region was John Hanning Speke, who traveled with Richard Burton to Lake Tanganyika in 1858, where he turned north in his search for the headwaters of the Nile. In 1871, Stanley and Livingstone landed at Bujumbura (now the capital of neighboring Burundi) and explored the Ruzizi River region. After the Berlin Conference of 188485, the German zone of influence in East Africa was extended to include Rwanda and Burundi, and in 1894, a German lieutenant, Count von Götzen, discovered Lake Kivu. Roman Catholic missionaries soon followed. After the mwami submitted to German rule without resistance in 1899, the Germans administered the territory through the traditional authorities in accordance with the laws and customs of the region. Belgium occupied the territory in 1916 during World War I, and was awarded a mandate that was known as Ruanda-Urundi (present-day Rwanda and Burundi) by the League of Nations in 1923. In 1925, an administrative union was formed between the Ruanda-Urundi mandate and the Belgian Congo (now the DROC). A key policy of Belgian rule was the strengthening of the effective control of the Tutsi dynastyunder Belgian supervisionthroughout Ruanda.

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.

In December 1963, following an abortive invasion by Tutsi refugees from Burundi, a massive repression launched against the remaining resident Tutsi population caused the death of an estimated 12,000 Tutsi. The massacre was the signal for a renewed exodus of Tutsi elements into the neighboring territories of Uganda, Tanzania, the Congo (DROC), and Burundi. In all, approximately 150,000 Tutsi fled between 1959 and 1964.

In January 1964, the monetary and economic union that had existed between Burundi and Rwanda was terminated. Despite severe economic difficulties, Grégoire Kayibanda was reelected to a third four-year term as president in 1969. However, continuing internal unrest led the Rwandan army to overthrow the Kayibanda government in July 1973, and Maj. Gen. Juvénal Habyarimana assumed the presidency. His regime, dominated by officers from the north, took a more moderate stand on the issue of Hutu-Tutsi relationships than had the previous administration.

In 1975, he institutionalized his military regime, creating a one-party state under his National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND). A system of ethnic quotas was introduced that formally limited the Tutsi minority to 14% of the positions in the workplace and in the schools.

The regime was corrupt and authoritarian, and popular discontent grew through the 1980s. The MRND agreed to allow partisan competition and several new parties emerged in 1990 and 1991. But the greatest threat to the regime came in October 1990, when over 1,000 Tutsi refugees invaded Rwanda from Uganda. This group, called the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) had considerable success, considering that around 1,000 French, Belgian, and Zairian paratroopers helped defend the government in Kigali. Government forces retaliated by massacring Tutsi. A cease-fire was worked out later in October and Uganda, Burundi, and Zaire agreed to send in peacekeeping forces to supervise it. But fighting broke out again in January 1991. Further cease-fires were negotiated between government and Tutsi rebels in Brussels, Belgium, in March 1991 and in Arusha, Tanzania, in July 1992, but fighting continued.

In November 1990 Habyarimana announced that political parties would be permitted in 1991 and that tribal names would be abolished from national identity cards. In April 1992 Habyarimana appointed an opposition politician, Dismos Nsengiyaremye, as prime minister. The new cabinet included 9 members of the MRND and 10 opposition party members. Their supporters fought in the streets. Hardliners around Habyarimana were accused of trying to sidetrack the democratization process. By June the government had officially recognized 15 opposition parties. Talks with Tutsi leaders continued on power sharing, but the Hutu-Tutsi division appeared to be beyond reconciliation. A power sharing agreement was signed in Tanzania in January 1993, but this failed to end fighting. Another peace agreement was signed on 4 August 1993. The UN Security Council authorized on 5 October 1993 a peacekeeping force to assist in implementing the agreement. Unrest continued and no transitional government, which the agreement called for, was established.

In 1994 a total breakdown occurred. In February the minister of public works was assassinated. His supporters, in turn, murdered an opposition politician. In April, a rocket downed an airplane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi. All aboard were killed. They were returning to Kigali from regional peace talks in Tanzania. From that point on, Rwanda became a killing field as members of the Rwandan army and bands of armed Hutu massacred Tutsis and many moderate Hutus, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. The extremist Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) encouraged and directed the killing. In response, the RPF stepped up its liberation efforts.

By July 1994 several hundred thousand persons had been killed and several hundred thousand more had fled their homes and the country to Burundi, Tanzania, and Zaire. The RPF occupied over half the country, seizing Kigali and restoring some semblance of order. While the international community was aware of the genocide occurring in Rwanda, little was done until the RPF had occupied a large part of the country. The UN approved a large expansion of the limited peacekeeping force in the area as the RPF consolidated its control and established a government of national unity, headed by a Hutu president, Pasteur Bizimungu. Major General Paul Kagame, a leader of the RPF, became minister of defense and vice president. The government announced that Hutu refugees, numbering in the millions, were safe to return to Rwanda, but few believed them and the conditions at the refugee camps, primarily in Zaire, began to deteriorate as disease and starvation became rampant. A 70-member Transitional National Assembly was formed in late 1994 in the hopes of returning order to the country. In February 1995, the UN Security Council created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Meanwhile, the government of Zaire's policy of forcible repatriation proved catastrophic as thousands of refugees died or disappeared. From April 1994 to 1997, some 100,000 Hutu refugees lost their lives while Interahamwe ("those who attack together") guerillassuspected of having perpetrated the genocide in Rwandawere allowed free reign in the camps. In Rwanda, almost 90,000 suspected killers were arrested and detained in miserable conditions in whatever facilities the government could find, including soccer stadiums. The slow pace of the trials was a cause of considerable concern, but UN and Rwandan authorities defended the thoroughness, offering it as evidence that the government was not interested in wholesale revenge. Of the nearly 90,000 prisoners, 1,946 had been indicted by 1997. A process of gacaca trial by local communitiesbegan in June 2002 to speed up the trials of some 119,000 detainees.

When it became clear to Rwanda that the refugee camps in Zaire had become little more than training camps for Hutu paramilitaries, Rwandan and Ugandan troops enlisted Zairian rebel leader Laurent Kabila to oust longtime dictator Mobutu Sese-Seko. In less than eight months Mobutu was overthrown, and Kabila was made president the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in May 1997. A year later, irreconcilable differences between Kabila and Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, led to "Africa's first world war" eventually involving nine African countries. Peace talks in South Africa in 2002 resulted in a formal cease-fire, troop withdrawals, and a plan for a transition government in the DROC, to which Rwanda's proxy, the RCD-Goma, was a signatory. By June 2003 with the backing of UN (MONUC) troops, the transition plan had commenced implementation, but fighting between Congolese soldiers, rebel groups, and Rwandan regulars continued.

In addition to conducting the gacaca trials, Rwanda faced several challenges to national healing and rebuilding. In April 2002, Bizimungu was jailed for possessing documents the government said advocated civil disobedience and ethnic division. (He was held until 2004, when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.) In May 2002, the DROC filed a case with the International Court of Justice in the Hague accusing Rwanda of genocide against 3.5 million people in DROC. By late 2002, some 19,000 Rwandan refugees had been repatriated home from Tanzania, and another 5,000 from Zambia. In June 2003, Kagame signed a new constitution approved by national referendum into law, but international human and civil rights groups feared the constitution would limit multiparty pluralism and freedom of expression.

In March of 2003, a six-member EU election observation mission was sent to Rwanda in anticipation of a referendum to adopt the new constitution to observe election procedures, voting, and the referendum process.

On 26 May, Rwandans participated in a popular vote, which by 93% approved the parliament-supported draft constitution. On 4 June 2003, the new constitution was signed into law.

In July 2003, the government announced that presidential elections would be held on 25 August and parliamentary elections on 29 September, ending nine years of transitional rule. Opposition presidential candidate Faustin Twagiramungu, having returned from eight years in exile, said that he planned to form a new party before the elections, but he called for postponing them to allow more time for organization. However, his former Mouvement Démocratique Républicain was banned and a new law passed, giving political parties 15 days to register again, ahead of the polls, and allowing candidates to run as independentsan option that Twagiramungu chose.

In the first post-genocide presidential election, and the first multiparty election since independence in 1962, Paul Kagame won a landslide victory. He ran on a platform of increased justice, economic growth, national unity, and good governance. As of early 2006, the date of the next presidential election was estimated to be 2008.

GOVERNMENT

The constitution of December 1978 provided for a unitary republic with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The executive was headed by a president elected for a five-year term who presided over the council of ministers and was commander in chief of the armed forces. The secretary-general of the National Revolutionary Movement for Development, the sole legal political party, was empowered to act in the president's stead in the case of incapacity. The president shared legislative power with the country's unicameral legislature, the National Development Council, which consisted of 70 members.

A new constitution was adopted on 18 June 1991. It legalized independent parties. The executive branch consisted of an elected president and a prime minister and a Council of Ministers chosen from the legislature. The unicameral legislature continued the name, National Development Council.

The 4 August 1993 Peace Accord signed with the RPF called for a 22-month transition period leading to multiparty elections and the establishment of several new institutions. By 1994, the Rwandan patriotic Front had established control of the country, instituting a government of national unity, headed by President Pasteur Bizimungu, himself a Hutu.

In May 1995, the 70-seat transitional national assembly (TNA) created a new constitution. In early 2000 Bizimungu resigned, accusing the Tutsi-controlled parliament of unfairly investigating his allies on corruption charges. The vice president, Paul Kigame was inaugurated 22 April 2000, the country's first Tutsi president since independence from Belgium in 1962. In 2001 four additional seatstwo for women and two for youthwere added to the TNA.

The 2003 constitution did not drastically change the composition of government. The executive arm of the government is comprised of the chief of state, the president, and the prime minister, who is head of the government. A Council of Ministers is appointed by the president.

The parliament is comprised of a Chamber of Deputies, which is made up of 80 seats, 53 of which are directly elected, and a 26seat Senate.

POLITICAL PARTIES

In the last years of Belgian administration many political organizations were formed. In March 1957, Grégoire Kayibanda and other young Hutu leaders issued the Hutu Manifesto demanding a continuation of Belgian rule until the Hutu were better prepared to assume a role in political affairs. In June 1957, they formed the Hutu Social Movement, which, in 1959, became the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (Parti du Mouvement de l'Emancipation HutuParmehutu). Parmehutu thereupon set a policy of ending Tutsi rule, drawing political definitions along ethnic lines, and abolishing the feudal system.

The Rwanda National Union Party (Union Nationale RwandaiseUNAR), founded in September 1959 by Prosper Bwanakweli and backed by the mwami, was the leading monarchist party, calling for immediate self-government and independence under a hereditary (Tutsi) constitutional monarchy.

In the 1961 elections, Parmehutu received 77.7% of the votes cast; UNAR won 16.8%, and other minority parties 5.5%. Under a system of proportional representation, 35 of the 44 seats in the National Assembly went to Parmehutu. Parmehutu extended its control in the 1969 elections, and thereafter became the only political party in Rwanda until its disbanding by the military in 1973.

In 1975, President Habyarimana founded and became party president of the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (Mouvement Révolutionnaire Nationale pour le DéveloppementMRND), which became the nation's only legal party. Party membership was automatic at birth. The president of the MRND was the sole candidate in national presidential elections and appointed the party's secretary-general and central committee. In December 1981, the 64 deputies to the National Development Council were elected from 128 candidates chosen by the MRND. In the elections of December 1983, 140 MRND candidates vied for 70 seats in an enlarged Council; 17 former deputies were defeated.

In November 1990, the president announced that opposition political parties would be permitted to organize in 1991. Several new parties emerged, including the Democratic Republican Movement (MDR), the Liberal Party (LP), the Democratic and Socialist Party (PSD), and the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR). The latter, headed by Martin Bucyana, was charged with provoking the 1994 massacres.

Cracks within the Tutsi-based Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the Transitional National Assembly and government of unity widened following corruption probes and political and ethnic infighting.

Following President Bizimungu's resignation, Kagame was overwhelmingly elected president on 17 April 2000 during a special joint session of parliament and the cabinet receiving 81 of a possible 86 votes. Under the Arusha peace accord, the number of seats by party in the transitional government was predetermined and shared by eight parties: FPR 13, Democratic Republican Movement (MDR), 13; Democratic and Socialist Party (PSD), 13; Liberal Party (PL), 13; Christian Democrats (PDC), 6; RPA 6; Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR), 2; Islamic Democrats (PDI), 2; and others, 2.

Legislative elections on 29 September 2003 saw 8 parties and 17 independents compete for representation. On 1 October the RPF, party of President Paul Kagame, won a clear victory with 40 seats. The PSD earned 7 seats, and the PL, 6. The next election for Chamber of Deputies was scheduled for 2008 and for the Senate in 2011.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures, or provinces, which coincide with former Belgian administrative divisions. The prefectures are supposed to be administered by prefects appointed by the president. The former subchiefdoms and extratribal divisions were reorganized into 143 communes or municipalities. The commune, the basic political and administrative unit in Rwanda, is administered by an elected communal council presided over by a mayor. Until recently, communes had limited scope, however, decentralization has given local governments new powers and authorities previously reserved for central government.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Rwandan legal system is based on Belgian and German civil codes and customary tribal law. The main courts in Rwanda are the Supreme Court of six justices, the High Courts of the Republic, provincial courts, district courts, and mediation committees.

Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, certain provisions also give the executive branch and the president authority to appoint and dismiss judges. When the president has the opportunity to nominate for supreme court seats, two nominations are required for each open supreme court seat. In practice, the courts are susceptible to government influence and manipulation.

The constitution guarantees defendants the right to counsel, but not a publicly funded defense. A shortage of attorneys, however, leaves many criminal defendants unrepresented. In many regions the chaos resulting from the 1994 civil war has disrupted the normal functioning of the judicial system. The government asked for help from the international community to rebuild the judiciary and appoint lower court officials.

ARMED FORCES

Rwanda's armed forces totaled 51,000 active personnel in 2005, which included paramilitary forces. The Army had 40,000 personnel, whose equipment included 24 main battle tanks, 106 reconnaissance vehicles, and 155 artillery pieces. The Air Force had an estimated 1,000 active members, whose major equipment included a small number of fixed-wing transport and training aircraft, and seven attack helicopters. Paramilitary forces consisted of up to 10,000 national police and local defense forces of approximately 2,000 members. In 2005, the defense budget totaled $56.8 million. The civil war of 1994 weakened the government armed forces, who could not stop the HutuTutsi tribal conflict.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Rwanda was admitted to the United Nations on 18 September 1962, and is a member of ECA and most of the nonregional specialized agencies, including the FAO, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNIDO, and the WHO. It is also a member of the WTO, the African Development Bank, the ACP Group, COMESA, G-77, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the African Union. In 1976, Rwanda joined Burundi and Zaire (now the DROC) in the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries, formed to develop the economic potential of the basin of Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika; its headquarters are in Gisenyi. In 1977, Rwanda joined Burundi and Tanzania in forming an economic community for the management and development of the Kagera River Basin. Uganda became a part of the community in 1980. Its headquarters are in Kigali. Rwanda is part of the Nonaligned Movement.

In environmental cooperation, Rwanda is part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Rwanda has an agricultural economy with relatively few mineral resources. Coffee and tea are exports. During 198090, the Rwandan GDP annually grew by 2.3%, but the average growth rate declined by 3.6% between 1988 and 1998. The 1994 genocide threw the economy into a negative spiral, but foreign aid in the late 1990s brought about positive growth. Real growth rate of GDP in 2001 was 5%. The country has a high population density (the most densely populated in Africa), intensified by a 1.6% annual population growth rate between 1992 and 1998, which puts pressure on the land and the economy. The manufacturing base is limited to a few basic products. Soil erosion has limited growth in the agricultural sector. Poor markets, lack of natural resources, underdeveloped entrepreneurial and managerial skills, and difficult transportation problems all inhibit economic growth, along with the ethnic massacres of 1994 and the subsequent displacement of population. However, the IMF estimated that during 1995 Rwanda had recovered 40% of its pre-1994 economy. In the late 1990s, the government began a privatization program, in association with the World Bank, although the country has found it difficult to attract foreign investment. Rwanda became eligible in 2000 for $810 million in debt relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Low world coffee prices in the early 2000s deprived Rwanda of hard currency derived from export earnings.

The GDP growth rate was 2.5% in 2004, up from 2.3% in 2003, but significantly lower than the growth rates registered previously (9.5% in 2002); in 2005, the economy was expected to expand again by 4.0%. Since Rwanda is mostly an agricultural subsistence economy, most of this growth can be attributed to the foreign aid. The inflation rate was 12.0% in 2004, up from 7.1% in 2003.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Rwanda's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $11.2 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $1,300. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 8%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 37.6% of GDP, industry 22.8%, and services 39.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $7 million or about $1 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.4% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $332 million or about $39 per capita and accounted for approximately 20.0% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Rwanda totaled $1.42 billion or about $169 per capita based on a GDP of $1.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.5%. It was estimated that in 2001 about 60% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

According to official 2002 estimates, about 3.6 million persons were economically active in Rwanda. As of that year, more than 90% were engaged in subsistence agriculture. The government is the largest single employer of wage laborers. There is no data on unemployment in Rwanda.

The Central Union of Rwandan Workers (CESTRAR), Rwanda's largest and formerly sole authorized trade union organization, separated from the government and the MRND in 1991 as part of the political reforms under the new constitution. Four new independent unions were recognized by the government in 199192: the Union Association of Health Personnel in Rwanda; the Interprofessional Union of Workers of Rwanda; the Union of Secondary School Teachers; and the Association of Christian Unions, which represents public and private sector workers, small businessmen, and subsistence farmers. Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda's union movement has somewhat recovered from the collapse which it, like all other institutions in the country, suffered. About 75% of those active in the modern (wage) sector were unionized as of 2001.

While the pre-genocide labor law is still technically in effect, the government is unable to implement its provisions. The minimum legal age for regular employment is 18 (14 for apprenticeships). Minimum wages vary with position and sector. The legal standard workweek is 40 hours, with 45 being the maximum.

AGRICULTURE

In 2000, about 91% of Rwanda's economically active population earned their living, directly or indirectly, from agriculture. Except for heavily eroded regions, the soil has a good humus content and is fertile, especially in the alluvial valleys and in the volcanic soils of the northwest. About 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) are under cultivation. Subsistence agriculture predominates, and the basic agricultural unit is the small family farm of about one hectare (2.5 acres).

In 2004, the principal food crops (in tons) were plantains, 2,470,000; sweet potatoes, 908,000; cassava, 912,000; potatoes, 1,072,000; dry beans, 198,000; and sorghum, 164,000. The corn crop came to 88,000 tons and the sugarcane crop to 70,000 tons. The plantain crop is used principally for making beer and wine. Coffee, grown by some 600,000 smallholders, is the chief cash crop; in 2004, 20,000 tons were produced. Tea production came to about 14,500 tons in 2004. Coffee and tea together generally contribute 80% to export earnings. Rwanda also exports quinine and pyrethrum.

Rwanda has had devastating periods of famine. In 192829, more than 400,000 Rwandans died or were forced to migrate; in 194344, the figure was 300,000. Government planning has aimed at mitigating such catastrophes by striving for annual increases of food-crop production. Included in the government effort has been the introduction of rice cultivation by agronomists from Taiwan and China. Export diversification has been encouraged by the government, including production of alternatives such as sunflowers, and fruits and vegetables for the European winter market. In 2004, agricultural products accounted for 35% of exports, but there was an agricultural trade deficit of $26 million.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Most farmers also raise livestock. In 2005 there were 1,004,000 head of cattle, 1,340,000 goats, 464,000 sheep, and 347,000 pigs. Chickens were also widely raised; in 2005 there were an estimated 2 million. Total meat production in 2005 was 50,800 tons, with beef and veal accounting for 45%.

The number of cattle owned by an individual has traditionally been a key indicator of status in Rwanda's social system. This factor has resulted in the accumulation of large herds of poor-quality stock. The government is striving to eliminate excess cattle and to improve the remainder by the introduction of modern stock-raising methods.

FISHING

Fishing in the lakes and rivers is principally for local consumption. In 2003, Rwanda produced an estimated catch of 8,427 tons. The presence of methane-producing organisms in Lake Kivu limits the development of aquatic life.

FORESTRY

There are no commercially exploitable woodlands; existing growths are too inaccessible for profitable development, although they are used locally for fuel and building. Erosion and cutting (due to farming and stock raising) have almost entirely eliminated Rwanda's original forests. Remaining growths are concentrated along the top of the Nile-Zaire divide and on the volcanic mountains of the northwest. There are scattered savanna woodlands in the eastern prefectures. Forests cover an estimated 307,000 hectares (759,000 acres). Roundwood removals came to an estimated 5,495,000 cu m (194 million cu ft) in 2003, 91% for fuel.

MINING

Before the massacres of 1994, mineral commodities typically provided 10% of export earnings, mainly from concentrates of tin, tungsten, and colombium-tantalum ores, and gold bullion. Although by the mid-2000s, Rwanda had recovered most of the mineral output lost in 1994, many obstacles continued blocking full utilization of existing resources. Among them were the absence of high-grade ores, the lack of sufficient capital, continued civil unrest, massive population displacements, a 65% poverty rate, a shortage of skilled labor, the country's landlocked status, transportation costs among the highest in Africa, a recent increase in oil prices, a nagging Hutu extremist insurgency, and involvement in two wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2004, mining and quarrying accounted for less than 1% of Rwanda's gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2004, estimated mineral production included: 300 metric tons of tin ore (metal content), compared to 192 metric tons in 2003; tungsten ore, 120 metric tons, compared to 78 metric tons in 2003; cement, 104,205 metric tons; and columbite-tantalite ore and concentrate (gross weight), 200,000 kg, up from 128,000 kg in 2003. There was no recorded mined gold output in 2004. Rwanda also produced natural gas in 2004. Some lava beds of the west and northwest contained potassium compounds useful for fertilizers. Exploitation of the country's peat deposits could become necessary to meet the subsistence farming sector's energy needs, Rwanda's deforestation rate being the third highest in Africa.

The Rwandan mineral industry consisted mostly of a number of small cooperatives and individual artisanal miners who produced ores and concentrates from scattered locations generally in a 30km-wide (18-mi-wide) zone that extended eastwest through Kigali. In 2000, the government privatized Régie d'Exloitation et de Développement des Mines, the state mining exploration company.

ENERGY AND POWER

Rwanda has no proven reserves of coal, crude oil, or oil refining capacity, although the country has proven reserves of natural gas

All of Rwanda's refined petroleum products are imported. In 2002, demand and imports of refined petroleum products each totaled 6,500 barrels per day. These included, 2,000 barrels per day of distillates, 860 barrels per day of gasoline, 3390 barrels per day of jet fuel, and 250 barrels per day of kerosene. Rwanda's proven natural gas reserves, as of January 2003, were estimated at two trillion cu ft. However, in 2002, there was no recorded production of natural gas or natural gas imports.

Rwanda's electrical energy derives chiefly from hydroelectric sources. Electricity production in 2002 totaled 100 million kWh, of which 2% was from fossil fuels and 98% from hydropower. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 120 million kWh. Most of the country's electric power comes from four hydroelectric stations. Additional power is imported from the DROC. Total installed capacity in 2002 was 0.035 million kW, almost all of it hydroelectric.

INDUSTRY

Manufacturing contributed 10% to Rwanda's GDP in 1998. The value added by industry dropped 75% in 1994, reflecting the turmoil and massacres of that year. The industrial sector as a whole contributed 20% to GDP in 2000, and the industrial production growth rate in 2001 was 7%.

Most industrial activity centers around food processing. Manufacturing and processing establishments have been at the artisan level, turning out items such as pottery, wicker baskets, bricks, shoes, tile, and insecticide. Rwanda has light industry which produces sugar, coffee, tea, flour, cigars, beer, wine, soft drinks, metal products, and assembled radios. Rwanda also has textile mills, soap factories, auto repair shops, a match factory, a pyrethrum refinery, and plants for producing paint, cement, pharmaceuticals, and furniture. War in 1994 severely disturbed industry. As of 2001, only 40% of prewar industries had restarted operations. There are abundant natural gas reserves in Lake Kivu, which Rwanda shares with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda has expressed interest in exploiting those reserves, and in 2000, the country planned to build an inland methane gas plant.

The industrial production growth rate was 7% in 2001, stronger than the GDP growth rate. By 2004, industry made up 21.2% of the economy, although it employed only a fraction of the working population; agriculture continues to be the biggest employer (an estimated 90% of all able bodies), and the most important contributor to the economy (41.1%).

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Institute of Agronomical Sciences of Rwanda, attached to the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Institute of Scientific and Technological Research have their headquarters in Butare, and the Directorate of Geological and Mineralogical Research within the Ministry of Industry is in Kigali. The National University of Rwanda, in Butare, has faculties of sciences, medicine, agriculture, and applied sciences. Science and engineering students account for about 30% of college and university enrollments. In 198797, research and development expenditures totaled less than 0.1% of GNP. There were 8 technicians and 35 scientists and engineers per million people engaged in research and development.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Kigali is the main commercial center in Rwanda. There are a few small supermarkets in Kigali offering imported items at rather high prices. However, smaller outdoor marketplaces selling locally produced foods and goods predominate in most areas. Nearly 90% of the work force is employed in agriculture, primarily at a subsistence level.

Business hours are from 8 am to noon and from 2 to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Banks are open from 8:30 am to noon and from 2 to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

FOREIGN TRADE

Between 1996 and 1999, exports grew 424%, while imports grew by a considerably smaller 25%. However, the value of imports still equals more than four times the value of exports. Imports for 1999 consisted chiefly of food, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement, and construction material.

Rwanda's main commodity exports are coffee (56%) and tea (27%). Other exports include gold (17%) and animal hides and skins (0.9%).

In 2004, exports reached $70 million (FOBfree on board), while imports grew to $260 million (FOB). The bulk of exports went to Indonesia (64.2%), China (3.6%), and Germany (2.7%). Imports included foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material, and mainly came from Kenya (24.4%), Germany (7.4%), Belgium (6.6%), Uganda (6.3%), and France (5.1%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

The current account balance in relation to GDP was consistently negative through the 1990s, not only because of the 1994 genocide. Although the economy improved dramatically post-1994, export earnings in the early 2000s were hindered by low international coffee prices, depriving the country of hard currency. Rwanda's external debt stood at $1.3 billion in 2000. In the same year, Rwanda became eligible for $810 million in debt service relief from the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 50.4 261.2 -210.8
Kenya 20.6 74.1 -53.5
Uganda 13.4 20.0 -6.6
Tanzania 4.1 14.7 -10.6
United Kingdom 3.1 4.3 -1.2
Congo (DROC) 2.1 2.1
Burundi 1.2 1.2
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 0.8 1.5 -0.7
Belgium 0.8 31.9 -31.1
China 0.6 5.0 -4.4
Pakistan 0.6 2.1 -1.5
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account -126.2
   Balance on goods -166.1
     Imports -233.3
     Exports 67.2
   Balance on services -136.3
   Balance on income -18.8
   Current transfers 194.9
Capital Account 65.9
Financial Account 75.5
   Direct investment abroad
   Direct investment in Rwanda 2.6
   Portfolio investment assets
   Portfolio investment liabilities
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets 8.0
   Other investment liabilities -64.9
Net Errors and Omissions -36.0
Reserves and Related Items 20.8
() data not available or not significant.

(HIPC) initiative. In 2002, the IMF approved a three-year $5 million loan to Rwanda.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Rwanda's exports was $61 million while imports totaled $248 million resulting in a trade deficit of $187 million.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Rwanda had exports of goods totaling $93 million and imports totaling $245 million. The services credit totaled $50 million and debit $189 million.

Exports of goods and services reached $70 million in 2004, up from $63 million in 2003. Imports grew from $244 million in 2003 to $273 million in 2004. The resource balance was consequently negative in both years, reaching -$181 million in 2003, and -$176 million in 2004. The current account balance was also negative, improving from -$132 million in 2003 to -$53 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (excluding gold) grew to $315 million in 2004, covering more than a year of imports.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

From 1922 until the independence of Zaire (Belgian Congo, now DROC) in 1960, the monetary and banking systems of Rwanda and Burundi were integrated with those of the Congo. In July 1962, upon becoming independent, Rwanda and Burundi formed a joint monetary union administered by a common central bank. This bank was dissolved, and its functions as a central banking institution were transferred, in April 1964, to the National Bank of the Republic of Rwanda. The Banque nationale du Rwanda (BNR) was looted in July 1994 but reopened later in the year and has since reopened its branches in Butare and Ruhengeri. The bank imposes foreign exchange controls and administers the import licensing system.

There are four main commercial banks, of which two predate the war and two were established in 1995. The former are the Banque de Kigali, which is jointly owned by the state and two Belgian institutionsBelgolaise Bank and Générale de Banqueand the Banque commerciale du Rwanda, which is majority state-owned. The new institutions are the Banque de commerce, développement, et l'industrie (BCDI), whose main shareholders are Rwandans, and the Gold Trust Bank of Rwanda, whose main shareholders are Ugandan Asians. Rwanda also has a savings bank and a postal savings bank. The Rwandese Bank of Development and the People's Bank of Rwanda are the nation's development banks. The Banque Rwandaise de Développement (BRD) was also looted but reopened in mid-1995 with a large amount of bad debt.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $143.6 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $285.9 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 13%. There is no stock exchange in Rwanda.

INSURANCE

The Rwandan National Insurance Co., formed in 1975, is 90% state-owned. The Rwandan Insurance Society was founded in 1984. Insurance companies wishing to do business in Rwanda must be at least 51% Rwandan owned. Sonarwa and Soras, owned by the French group UAP, restarted operations on a modest scale.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Rwanda has both an ordinary budget for recurrent operations and a development budget for controlling development projects. In the 1960s and 1970s, prudent public finance management and generous foreign aid helped keep deficits and inflation low. With the fall of coffee prices during the 1980s, however, the government increased its control over the economy, and raised annual budget deficits to the equivalent of 11% of GDP by 1990. In 1998, Rwanda signed a structural adjustment facility with the IMF, and started privatization of state-owned enterprises with the World Bank.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Rwanda's central government took in revenues of approximately $509.9 million and had expenditures of $584.6 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$74.7 million. Total external debt was $1.4 billion.

TAXATION

Direct taxation includes a tax on industrial and commercial profits, at 35% in 2005. Taxes on dividends and a turnover (sales) tax are also levied. Indirect taxation, forming the bulk of government tax revenue, is derived largely from import and export duties.

Individual taxes are levied in accordance with a progressive schedule with five brackets with a top rate of 35%. The tax law of 2002 provides for a number of additional deductions in calculating taxable income including pension payments, disability benefits, medical expenses, travel expenses, and on-the-job meal and training expenses. Diplomats and diplomatic staff, high ranking executives of international organizations, as well as persons and companies under special agreements ratified by law, are given special tax exemptions. Privileged persons include those dealing in exports as well as with donor-funded projects under an agreement with the government of Rwanda and the donor.

Rwanda has legislated a value-added tax (VAT) with a standard rate of 18% on all taxable goods and services.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Import duties have been the most important source of tax revenues since independence. There are two kinds of duties, both levied ad valorem: customs duties, averaging 1530%, and revenue duties, averaging 515% (up to 60% for some goods). A 1% handling fee is also levied. Most imports require a license. Rwanda is a member of Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Rwanda has attempted to attract foreign investment. The investment code of 1 July 1962, modified in 1977, offers preferential treatment to foreign companies judged to be of primary importance. These advantages include reduction of, or exemption from, import duties and exemption from the tax on dividends for the first five years. Profits may be repatriated at the official exchange rate. There are no restrictions on personnel recruitment and no demands for Africanization. Nevertheless, foreign investment is small because of Rwanda's small domestic market, inadequate infrastructure, and civil turmoil. Net direct foreign investment in 1995 was $1 million (0.1% of GDP), down from $8 million in 1990. In contrast, foreign aid in 1995 amounted to $711 million, or over 50% of GDP.

In 2004, Rwanda was still heavily dependent on foreign aid (which represented 51% of the government's budget), and lacked a strong middle class and infrastructure developments that usually are sought after by private investors.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Rwanda's attempt to establish food self-sufficiency has delayed many of its development plans in other sectors. Rwanda typically receives foreign aid from various European donors and the EU. After the 1994 genocide, Rwandan officials requested $1.4 billion from the UN for reconstruction. Net concessional aid from international financial institutions and UN organizations in 1994 amounted to $226 million. Foreign aid continued to rise in 1995, and leveled out through the late 1990s. Working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Rwanda hopes to restructure the economy and privatize the public sector in order to foster growth.

In 2000, Rwanda became eligible for $810 million in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In 2002, the IMF approved a $5.6 million three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement for Rwanda. Economic performance improved in the early 2000s. Demobilization and reintegration of army soldiers and ex-combatants, the jurisdiction of trials related to the genocide (gacaca courts), and assistance to genocide victims were priorities for government expenditure in 200203.

Economic growth in 2005 was, as a result of a good harvest year, higher than predicted. In addition to a strong agriculture sector, services and mining are expected to perform well. Rwanda remains, however, a poverty-stricken country that is heavily dependent on aid from abroad. In addition, it faced criticism from international donors and lending agencies following increased expenditures on defense.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Social security programs aimed at meeting the individual's basic welfare needs have been established in law since independence. Old age pensions for workers, sickness and maternity benefits, and payments for those injured on the job are provided for all salaried workers. The system is funded by contributions from employees and employers. Old age pensions are available from age 55 to 65, unless the person is deemed prematurely aged. Most of the population live in poverty and engage in subsistence agriculture.

Although sex discrimination is outlawed by the constitution, women have only limited property rights and are not treated equally in employment, education, and other areas. However, women were elected to 40% of the seats in parliament in 2003. Domestic violence and wife beating are prevalent. Child labor and human trafficking are widespread.

The government's human rights record remains poor. Arbitrary arrest and detention continue, as well as life-threatening prison conditions. Freedom of speech and of the press are severely restricted.

HEALTH

In 1995, an estimated 500,000800,000 Rwandan refugees fled to neighboring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Almost 50,000 died during the first month after the exodus, many of diarrheal diseases. In normal times, malnutrition is the greatest health problem in Rwanda. Animal proteins and fats are scarce. Kwashiorkor, a protein-calorie deficiency, is common, contributing to the death of many children and to liver trouble in older individuals; it also increases the severity of other prevalent diseases, among them pneumonia, tuberculosis, measles, whooping cough, and dysentery. Malaria and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) are endemic. AIDS is a very serious issue in Rwanda. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 5.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 250,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 22,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

Poor sanitation measures and water pollution also cause serious health problems; in was estimated that 41% of the population had access to safe drinking water and only 8% had adequate sanitation. Tuberculosis remains prevalent. Immunization rates for children up to one year of age included diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 77%, and measles, 66%.

As of 2004, it was estimated that there were fewer than 2 physicians and 21 nurses per 100,000 people. Health care expenditure was estimated at 4.1% of GDP. The World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and UNICEF provide aid in public health services. Since the late 1960s, the UN, Belgium, France, and the United States have been assisting Rwanda in specific health-related projects.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 33.3 and 21.4 per 1,000 people. Average life expectancy in 2005 was 46.96 years with the infant mortality rate estimated at 91.23 per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality was 210 per 100,000 live births. These rates do not include about 2,000 war-related deaths between 1991 and 1992 (Tutsi and Hutu conflict) and over 500,000 deaths in 1994 (mostly of Tutsi civilians by Hutu militias).

HOUSING

The basic type of housing in the rural areas has been a structure that is most commonly beehive-shaped, made of mud bricks and poles, and covered with thatch. These residences are dispersed in the collines, farms organized on a family basis, and they accounted for 89% of Rwanda's housing units in 1978. However, in recent years the government initiated a National Habitat Program aimed at improving rural housing conditions and providing new housing for a large number of returning refugees and genocide survivors. One project of "villagization" is meant to construct rural village communities where public services and utilities might be provided more easily and, perhaps, with greater quality. Controversy exists over this project, since it is believed that some rural residents may be forcibly relocated from current homes to the new villages as they are consolidated into specific settlement areas. Part of the program includes a directive that will zone particular areas for housing and prohibit residence in nondesignated areas. Government policies have also been criticized because they do not necessarily address the existing housing shortage, but focus on accommodating returned refugees.

With international assistance, the government has renovated about 100,000 homes. As of 1998, it was estimated that at least 400,000 units, about 25% of the nation's housing stock, was in need of reconstruction or repair simply to accommodate for returning refugees. In 2002, there were about 1,757,426 households representing 7,963,809 people. About 94% of all households lived in a single-family structure. Most families live in homes made of wood and mud or sun-dried mud bricks with an earthen floor. Zinc or tiles are the most common type of roofing material. About 59% of all households get drinking water from a well or spring. Only about 6,729 households have a flush toilet. About 86% of all housing is owner occupied.

EDUCATION

There were no public schools in Rwanda until the 1950s and secondary education was then attainable only at a school founded in 1929 at Butare by Roman Catholic missionaries. With independence, Rwanda began a major expansion of its educational programs; in 1989, education accounted for 25.4% of total government expenditure. However, the Catholic Church continues to play the leading role in education.

Education is free and compulsory for six years, generally for children ages 7 to 13, but the law is not widely enforced. Primary school is for six years, followed by three years of junior and three years of senior secondary education. Technical school programs are available for students at the secondary level. Most primary and secondary schools are under the direction of religious missions, but many receive state subsidies. The academic year runs from September to June.

As of 2001, less than 3% of children between the ages of four and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 87% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was estimated at less than 10% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 37% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 60:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 27:1. In 2003, private schools accounted for about 1% of primary school enrollment and 44% of secondary enrollment.

The National University of Rwanda at Butare was founded in 1963 by the government and a Canadian Roman Catholic order. Other known institutions are the African and Mauritian Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics in Kigali. In 2003, it was estimated that about 3% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 64%, with 70.5% for men and 58.8% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.8% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The largest library collection is at the National University, which had approximately 199,000 volumes. There is a government library in Kigali, with about 15,000 volumes, and smaller collections are found in the administrative centers of the other prefectures. A National Library was founded in 1989 and had a collection of about 6,000 volumes in 2002. A library of 30,000 volumes is maintained at the Dominican Monastery in Kigali and the French Cultural Institute also maintains a collection in the capital. The Kigali Public Library, Rwanda's first public library, was still under construction as of 2006, with an expected opening day in 2007.

The National Museum in Butare contains an important collection for the study of the cultural evolution of the country and is housed in a building inaugurated in January 1989. An ethnological museum is maintained in Kabgayi and a geological museum in Ruhengeri. Kigali is home to the Geological Museum of Rwanda.

MEDIA

Telephone and telegraphic communications are the responsibility of the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, and Transport. Telephone service is limited to Kigali and a few other important centers and is primarily for business and government use. In 2003, there were an estimated 3 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 16 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The government-operated Radio of the Rwandan Republic provides domestic broadcasting service in French, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda. Television Rwandaise is the state-operated television broadcaster. As of 2005 there were at least five private radio stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 85 radios for every 1,000 people. The number of televisions in use is estimated at less than 1,000 nationwide. Also in 2003, 3 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.

ARP, a French-language daily press bulletin containing news of government activities, had a circulation of 100,000 in 2002. Imvaho, a weekly, had a circulation of 51,000. La Releve, a monthly, reached 1,700. All of these are published by the government. The New Times and the Rwanda Herald are privately owned, English-language papers.

The Fundamental Law provides for freedom of the press. However, it is said that the government harasses and intimidates the media at any reporting of views contrary to its goals.

ORGANIZATIONS

Under the Belgian administration, various commercial, agricultural, and welfare organizations were founded, and many have continued in operation since independence. There is a chamber of commerce and industry in Kigali and the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, to assist in business and trade. The government has also supported the growth of agricultural cooperatives.

Scouting and YMCA/YWCA programs are available for youth. There are sports associations promoting amateur competitions for athletes of all ages. Organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of women include the Federation of African Women Peace Networks, Pro-Femmes, and the Rwandan Women's Network. There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, CARE International, UNICEF, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Caritas.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Tourism had declined in the 1990s due to war and economic factors. In 1997 new hotels and inns were opened in an attempt to rejuvenate the tourism industry. Tourists are drawn by Rwanda's mountain gorillas, wild game preserve, and by hiking opportunities in the Volcano National Park and the Akagera National Park.

A valid passport is required of all tourists, and a visa is necessary for all but the nationals of the United States, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required of all visitors. Malaria, meningitis, hepatitis, and typhoid are health risks.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Kigali was $177. Other areas were significantly less at $69 per day.

FAMOUS RWANDANS

Kigeri IV Rwabugiri (d.1895) was one of the most famous rulers of the precolonial Rwanda kingdom. Grégoire Kayibanda (192476), the first president of independent Rwanda, studied for the priesthood and became a teacher. He founded Parmehutu, the party that led the move to independence. Juvénal Habyarimana (193794) became president in July 1973 and remained in office until 1994, when a new government was established with Pasteur Bizimungu (b.1951) as president. Paul Kagame (b.1957), the founder of the Rwandese Patriotic Front and president of the country, is most well known for his role on the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and his destabilising role in the Second Congo War.

DEPENDENCIES

The Republic of Rwanda has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adelman, Howard and Astri Suhrke, (eds.). The Path of a Genocide: the Rwanda Crisis from Uganda to Zaire. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1999.

Carr, Rosamond Halsey. Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda. New York: Viking, 1999.

Chrétien, Jean-Pierre. The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History. New York: Zone Books, 2003.

Des Forges, Alison Liebhafsky. "Leave None to Tell the Story": Genocide in Rwanda. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999.

Dorsey, Learthen. Historical Dictionary of Rwanda. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1994.

. Historical Dictionary of Rwanda [computer file]. Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

Education in Rwanda: Rebalancing Resources to Accelerate Post-Conflict Development and Poverty Reduction. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2004

Jennings, Christian. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Heart of Darkness. London: Phoenix, 2001.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Nyankanzi, Edward L. Genocide: Rwanda and Burundi. Rochester, Vt.: Schenkman Books, 1998.

Press, Robert M. The New Africa: Dispatches From a Changing Continent. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1999.

Scherrer, Christian P. Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

Turner, Pamela S. Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes. Boston: Houghton Miffl in, 2005.

Uvin, Peter. Aiding Violence: the Development Enterprise in Rwanda. West Hartford, Conn.: Kumarian Press, 1998.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Rwanda

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the June 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Rwanda

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities—Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.

Terrain: Uplands and hills.

Climate: Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Rwandan(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 8,648,248.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 2.43%.

Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%.

Religions: Christian 93.5%, traditional African 0.1%, Muslim 4.6%, 1.7% claim no religious beliefs.

Languages: French, English, Kin-yarwanda.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—75% (prewar). Literacy—70.4%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006 est.)—89.61 deaths/1,000. Life expectancy (2005 est.)—47.3 years.

Work force: Agriculture—90%; industry and commerce, services, and government—8%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: July 1, 1962.

Constitution: May 26, 2003.

Government branches: Executive—president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Broad-based government of national unity formed after the 1994 civil war. Elections in 2003 elected a president, 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and 26-member Senate. Legislative—Chamber of Deputies; Senate. Judicial—Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees.

Political subdivisions: 4 provinces plus Kigali; 30 districts; 416 sectors; 2,148 cells.

Political parties: There are nine political parties, including the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which leads a coalition that includes the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR), the Ideal [formerly Islamic] Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR). Other parties include the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), the Concord Progressive Party (PPC), and the Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP).

Suffrage: Universal for citizens over 18—except refugees, prisoners, and certain categories of convicts.

Budget: (2000 est.) 31.7 billions of Rwandan francs ($29 million) Revenues—$28 million. Expenditures—$29 million.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $1.817 billion.

Real GDP growth rate: (2006 est.) 5.8%.

Per capita income: (2004 est.) $206. Purchasing power parity (2006 est.) $1,600.

Average inflation rate: (2006 est.) 6.7%.

Agriculture: (2006) 39.4% of GDP. Products—coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes, livestock.

Industry: (2006) 23.3% of GDP. Types—cement, agricultural products, beer production, soft drinks, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals.

Services: (2006) 37.3%

Trade: (2006 est.) Exports—$135.4 million: tea, coffee, coltan, cassiterite, hides, iron ore, and tin. Major markets—China, Belgium, and Germany. Imports (2006 est.)—$390.4 million f.o.b.: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement, and construction material. Major suppliers—Kenya, Germany, Belgium, France, Uganda, and Israel.

GEOGRAPHY

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend south-east from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.

Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda's high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73o F (23o C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and north-western mountains than in the eastern savannas.

PEOPLE

Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is currently the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population (85%), are traditionally farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis (14%) are traditionally a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattle holding. The Twa (1%) are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Over 70% of the adult population is literate, but not more than 5% have received secondary education. During 1994-95, most primary schools and more than half of prewar secondary schools reopened. The national university in Butare reopened in April 1995; enrollment is over 7,000. Rebuilding the educational system continues to be a high priority of the Rwandan Government.

HISTORY

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle breeders began arriving in the area from the Horn of Africa in the 15th century and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a mwami (king) and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi nobles and gentry. Through a contract known as ubuhake, the Hutu farmers pledged their services and those of their descendants to a Tutsi lord in return for the loan of cattle and use of pastures and arable land. Thus, the Tutsi reduced the Hutu to virtual serfdom. However, boundaries of race and class became less distinct over the years as some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu. The first European known to have visited Rwanda was German Count Von Goetzen in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the “White Fathers.” In 1899, the mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country.

After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARME-HUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum.

During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.

Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime.

Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the PARMEHUTU Party and abolished all political activity.

In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the “hillside” to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.

Under MRND aegis, Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed President Habyarimana as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one-party state into a multi-party democracy.

On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in the diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost 2 years until a ceasefire accord was signed July 12, 1992, in Arusha, Tanzania, fixing a timetable for an end to the fighting and political talks, leading to a peace accord and power sharing, and authorizing a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity. A ceasefire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992.

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed. As though the shooting down was a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis and political moderates, regardless of their ethnic background.

The prime minister and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia—Interahamwe. Even ordinary citizens were called on to kill their neighbors by local officials and government-sponsored radio. The president's MRND Party was impli-

cated in organizing many aspects of the genocide. The RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha accords came under attack immediately after the shooting down of the president's plane. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF units in the north. The RPF then resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for 2 months. French forces landed in Goma, Zaire, in June 1994 on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called “Zone Turquoise,”quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there. The Rwandan Army was quickly defeated by the RPF and fled across the border to Zaire followed by some 2 million refugees who fled to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended on July 16, 1994. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. Up to 800,000 had been murdered, another 2 million or so had fled, and another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The United States was one of the largest contributors. The UN peacekeeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.

Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire in October 1996, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last 2 weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996.

In 2001, the government began implementation of a grassroots village-level justice system, known as gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. Despite periodic prison releases, including the most recent January 2006 release of approximately 7,000 prisoners, tens of thousands of individuals remain in the prison system, some scheduled to face the traditional court system, some awaiting trial by gacaca courts, some convicted by gacaca courts and returned to serve their sentences. By the end of 2006, 818,000 genocide suspects had been identified by the gacaca courts. These courts hope to complete their caseload by the end of 2008.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After its military victory in July 1994, the RPF organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Habyarimana in 1992. Called “The Broad Based Government of National Unity,” its fundamental law is based on a combination of the June 1991 constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND Party was outlawed. In April 2003, the transitional National Assembly recommended the dissolution of the Democratic Republican Party (MDR), one of eight political parties participating in the Government of National Unity since 1994. Human rights groups noted the subsequent disappearances of political figures associated with the MDR, including at least one parliamentarian serving in the National Assembly. On May 26, 2003, Rwanda adopted a new constitution that eliminated reference to ethnicity and set the stage for presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003. The seven remaining political parties endorsed incumbent Paul Kagame for president, who was elected to a 7-year term on August 25, 2003. Rwanda held its first-ever legislative elections September 29 to October 2, 2003. A ninth political party formed after these 2003 elections. In the spring of 2006, the government conducted local nonpartisan elections for district mayors and for sector and cell executive committees.

Challenges facing the government include promoting further democratization and judicial reform; prosecuting hundreds of thousands of individuals for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide, either by the regular court system or the gacaca system; preventing the recurrence of any insurgency among ex-military and Interahamwe militia who remain in eastern Congo; and the continuing work on medium-and long-term development planning.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Paul KAGAME

Prime Min.: Bernard MAKUZA

Min. of Agriculture & Animal Resources: Anastase MUREKEZI

Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives: Protais MITA

Min. of Defense & National Security: Marcel GATSINZI, Maj. Gen.

Min. of Education: Jeanne d'Arc MUJAWAMARIYA

Min. of Finance & Economic Planning: James MUSONI

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Regional Cooperation: Charles MURIGANDE

Min. of Health: Jean-Damascene NTAWUKURIRYAYO, Dr.

Min. of Infrastructure: Stanislas KAMANZI

Min. of Internal Security: Fazil Musa HARERIMANA

Min. of Justice: Tharcisse KARUGARAMA

Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry,Water, & Natural Resources: Christopher BAZIVAMO

Min. of Local Govt, Good Governance, Community Development, & Social Affairs: Protais MUSONI

Min. of Public Service & Labor: Manasseh NSHUTI

Min. of Youth, Culture, & Sports: Joseph HABINEZA

Min. in the Office of the Pres.: Solina NYIRAHABIMANA

Min. in the Office of the Pres. in Charge of Science, Technology, & Scientific Research: Romain MURENZI

Min. in the Office of the Prime Min. in Charge of Gender & Women in Development: Valerie NYIRAHABINEZA

Min. in the Office of the Prime Min. in Charge of Information: Laurent NKUSI

Min. of State, Min. of Agriculture & Animal Resources, in Charge of Agriculture: Daphrose GAHAKWA

Min. of State, Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives, in Charge of Industry & Investment Promotion: Vincent KAREGA

Min. of State, Min. of Education, in Charge of Primary & Secondary Education: Joseph MUREKERAHO

Min. of State, Min. of Finance & Economic Planning, in Charge of Economic Planning: Monique NSANZABAGANWA

Min. of State, Min. of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation, in Charge of Cooperation: Rosemary MUSEMINARI

Min. of State, Min. of Health, in Charge of HIV/AIDS & Other Epidemics: Innocent NYARUHIRIRA, Dr.

Min. of State, Min. of Infrastructure, in Charge of Energy & Communications: Albert BUTARE

Min. of State, Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, & Natural Resources, in Charge of Water & Mines: Bikoro MUNYANGANIZI

Min. of State, Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, & Natural Resources, in Charge of Lands & Environment: Patricia HAJABAKIGA

Min. of State, Min. of Local Govt., Good Governance, Community Development, & Social Affairs, in Charge of Social Community Development Affairs: Christine NYATANYI

Min. of State, Min. of Publice Service & Labor, in Charge of Labor: Angelina MUGANZA

Attorney Gen.: Tharcisse KARUGARAMA

Governor, Central Bank: Francois KANIMBA

Ambassador to the US: Zac NSENGA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Joseph NSENGIMANA

Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).

ECONOMY

The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rain-fed agricultural production of small, semi-subsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms. It has few natural resources to exploit and a small, uncompetitive industrial sector. While the production of coffee and tea is well suited to the small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates of Rwanda, farm size continues to decrease, especially in view of government ownership of all land and the resettlement of displaced persons. Agribusiness accounts for 37.6% (2005 est.) of Rwanda's GDP and 70% of exports. Tea accounts for 60% of export earnings, followed by coffee and pyrethrum (whose extract is used in insect repellant). Mountain gorillas serve as a potentially important source of tourism revenue, but Rwanda's tourism and hospitality sector requires further development. Rwanda is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Some 34% of Rwanda's imports originate in Africa, 90% from COMESA countries. The genocide continues to impact Rwanda's economy; as of 2003, 30% of the Rwanda Development Bank's outstanding non-performing loans originated from the period of 1994 genocide. The Government of Rwanda has sought to privatize several key firms. Rwandatel, the government fixed-line provider and the country's second-largest mobile phone provider, was sold to American-led Terracom in 2006. The government in the last several years also sold off several government-owned tea estates, and made great strides in completing privatization of the bank-ing sector. Electrogaz, the utility monopoly, remains to be privatized, as do several other parastatals.

During the 5 years of civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide, GDP declined in 3 out of 5 years, posting a dramatic decline at more than 40% in 1994, the year of the genocide. The 9% increase in real GDP for 1995, the first postwar year, signaled the resurgence of economic activity, due primarily to massive foreign aid.

In the immediate postwar period—mid-1994 through 1995—emergency humanitarian assistance of more than $307.4 million was largely directed to relief efforts in Rwanda and in the refugee camps in neighboring countries where Rwandans fled during the war. In 1996, humanitarian relief aid began to shift to reconstruction and development assistance.

Since 1996, Rwanda has experienced steady economic recovery, thanks to foreign aid (averaging $200 million to over $400 million per year) and governmental reforms. Since 2002, the GDP growth rate has ranged from 3%-9% per annum, and inflation had ranged between 2%-8%. Rwanda depends on significant foreign imports ($243-$300 million per year). Export rates remain weak at $135.4 million per year. Private investment remains below expectations despite an open trade policy, a favorable investment climate, cheap and abundant labor, tax incentives to businesses, stable internal security, and crime rates that are comparatively low. Investment insurance also is available through the Africa Trade Insurance Agency or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The weakness of exports as well as low domestic savings rates have had a negative impact on the current account for Rwanda, thus requiring a recent currency devaluation and debt restructuring measures.

The Government of Rwanda remains committed to a strong and enduring economic climate for the country. To this end the government focuses on poverty reduction, infrastructure development, privatization of government-owned assets, expansion of the export base, and liberalization of trade. The implementation of a value added tax of 18% and improved tax collections are having a positive impact on government revenues and thereby services rendered. Banking reform and low corruption also are favorable current trends. Agricultural reforms, improved farming methods, and increased use of fertilizers are improving crop yields and national food supply. Moreover, the government is pursing educational and healthcare programs that bode well for the long-term quality of Rwanda's human resource skills base.

Many challenges remain for Rwanda. Rwanda is dependent on significant foreign aid. Exports continue to lag far behind imports and will continue to affect the current account. Inflation may become a problem should the government resort to over-printing currency for short-term gains. The persistent lack of economic diversification beyond the production of tea, coffee, and coltan keeps the country vulnerable to market fluctuations. Rwanda's landlocked situation necessitates strong highway infrastructure maintenance, and good transport linkages to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Tanzania, are critical. Transportation costs remain high and, therefore, burden import and export costs. Rwanda has no railway system for port access in Tanzania, although the nearest railhead from Kigali is 380 kilometers away at Isaka, Tanzania. The development of small manufacturing and service industries is needed, and the tourism industry has far greater potential given the current stability, travel infrastructure, and available animal parks as well as other potential tourist sites. In 2006, Rwanda completed the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative and the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt initiative, significantly lowering its foreign debt load.

American business interest in Rwanda, other than in tea and tele-communications, is weak, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has yet to make a significant impact in Rwanda. Energy needs will stress natural resources in wood and gas, but hydroelectric power development is underway, albeit primarily in the planning stages. Rwanda does not have nuclear power or coal resources. Finally, Rwanda's fertility rate—averaging 5.43 births (2006 est.) per woman—will continue to stress services, and diseases such as AIDS/HIV transmission, malaria, and tuberculosis will have a major impact on human resources. Rwanda's government-run radio broadcasts 15 hours a day in English, French, and Kin-yarwanda, the national languages. News programs include regular rebroadcasts from international radio such as Voice of America, BBC and Deutsche Welle. There is one government-operated television station. In addition to government-operated Radio Rwanda, there are nine independent FM radio stations. There are few independent newspapers; most newspapers publish in Kinyarwanda on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Several Western nations, including the United States, are working to encourage freedom of the press, the free exchange of ideas, and responsible journalism.

DEFENSE

The military establishment is comprised of a well-trained army and a small, rotary-wing air force. Defense spending continues to represent a disproportionate share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in the aftermath of the war. Following withdrawal of Rwandan Armed Forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2002, the government completely restructured the military and launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers. At end state, Rwanda will have a small, well-equipped army of 25,000 soldiers.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Rwanda is an active member of the international community and has remained in the international spotlight since the genocide. Rwanda is an active member of the UN, having presided over the Security Council during part of 1995. The UN assistance mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), a UN Chapter Six peacekeeping operation, involved personnel from more than a dozen countries. Most of the UN development and humanitarian agencies have had a large presence in Rwanda. At the height of the humanitarian emergency, more than 200 nongovernmental organizations were carrying out humanitarian operations. In addition to receiving assistance from the international community, Rwanda has also contributed to international peacekeeping missions. They have sent peacekeeping forces to many hotspots on the African continent. In 2004, Rwanda deployed 392 peacekeepers in support of the UN Mission to the Sudan. In 2005, Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) deployed 1,898 soldiers in support of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

Several west European and African nations, including Canada, China, Egypt, Libya, Russia, the Vatican, and the European Union maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali. In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, in accordance with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.

In the fall of 2006, Rwanda broke diplomatic relations with France, following a French judges indictment of senior Rwandan officials on charges of having participated in the shooting down of the presidential jet in 1994. Rwanda rejects these charges. Rwanda, along with Burundi, will join the East African Community in 2007.

U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

In the post-crisis period, U.S. Government interests have shifted from strictly humanitarian to include the prevention of renewed regional conflict, the promotion of internal stability, and renewed economic development. The United States was the principal donor for Rwanda's humanitarian demining program, providing over $11 million to help remove the scourge of landmines. As of October 2003, one million square meters of landmines were estimated to remain in Rwanda, 80% of which lay in two identified minefields.

A major focus of bilateral relations is the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) “transition” program, which aims to promote internal stability and to increase confidence in the society. To achieve this, USAID is trying to achieve three strategic objectives under an integrated strategic plan:

  • Increased rule of law and transparency in governance;
  • Increased use of health and social services and changed behavior related to sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus and maternal and child health by building service capacity in target regions; and
  • Increased ability of rural families in targeted communities to improve household food security.

The mission currently is implementing activities in humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation—women's income-generating initiatives, shelter, family relocation for children, administration of justice, increased local government capacity, improved health service delivery, AIDS and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, and enhanced food security.

The State Department's Public Affairs section maintains a cultural center in Kigali, which offers public access to English-language publications and information on the United States. American business interests have been small; currently, private U.S. investment is limited to the tea industry. Annual U.S. exports to Rwanda, under $10 million annually from 1990-93, exceeded $40 million in 1994 and 1995, but decreased to only $10.2 million in 2005.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

KIGALI (E) Blvd. de la Revolution, (250) 505-601/2/3, Fax MAILROOM-(250)572-128, ADM (250)501-207, PD (250)507-143, USAID (250)573-950 & 574-735, CDC:(250)502-679, INMAR-SAT Tel 873-150-7504, Workweek: M-T 0800-1730, Fri 0800-1300, Website: http://kigali.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Diny Laurello
AMB OMS:Patricia Marks
ECO/COM:Alexander Sokoloff
FM:Steven Morse
MGT:Pamela J. Mansfield
POL ECO:Jennifer Orrico
AMB:Michael R. Arietti
CON:Emily Shaffer
DCM:Cheryl J. Sim
PAO:Brian George
GSO:Joanny Yameogo
RSO:Gregory Anderson
AFSA:Ryan Washburn
AID:Vacant
CLO:Leah Morse
DAO:MAJ Ronald Miller
EEO:Janice Anderson
FMO:Janice Anderson
ICASS:Chair Richard Kaminski
IMO:A. Bryan Thibodeau
IPO:A. Bryan Thibodeau
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (Resident In Paris)
ISSO:Christopher Fletcher
POL:Richard Kaminski
State ICASS:Richard Kaminski

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 4, 2007

Country Description: Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in central Africa. It continues to recover from the 1994 civil war and genocide in which at least 800,000 people were killed. Economic activity and tourism are on the rise in Rwanda. Hotels and guesthouses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but they are limited in remote areas.

Entry Requirements: A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Permits are valid for one-or two-year periods depending on the requestor's occupation. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan Embassy or Consulate. Visit the Embassy of Rwanda web site at www.rwandaembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: There are currently no travel restrictions in place within Rwanda. Embassy Kigali does not recommend travel to Eastern Congo or Burundi, as well as certain districts in Uganda bordering the Congo. In addition, as of September 7, 2007, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa has suspended all official, nonessential travel to the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) until further notice. While visitors may travel freely to Volcanoes National Park, they are not permitted to visit the park without permission from Rwanda's Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN). ORTPN stipulates that the park can only be used for gorilla tours and nature walks.

In March 2005, the Congo-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), composed of ex-Rwandese Armed Forces, Interaha-mwe and other extremists, announced it would end its armed struggle against the Government of Rwanda, but thousands of combatants are estimated to remain in eastern Congo. The combatants currently are not well-organized or funded; nor do they pose a serious threat to Rwandan security. However, in early March 2007, in Gisenyi Province (near the Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda) they launched a mortar round and rocket into Rwandan territory. There were no casualties, and it appears to have been an isolated incident.

Since December 2006, all restrictions have been lifted in the Nyungwe Forest near the Burundian border in Southwestern Rwanda. In the past, FDLR infiltrated Rwanda from Burundi through the Nyungwe Forest, and the last reported incident in the park was in November of 2003. However, FDLR rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding areas, including sections of Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Embassy Kampala restricted travel to three Southwestern districts in August 2007 due to two violent incidents reportedly involving armed rebels infiltrating from Eastern Congo. The incident that occurred on August 8, 2007 involved a violent raid on Butogota, a town in Kanungu District. Three Ugandans were killed, and many others assaulted. Butogota is in an area frequented by tourists traveling to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a popular gorilla trekking destination. On August 2, 2007, a British citizen employed by an oil exploration company was killed during a firefight between the Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) and an armed Congolese group on Lake Albert in western Uganda.

From time to time, travel by U.S. Mission personnel may be restricted based on changing security conditions. Visitors are encouraged to contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office or Consular Section for the latest security information, including developments in Eastern Congo, Uganda and Burundi. While not currently recommended, many visitors to Rwanda enter Goma and the Nyirigongo Volcano area in Eastern Congo; visitors are strongly encouraged to read the Travel Warning and the Country Specific Information for Congo-Kinshasa.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. Although violent crimes such as carjacking, robbery, and home invasion occur in Kigali, they are rarely committed against foreigners. Americans are advised to remain alert, exercise caution, and follow appropriate personal security measures. Although many parts of Kigali are safe at night, walking alone after dark is not recommended since foreigners, including Americans, have occasionally been the targets of robbery.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical and dental facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. In Kigali, Americans may go to King Faisal Hospital, a private facility that offers limited services and dental facilities. There is also a missionary dental clinic and a few private dentists. An American-operated missionary hospital with some surgical facilities is in Kibagora, in southwestern Rwanda. Another hospital with American physicians is located in Ruhengeri, near the gorilla trekking area, and a Chinese hospital is located in southeastern Rwanda in Kibungo. The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of healthcare providers and facilities in Rwanda. This list is included in the Consular Section's welcome packets for American citizens and on their web site at http://kigali.usembassy.gov. There are periodic outbreaks of meningitis in Rwanda. Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease. Malaria is endemic to Rwanda, and the use of preventive medicines is encouraged for short-term visits. Anti-malarials are widely available in local pharmacies.

Information about vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's website at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Rwanda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Due to safety concerns, the use of motorbikes or van taxis for transportation is not recommended. Regulated orange-striped (along the base of the vehicle) sedan auto taxis are safer, but be sure to agree on a fare before beginning the trip. Public transportation can be dangerous due to overloading, inadequate maintenance, and careless drivers.

While the main roads in Rwanda are in relatively good condition, during the rainy season many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Nighttime driving, particularly outside major cities, is hazardous and is discouraged. Often, roadways are not marked and lack streetlights and shoulders. Many sections have deteriorated surfaces.

Due to possible language barriers and the lack of roadside assistance, receiving help may be difficult. Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, where their vehicles and luggage may be searched. Service stations are available along main roads.

In Rwanda, as in the U.S., traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. Cars already in a traffic circle have the right of way. Until 2004, cars entering traffic circles had the right-of-way. Drivers should exercise caution at traffic circles, since some drivers might forget this change. Excessive speed, careless driving, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are hazards on Rwanda's roads. Many vehicles are not well maintained, and headlights are either extremely dim or not used. Drivers also tend to speed and pass other cars with little discretion.

Some streets in Kigali have sidewalks or sufficient space for pedestrian traffic; others do not, and pedestrians are forced to walk along the roadway. With the limited street lighting, drivers often have difficulty seeing pedestrians. Drivers frequently have unexpected encounters with cyclists, pedestrians and livestock.

Third-party insurance is required and will cover any damages from involvement in an accident resulting in injuries, if one is found not to have been at fault. The driver's license of individuals determined to have caused an accident may be confiscated for three months. Causing a fatal accident could result in three to six months' imprisonment. Drunk drivers are jailed for 24 hours and fined Rwandan Francs 20,000 (approximately $35).

In the city of Kigali, contact the following numbers for police assistance in the event of an accident: Kigali Center, 08311112; Nyamirambo, 08311113; Kacyiru, 08311114; Kicukiro, 08311115; Remera, 08311116. Ambulance assistance is non-existent. Wear seat belts and drive with care and patience at all times. In case of an emergency, American citizens can contact the Embassy duty officer at 0830-0345.

For specific information concerning Rwandan driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks, B.P 905, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-76514, fax 250-76512.

Visit the web site of the country's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.gov.rw.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Asthere is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Rwanda, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Rwanda's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Telephone communication to and from Rwanda is generally reliable. Cellular telephones and Internet connections are available in Kigali and large towns. Non-biodegradable plastic bags have been banned in Rwanda and travelers carrying them upon arrival at the Kayibanda International airport may have them confiscated and have to pay approximately $4 for a reusable cloth replacement.

International ATMs are not available in Rwanda. The Rwandan franc is freely exchangeable for hard currencies in banks and the Bureaux de Change. Several Kigali banks can handle wire transfers from U.S. banks, including Western Union. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali and only to settle hotel bills. Hotels currently accepting credit cards for payment include the Kigali Serena (formerly Intercontinental) Hotel, the Hotel des Mille Collines, the Novotel Umubano, Stipp Hotel and the Kivu Sun Hotel. Note that there may be an added fee for using a credit card.

Travelers should expect to handle most expenses, including air tickets, in cash. Traveler's checks can be cashed only at commercial banks. Because some travelers have had difficulty using U.S. currency printed before the year 2000, the Embassy recommends traveling with newer U.S. currency notes.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.

Persons violating Rwandan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Rwanda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Rwanda are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Rwanda. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at 377 Boulevard de la Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda; tel. (250) 505-601/2/3, then dial zero; fax: (250) 572-128; e-mail address is [email protected] com. The Consular Section's email address is [email protected] The Embassy's Internet web site is http://kigali.usembassy.gov. American Citizen Services hours are Tuesdays from 9:00 -17:00 and Fridays from 9:00-12:00 except on U.S. and Rwandan holidays.

International Adoption

November 2007

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Dsiclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note : Immigrant visas for Rwandan citizens including adopted orphans are issued at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Please visit the web site for the Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi for information on immigrant visa services. http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/wwwhinsl.html or e-mail: [email protected]

Please check with the Kenyan Embassy in Washington about visa requirements to travel to Nairobi.

Patterns of Immigration: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics indicate that eight immigrant visas were issued to Rwandan orphans in the last five fiscal years.

Adoption Authority:
Ministry of Gender and Family
Promotion (MIGEPROF)
P.O. Box 969
Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: 011-250-587-128
Fax: 011-250-587-127

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Adoptive parents must be under age 50. However, a judge can waive the age requirement

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for foreign adoptive parents.

Time Frame: Allow 1–2 months to complete the Rwandan adoption and subsequent U.S. immigration procedures.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no known Rwandan or U.S. adoption agencies that provide adoption services in Rwanda. Upon request, the U.S. Embassy can provide a list of attorneys. Neither the Department of State nor the U.S. Embassy can vouch for the efficacy or professionalism of any attorneys on this list.

Adoption Fees: There are no Rwandan government fees associated with intercountry adoptions. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay attorneys' fees for services rendered.

Adoption Procedures: Prospective adoptive parents must petition the local court having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child's residence. Once the adoption is approved, the adoption decree is filed at the local vital records registry for the child's place of residence.

Documents are filed with the Ministry of Family and Gender. A travel letter is required for the child to exit Rwanda. Documents from the Government of Rwanda are in French. Prospective adoptive parents will need English translations of the birth certificates and death certificates (if applicable) of the adopted child's birth parents to complete immigrant visa processing in Nairobi.

The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda can assist in locating translation services, but no U.S. Government resources are available for translating documents.

Required Documents:

  • Birth certificate(s) of the adoptive parent(s). If a birth certificate is unavailable, a legal or administrative certificate that proves date of birth and identity may be submitted;
  • Original birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
  • Marriage Certificate of adoptive parents;
  • Waiver of age limit certificate, if applicable (for adoptive parents over the age of 50);
  • The “Act of Adoption,” which is prepared by the local Bureau de l'Etat Civil (Vital Statistics Office);
  • Declaration of the adoptive parent's spouse and adult children consenting to the adoption;
  • The Adoption Act. The act must reference the information on the birth and death certificates, whichever are applicable, as well as the identities/documents of the adopting persons (passports and International Adoptive Home Study);
  • Authorization letter for departing Rwanda (issued by the Ministry of Family and Gender);
  • Legal Judgment Document (a court order approving the adoption), which is prepared by the local court having jurisdiction where the child is located;
  • Recommendation from Rwandan Embassy in Washington, DC;
  • Home Study Report;
  • Certificate of Good Behavior/ Police Record;
  • Certificate of Complete Identification;
  • Household Composition;
  • Proof of Income;
  • Adoption acceptance letter from US Department of State.

Note: Documents should be certified by a notary public as well as by the Rwandan Embassy in the U.S., if possible.

Rwandan Embassy in the United
States

1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-232-2882/3/4
Fax: 202-232-4544
e-mail:
[email protected]
http://www.rwandaembassy.org

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of
America

337 Boulevard de la Revolution
B.P. 28
Kigali, Rwanda
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://kigali.usembassy.gov
Tel: (250) 505601, 505602, 505603
Extension: 3241
Fax: (250) 572128

Embassy of the United States of
America

United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606
00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 254-20-363-6000
fax: 254-20-363-6410

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Rwanda may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

Rwanda

Compiled from the November 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Rwanda

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities—Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.

Terrain: Uplands and hills.

Climate: Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective— Rwandan(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 8,648,248.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 2.43%.

Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%.

Religions: Christian 93.5%, traditional African 0.1%, Muslim 4.6%, 1.7% claim no religious beliefs.

Languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—75% (prewar). Literacy—70.4%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006 est.)—89.61 deaths/1,000. Life expectancy (2005 est.)—47.3years.

Work force: Agriculture—90%; industry and commerce, services, and government—8%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: July 1, 1962.

Constitution: May 26, 2003.

Government branches: Executive—president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Broad-based government of national unity formed after the 1994 civil war. Elections in 2003 elected a president, 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and 26-member Senate. Legislative—Chamber of Deputies; Senate. Judicial— Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees.

Political subdivisions: 4 provinces plus Kigali; 30 districts; 106 sectors; 2,150 cells.

Political parties: Eight parties comprise the government: the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leads a coalition that includes the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Labor [formerly Socialist] Party (PSR), the Ideal [formerly Islamic] Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR). Other parties in the government include the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), and the Concord Progressive Party (PPC). Other political parties include the Democratic Republican Movement or MDR (officially banned); Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned).

Suffrage: Universal for citizens over 18—except refugees, prisoners, and certain categories of convicts.

Budget: (2000 est.) 31.7 billions of Rwandan francs ($29 million) Revenues—$28 million. Expenditures—$29 million.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $1.817 billion.

Real GDP growth rate: (2005 est.) 5.2%.

Per capita income: (2004 est.) $206. Purchasing power parity: (2005 est.) $1,500.

Average inflation rate: (2005 est.) 8%.

Agriculture: (2003) 41% of GDP. Products—coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes, livestock.

Industry: (2003) 21% of GDP. Types—cement, agricultural products, beer production, soft drinks, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals.

Trade: (2004 est.) Exports—$89.5 million: tea, coffee, coltan, cassiterite, and tin. Major markets—Indonesia, China, Kazakhstan, Germany, Netherlands. Imports (2005 est.)— $243 million f.o.b.: consumption goods, intermediate goods, capital goods, energy. Major suppliers—Kenya, Germany, Belgium, France, Uganda.

GEOGRAPHY

Rwanda’s countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift Valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.

Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda’s high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73o F (23o C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.

PEOPLE

Rwanda’s population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is currently the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (322 per sq. km., according to the August 2002 census). Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population (85%), are traditionally farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis (14%) are traditionally a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattle holding. The Twa (1%) are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Over 70% of the adult population is literate, but not more than 5% have received secondary education. During 1994-95, most primary schools and more than half of prewar secondary schools reopened. The national university in Butare reopened in April 1995; enrollment is over 7,000. Rebuilding the educational system continues to be a high priority of the Rwandan Government.

HISTORY

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle breeders began arriving in the area from the Horn of Africa in the 15th century and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a mwami (king) and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi nobles and gentry. Through a contract known as ubuhake, the Hutu farmers pledged their services and those of their descendants to a Tutsi lord in return for the loan of cattle and use of pastures and arable land. Thus, the Tutsi reduced the Hutu to virtual serfdom. However, boundaries of race and class became less distinct over the years as some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu. The first European known to have visited Rwanda was German Count Von Goetzen in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the “White Fathers.” In 1899, the mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country.

After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum.

During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.

Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda’s first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime.

Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the PARMEHUTU Party and abolished all political activity.

In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the “hillside” to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.

Under MRND aegis, Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed President Habyarimana as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda’s one-party state into a multi-party democracy.

On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost 2 years until a ceasefire accord was signed July 12, 1992, in Arusha, Tanzania, fixing a timetable for an end to the fighting and political talks, leading to a peace accord and power sharing, and authorizing a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity. A ceasefire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992.

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed. As though the shooting down was a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis and political moderates, regardless of their ethnic background. The prime minister and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia—Interahamwe. Even ordinary citizens were called on to kill their neighbors by local officials and government-sponsored radio. The president’s MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.

The RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha accords came under attack immediately after the shooting down of the president’s plane. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF units in the north. The RPF then resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for 2 months. French forces landed in Goma, Zaire, in June 1994 on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called “Zone Turquoise,” quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there. The Rwandan Army was quickly defeated by the RPF and fled across the border to Zaire followed by some 2 million refugees who fled to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended on July 16, 1994. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. Up to 800,000 had been murdered, another 2 million or so had fled, and another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The United States was one of the largest contributors. The UN peacekeeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.

Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire in October 1996, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last 2 weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996.

In 2001, the government began implementation of a grassroots village-level justice system, known as gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. With the July 2005 release of 36,000 individuals detained for genocide charges, over 40,000 individuals remain in the prison system and are scheduled to face the traditional court system. Those released and others facing lesser charges from the genocide await trial under the gacaca system.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After its military victory in July 1994, the RPF organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Habyarimana in 1992. Called “The Broad Based Government of National Unity,” its fundamental law is based on a combination of the June 1991 constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND Party was outlawed. In April 2003, the transitional National Assembly recommended the dissolution of the Democratic Republican Party (MDR), one of eight political parties participating in the Government of National Unity since 1994. Human rights groups noted the subsequent disappearances of political figures associated with the MDR, including at least one parliamentarian serving in the National Assembly. On May 26, 2003, Rwanda adopted a new constitution that eliminated reference to ethnicity and set the stage for presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003. The seven remaining political parties endorsed incumbent Paul Kagame for president, who was elected to a 7-year term on August 25, 2003. Rwanda held its first-ever legislative elections September 29 to October 2, 2003. The success or failure of the Rwandan social compact will be decided over the next few years, as Hutu and Tutsi try to find ways to live together again.

Challenges facing the government include promoting further democratization and judicial reform; prosecuting tens of thousands of individuals detained for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide; prosecuting the many more individuals scheduled to be tried under the gacaca system; preventing the recurrence of any insurgency among ex-military and Interahamwe militia who remain in eastern Congo; and the shift away from crisis to medium- and long-term development planning.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/22/2006

President: Paul KAGAME

Prime Minister: Bernard MAKUZA

Min. of Agriculture & Animal Resources: Anastase MUREKEZI

Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives: Protais MITALI

Min. of Defense & National Security: Marcel GATSINZI, Maj. Gen.

Min. of Education: Jeanne d’Arc MUJAWAMARIYA

Min. of Finance & Economic Planning: James MUSONI

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation: Charles MURIGANDE

Min. of Health: Jean-Damascene NTAWUKURIRYAYO, Dr.

Min. of Infrastructure: Stanislas KAMANZI

Min. of Internal Security: Fazil Musa HARERIMANA

Min. of Justice: Tharcisse KARUGARAMA

Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, & Natural Resources: Christopher BAZIVAMO

Min. of Local Govt., Good Governance, Community Development, & Social Affairs: Protais MUSONI

Min. of Public Service & Labor: Manasseh NSHUTI

Min. of Youth, Culture, & Sports: Joseph HABINEZA

Min. in the Office of the Pres.: Solina NYIRAHABIMANA

Min. in the Office of the Pres. in Charge of Science, Technology, & Scientific Research: Romain MURENZI

Min. in the Office of the Prime Min. in Charge of Gender & Women in Development: Valerie NYIRAHABINEZA

Min. in the Office of the Prime Min. in Charge of Information: Laurent NKUSI

Min. of State, Min. of Agriculture & Animal Resources, in Charge of Agriculture: Daphrose GAHAKWA

Min. of State, Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives, in Charge of Industry & Investment Promotion: Vincent KAREGA

Min. of State, Min. of Education, in Charge of Primary & Secondary Education: Joseph MUREKERAHO

Min. of State, Min. of Finance & Economic Planning, in Charge of Economic Planning: Monique NSANZABAGANWA

Min. of State, Min. of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation, in Charge of Cooperation: Rosemary MUSEMINARI

Min. of State, Min. of Health, in Charge of HIV/AIDS & Other Epidemics: Innocent NYARUHIRIRA, Dr.

Min. of State, Min. of Infrastructure, in Charge of Energy & Communications: Albert BUTARE

Min. of State, Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, & Natural Resources, in Charge of Water & Mines: Bikoro MUNYANGANIZI

Min. of State, Min. of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, & Natural Resources, in Charge of Lands & Environment: Patricia HAJABAKIGA

Min. of State, Min. of Local Govt., Good Governance, Community Development, & Social Affairs, in Charge of Social Community Development Affairs: Christine NYATANYI

Min. of State, Min. of Publice Service & Labor, in Charge of Labor: Angelina MUGANZA

Governor, Central Bank: Francois MUTEMBEREZI

Ambassador to the US: Zac NSENGA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Joseph NSENGIMANA

Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).

ECONOMY

The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rain-fed agricultural production of small, semi-subsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms. It has few natural resources to exploit and a small, uncompetitive industrial sector. While the production of coffee and tea is well suited to the small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates of Rwanda, farm size continues to decrease, especially in view of government ownership of all land and the resettlement of displaced persons. Agribusiness accounts for 37.6% (2005 est.) of Rwanda’s GDP and 70% of exports. Tea accounts for 60% of export earnings, followed by coffee and pyrethrum (whose extract is used in insect repellant). Mountain gorillas serve as a potentially important source of tourism revenue, but Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sector requires further development. Rwanda is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Some 34% of Rwanda’s imports originate in Africa, 90% from COMESA countries. The genocide continues to impact Rwanda’s economy; as of 2003, 30% of the Rwanda Development Bank’s outstanding non-performing loans originated from the period of 1994 genocide. In 2003, the Government of Rwanda sought to privatize several key firms, including Rwandatel (the country’s second-largest mobile phone provider); Electrogaz, the utility monopoly; several government-owned tea factories; and the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, the country’s second-largest commercial bank.

During the 5 years of civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide, GDP declined in 3 out of 5 years, posting a dramatic decline at more than 40% in 1994, the year of the genocide. The 9% increase in real GDP for 1995, the first postwar year, signaled the resurgence of economic activity, due primarily to massive foreign aid.

In the immediate postwar period—mid-1994 through 1995—emergency humanitarian assistance of more than $307.4 million was largely directed to relief efforts in Rwanda and in the refugee camps in neighboring countries where Rwandans fled during the war. In 1996, humanitarian relief aid began to shift to reconstruction and development assistance.

Since 1996, Rwanda has experienced steady economic recovery, thanks to foreign aid (averaging $200 million to over $400 million per year) and governmental reforms. Since 2002, the GDP growth rate has ranged from 3%-9% per annum, and inflation had ranged between 2%-8%. Rwanda depends on significant foreign imports ($243-$300 million per year). Export rates remain weak at $98 million per year. Private investment remains below expectations despite an open trade policy, a favorable investment climate, cheap and abundant labor, tax incentives to businesses, stable internal security, and crime rates that are comparatively low. Investment insurance also is available through the Africa Trade Insurance Agency or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The weakness of exports as well as low domestic savings rates has had a negative impact on the current account for Rwanda, thus requiring a recent currency devaluation and debt restructuring measures.

The Government of Rwanda remains committed to a strong and enduring economic climate for the country. To this end the government focuses on poverty reduction, infrastructure development, privatization of government-owned assets, expansion of the export base, and liberalization of trade. The implementation of a value added tax of 18% and improved tax collections are having a positive impact on government revenues and thereby services rendered. Banking reform and low corruption also are favorable current trends. Agricultural reforms, improved farming methods, and increased use of fertilizers are improving crop yields and national food supply. Moreover, the government is pursing educational and healthcare programs that bode well for the long-term quality of Rwanda’s human resource skills base.

Many challenges remain for Rwanda. Rwanda is dependent on significant foreign aid. Exports continue to lag far behind imports and will continue to affect the current account. Inflation may become a problem should the government resort to over-printing currency for short-term gains. The persistent lack of economic diversification beyond the production of tea, coffee, and coltan keeps the country vulnerable to market fluctuations. Rwanda’s landlocked situation necessitates strong highway infrastructure maintenance, and good transport linkages to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Tanzania, are critical. Transportation costs remain high and, therefore, burden import and export costs. Rwanda has no railway system for port access in Tanzania, although the nearest railhead from Kigali is 380 kilometers away at Isaka, Tanzania. The development of small manufacturing and service industries is needed, and the tourism industry, now at 8,000 visitors per year, has far greater potential given the current stability, travel infrastructure, and available animal parks as well as other potential tourist sites.

American business interest in Rwanda, other than in tea and telecommunications, is weak, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has yet to make a significant impact in Rwanda. Energy needs will stress natural resources in wood and gas, but hydroelectric power development is underway, albeit primarily in the planning stages. Rwanda does not have nuclear power or coal resources. Finally, Rwanda’s fertility rate—averaging 5.43 births (2006 est.) per woman—will continue to stress services, and diseases such as AIDS/HIV transmission, malaria, and tuberculosis will have a major impact on human resources.

Rwanda’s government-run radio broadcasts 15 hours a day in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, the national languages. News programs include regular re-broadcasts from international radio such as Voice of America and Radio France International. There are two television stations and eight radio stations. There are few independent newspapers; most newspapers publish in Kinyarwanda on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Several Western nations, including the United States, are working to encourage freedom of the press, the free exchange of ideas, and responsible journalism.

DEFENSE

The military establishment is comprised of a well-trained army and a small, rotary-wing air force. Defense spending continues to represent a disproportionate share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in the aftermath of the war. Following withdrawal of Rwandan Armed Forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2002, the government completely restructured the military and launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers. At end state, Rwanda will have a small, well-equipped army of 25,000 soldiers.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Rwanda is an active member of the international community and has remained in the international spotlight since the 1994 genocide. Rwanda is an active member of the UN, having presided over the Security Council during part of 1995. The UN assistance mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), a UN Chapter Six peacekeeping operation, involved personnel from more than a dozen countries. Most of the UN development and humanitarian agencies have had a large presence in Rwanda. At the height of the humanitarian emergency, more than 200 nongovernmental organizations were carrying out humanitarian operations. In addition to receiving assistance from the international community, Rwanda has also contributed to international peacekeeping missions. They have sent peacekeeping forces to many hotspots on the African continent. In 2004, Rwanda deployed 392 peacekeepers in support of the UN Mission to the Sudan. In 2005, Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) deployed 1,898 soldiers in support of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

Several west European and African nations, including Canada, China, Egypt, Libya, Russia, the Vatican, and the European Union maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali.

In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, in accordance with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.

U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

In the post-crisis period, U.S. Government interests have shifted from strictly humanitarian to include the prevention of renewed regional conflict, the promotion of internal stability, and renewed economic development.

Since 1995, the United States has been the principal donor for Rwanda’s humanitarian demining program, providing over $11 million to help remove the scourge of landmines. As of October 2003, one million square meters of landmines were estimated to remain in Rwanda, 80% of which lay in two identified minefields.

A major focus of bilateral relations is the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) “transition” program, which aims to promote internal stability and to increase confidence in the society. To achieve this, USAID is trying to achieve three strategic objectives under an integrated strategic plan:

  • Increased rule of law and transparency in governance;
  • Increased use of health and social services and changed behavior related to sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus and maternal and child health by building service capacity in target regions; and
  • Increased ability of rural families in targeted communities to improve household food security.

The mission currently is implementing activities in humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation—women’s income-generating initiatives, shelter, family relocation for children, administration of justice, increased local government capacity, improved health service delivery, AIDS and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, and enhanced food security.

The State Department’s Public Affairs section maintains a cultural center in Kigali, which offers public access to English-language publications and information on the United States. American business interests have been small; currently, private U.S. investment is limited to the tea industry. Annual U.S. exports to Rwanda, under $10 million annually from 1990-93, exceeded $40 million in 1994 and 1995, but decreased to only $10.2 million in 2005.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KIGALI (E) Address: Blvd. de la Revolution; Phone: (250) 505-601/2/3; Fax: MAILROOM-(250)572-128, ADM(250)501-207, PD(250)507-143, USAID(250)573-950 & 574-735, CDC(250)502-679; INMARSAT Tel: 873-150-7504; Workweek: M-T 0800-1730, Fri 0800-1300; Website: http://kigali.usembassy.gov AND http://www.usembkigali.net.

AMB:Michael R. Arietti
AMB OMS:Patricia Marks
DCM:Michael E. Thurston
DCM OMS:Diny Laurello
POL:Richard Kaminski
POL/ECO:George Learned
CON:Daniel Stoian
MGT:Pamela J. Mansfield
AFSA:John M. Jackson
AID:Kevin Mullally, Director USAID
CLO:Rosemary Mullally
DAO:Ronald Miller
ECO/COM:Vacant
EEO:Matthew Golbus
FMO:Janice Anderson
GSO:Andre Valdes
ICASSChair:Kevin Mullally, USAID Director
IMO:Paul Kervin
IPO:Paul Kervin
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (resident in Paris)
ISSO:John Jackson
PAO:Brian George
RSO:Gregory Anderson
State ICASS:Richard Kaminski

Last Updated: 1/22/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : January 12, 2006

Country Description: Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in central Africa. It is recovering from a civil war and genocide in which at least 800,000 people were killed. Economic activity and tourism are on the rise in Rwanda. Hotels and guesthouses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but they are limited in remote areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Permits are valid for one- or two-year periods depending on the requestor’s occupation. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan Embassy or Consulate.

Safety and Security: American citizens living in or planning to visit Rwanda should be aware of possible threats to their safety from insurgent activity, particularly in northwestern Rwanda in Mutura, Gisenyi Province near the Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park), where the mountain gorillas are viewed, and in southwestern Rwanda in the area of the Nyungwe Forest.

The Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) provides security in the Volcanoes National Park against attacks by rebel groups operating from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). The RDF also provides military escorts for visitors viewing the mountain gorillas. Visitors are not permitted to visit the park without permission from Rwanda’s Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), and they are strongly advised against visits to the park apart from organized gorilla tours and nature walks accompanied by military escorts. Due to possible insurgent activity in the border areas, visitors should exercise extreme caution while in the park and follow ORTPN and military escorts’ instructions closely.

There were several incidents in 2004 involving the Congo-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in Gisenyi Province, near the Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda. In April 2004, the FDLR attacked RDF troops in Mutura. In November 2004, several rockets detonated in Rwerere Commune. The Government of Rwanda blamed the FDLR and threatened reprisals for the incident, which resulted in at least one civilian injury. In March 2005, the FDLR announced it would end its armed struggle against the Government of Rwanda, but thousands of combatants are estimated to remain in eastern Congo.

In the past few years, insurgent activity has been reported in southwestern Rwanda in the Nyungwe Forest near the Burundian border. American citizens should exercise caution when traveling through the Nyungwe Forest on the Butare-Cyangugu Road. Travel during the hours of twilight and darkness is not recommended. The Embassy does not recommend camping in the forest at this time. Regionally, one of the many Hutu extremist rebel factions in the Great Lakes region has committed, and continues to threaten, violence against American citizens and interests. This faction was responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of several Western tourists, including U.S. citizens, in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in neighboring Uganda. Hutu rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern Congo-Kinshasa and surrounding areas, including sections of Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Despite the presence of UN peacekeeping forces in eastern Congo, there are periodic reports of insurgent activity near the Rwandan/Congo border.

From time to time, travel by U.S. Mission personnel may be restricted based on changing security conditions. Visitors are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office or Consular Section for the latest security information, including developments in northwestern and southwestern Rwanda. (Please see the section below on Registration/Embassy Location.)

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlets A “Safe Trip Abroad” at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1218.html.

Crime: Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. Although violent crimes such as carjackings, robberies, and home invasions occur in Kigali, they are rarely committed against foreigners. Americans are advised to remain alert, exercise caution, and follow appropriate personal security measures. Foreigners, including Americans, have occasionally been the targets of robbery when walking alone at night. Therefore, although many parts of Kigali are safe at night, walking after dark is not recommended.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical and dental facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. In Kigali, Americans may go to King Faycal Hospital, a private facility that offers limited services. There is also a missionary dental clinic in Kigali staffed by an American dentist. An American-operated missionary hospital with some surgical facilities is in Kibagora, in southwestern Rwanda. Another hospital with American physicians is located in Ruhengeri, near the gorilla trekking area, and a Chinese hospital is located in southeastern Rwanda in Kibungo. The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of healthcare providers and facilities in Rwanda. This list is included in the Consular Section’s welcome packets for American citizens. There are periodic outbreaks of meningitis in Rwanda. Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning name of country is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Rwanda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Due to safety concerns, the use of motorbikes or van taxis for transportation is not recommended. Regulated orange-striped (along the base of the vehicle) sedan auto taxis are safer, but be sure to agree on a fare before beginning the trip. Public transportation can be dangerous due to overloading, inadequate maintenance, and careless drivers.

While the main roads in Rwanda are in relatively good condition, during the rainy season many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Nighttime driving, particularly outside major cities, is hazardous and is discouraged. Often, roadways are not marked and lack streetlights and shoulders. Many sections have deteriorated surfaces. Due to possible language barriers and the lack of roadside assistance, receiving help may be difficult. Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, where their vehicles and luggage may be searched. Service stations are available along main roads.

In Rwanda, as in the U.S., traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. Cars already in a traffic circle have the right of way. Until 2004, cars entering traffic circles had the right-of-way. Drivers should exercise caution at traffic circles, since some drivers might forget this change. Excessive speed, careless driving, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are hazards on Rwanda’s roads. Many vehicles are not maintained well, and headlights are either extremely dim or not used. Drivers also tend to speed and pass other cars with little discretion. Some streets in Kigali have sidewalks or sufficient space for pedestrian traffic; others do not, and pedestrians are forced to walk along the roadway. With the limited street lighting, drivers often have difficulty seeing pedestrians. Drivers frequently have unexpected encounters with cyclists, pedestrians and livestock.

Third-party insurance is required and will cover any damages from involvement in an accident resulting in injuries, if one is found not to have been at fault. The driver’s license of individuals determined to have caused an accident may be confiscated for three months. Causing a fatal accident could result in three to six months’ imprisonment. Drunk drivers are jailed for 24 hours and fined RwF 20,000 (approximately $35). In the city of Kigali, contact the following numbers for police assistance in the event of an accident: Kigali Center, 08311112; Nyamirambo, 08311113; Kacyiru, 08311114; Kicukiro, 08311115; Remera, 08311116. Ambulance assistance is non-existent. Wear seat belts and drive with care and patience at all times. In case of an emergency, American citizens can contact the Embassy duty officer at 0830-0345. For specific information concerning Rwandan driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks, B.P. 905, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-76514, fax 250-76512.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Rwanda, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Rwanda’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Telephone communication to and from Rwanda is generally reliable. Cellular telephones and Internet connections are available in Kigali and large towns. The Rwandan franc is freely exchangeable for hard currencies in banks and the Bureaux de Change.

Several Kigali banks can handle wire transfers from U.S. banks, including Western Union. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali and only to settle hotel bills.

Hotels currently accepting credit cards for payment include the Intercontinental Hotel, the Hotel des Mille Collines, the Novotel Umubano, and the Kivu Sun Hotel. Travelers should expect to handle most expenses, including air tickets, in cash. Traveler’s checks can be cashed only at commercial banks. Because some travelers have had difficulty using U.S. currency printed before the year 2000, the Embassy recommends traveling with newer U.S. currency notes. ATMs are not available in Rwanda.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.

Persons violating Rwandan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Rwanda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Rwanda are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Boulevard de la Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda; tel. (250) 505-602 or (250) 505-603, then dial zero; fax: (250) 572-128; e-mail address is [email protected] The Consular Section’s email address is: [email protected] The Embassy’s Internet website is http://kigali.usembassy.gov/. American citizen service hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until noon, except on U.S. and Rwandan holidays.

International Adoption : October 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Immigrant visas for Rwandan citizens including adopted orphans are issued at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

Patterns of Immigration: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics indicate that four immigrant visas were issued to Rwandan orphans in FY-2006 and only two were issued during the period FY-2002 and 2005.

Adoption Authority:
Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs
Address: B.P. 3445 Kigali, Rwanda
Phone: 011-250-87741/011-250-83595
Fax: (011) (250) 82228

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Adoptive parents must be under age 50. However, a judge can waive the age requirement.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for foreign adoptive parents.

Time Frame: Allow 1-2 months to complete the Rwandan adoption and subsequent U.S. immigration procedures.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no known Rwandan or U.S. adoption agencies that provide adoption services in Rwanda. Upon request, the U.S. Embassy can provide a list of attorneys. Neither the Department of State nor the U.S. Embassy can vouch for the efficacy or professionalism of any attorneys on this list.

Adoption Fees: There are no Rwandan government fees associated with intercountry adoptions. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay attorneys’ fees for services rendered.

Adoption Procedures: Prospective adoptive parents must petition the local court having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child’s residence. Once the adoption is approved, the adoption decree is filed at the local vital records registry for the child’s place of residence.

Documents are filed with the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs. A travel letter from the Ministry of Family and Gender is required for the child to exit Rwanda. Documents from the Government of Rwanda are in French. Prospective adoptive parents will need English translations of the birth certificates and death certificates (if applicable) of the adopted child’s birth parents to complete immigrant visa processing in Nairobi. The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda can assist in locating translation services, but no U.S. Government resources are available for translating documents.

Documentary Requirements:

  • Birth certificate(s) of the adoptive parent(s). If a birth certificate is unavailable, a legal or administrative certificate that proves date of birth and identity may be submitted;
  • Original birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
  • Waiver of age limit certificate, if applicable (for adoptive parents over the age of 50);
  • The “Act of Adoption,” which is prepared by the local Bureau de l’Etat Civil (Vital Statistics Office);
  • Declaration the adoptive parent’s spouse consenting to the adoption;
  • The Adoption Act. The act must reference the information on the birth and death certificates, whichever are applicable, as well as the identities/documents of the adopting persons (passports and International Adoptive Home Study);
  • Authorization letter for departing Rwanda (Prepared by the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs);
  • Legal Judgment Document (a court order approving the adoption), which is prepared by the local court having jurisdiction where the child is located.

Rwandan Embassy in the United States:
1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-232-2882/3/4
Fax: 202-232-4544
e-mail: [email protected]
http://www.rwandemb.org/

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of America:
337 Boulevard de la Revolution
B.P. 28
Kigali, Rwanda
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (250) 505601, 505602, 505603
Extension: 3241
Fax: (250) 572128

Embassy of the United States of America:
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606
00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone 254-20-363-6000
fax:254-20-363-6410

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Rwanda may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

RWANDA

Compiled from the January 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Rwanda


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities—Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.

Terrain: Uplands and hills.

Climate: Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Rwandan(s).

Population: (August 2002 census) 8.2 million.

Annual growth rate: (August 2002 census) Mean of 1.2% between 1991-2002.

Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%.

Religions: Christian 93.5%, traditional African 0.1%, Muslim 4.6%, 1.7% claim no religious beliefs.

Languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—75% (prewar). Literacy—64%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—107/1,000. Life expectancy—40 yrs.

Work force: Agriculture—92%; industry and commerce, services, and government—8%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: July 1, 1962.

Constitution: May 26, 2003.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Broad-based government of national unity formed after the 1994 civil war. Elections in 2003 elected a president, 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and 26-member Senate. Legislative—Chamber of Deputies; Senate. Judicial—Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Court of Appeals.

Administrative subdivisions: 12 provinces; 106 districts; 1,545 sectors; 9,165 cells.

Political parties: Eight parties comprise the government: the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leads a coalition that includes the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Labor [formerly Socialist] Party (PSR), the Ideal [formerly Islamic] Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR). Other parties in the government include the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), and the Concord Progressive Party (PPC).

Suffrage: Universal for citizens over 18—except refugees, prisoners, and certain categories of convicts.

Central government budget: (2000 est.) 31.7 billions of Rwandan francs ($29 million) Revenues—$28 million. Expenditures—$29 million.

Economy

GDP: (1999 est.) $1.9 billion.

Real GDP growth rate: (2002 est.) 9%.

Per capita income: (1999 est.) $250.

Average inflation rate: (2000 est.) 3.9%.

Natural resources: Cassiterite, wolfram, methane.

Agriculture: (2001 est.) 47% of GDP. Products—coffee, tea, cattle, hides and skin, pyrethrum. Arable land—48%, 90% of which is cultivated.

Industry: (1999 est., 20% of GDP) Types—beer production, soft drink, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals.

Trade: (1996 est.) Exports—$69.4 million: coffee, tea, hides and skins, cassiterite, pyrethrum. Major markets—Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Pakistan. Imports—$221 million: food, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum products. Major suppliers—Belgium, U.S., Tanzania, Kenya, France.


GEOGRAPHY

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.

Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda's high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73º F (23º C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.


PEOPLE

Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (322 per sq. km., according to the August 2002 census). Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population (85%), are traditionally farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis (14%) are traditionally a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattleholding. The Twa (1%) are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Over half of the adult population is literate, but not more than 5% have received secondary education. During 1994-95, most primary schools and more than half of prewar secondary schools reopened. The national university in Butare reopened in April 1995; enrollment is over 7,000. Rebuilding the educational system continues to be a high priority of the Rwandan Government.


HISTORY

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle-breeders began arriving in the area from the Horn of Africa in the 15th century and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a mwami (king) and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi nobles and gentry. Through a contract known as ubuhake, the Hutu farmers pledged their services and those of their descendants to a Tutsi lord in return for the loan of cattle and use of pastures and arable land. Thus, the Tutsi reduced the Hutu to virtual serfdom. However, boundaries of race and class became less distinct over the years as some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu. The first European known to have visited Rwanda was German Count Von Goetzen in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the "White Fathers." In 1899, the mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country.

After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum.

During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.

Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime. Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the PARMEHUTU Party and abolished all political activity.

In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the "hillside" to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.

Under MRND aegis, Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, over-whelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed President Habyarimana as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one-party state into a multi-party democracy.

On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost 2 years until a cease-fire accord was signed July 12, 1992, in Arusha, Tanzania, fixing a timetable for an end to the fighting and political talks, leading to a peace accord and powersharing, and authorizing a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity. A cease-fire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992.

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed. As though the shooting down was a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis and political moderates, regardless of their ethnic background.

The prime minister and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia—Interahamwe. Even ordinary citizens were called on to kill their neighbors by local officials and government-sponsored radio. The president's MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.

The RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha accords came under attack immediately after the shooting down of the president's plane. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF

units in the north. The RPF then resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for 2 months. French forces landed in Goma, Zaire, in June 1994 on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called "Zone Turquoise," quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there. The Rwandan Army was quickly defeated by the RPF and fled across the border to Zaire followed by some 2 million refugees who fled to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended on July 16, 1994. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. Up to 800,000 had been murdered, another 2 million or so had fled, and another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The United States was one of the largest contributors. The UN peacekeeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.

Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire in October 1996, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last 2 weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996.

With the return of the refugees, a new chapter in Rwandan history began. As of October 2003, Rwanda's refugee population consisted of 28,000 Congolese Tutsis at two camps in Kibuye and Byumba provinces. In 2001, the government began implementation of a grassroots village-level justice system, known as gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. As of October 2003, some 80,000 individuals remained in detention in Rwanda, awaiting gacaca trials on charges relating to the 1994 genocide.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After its military victory in July 1994, the RPF organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Habyarimana in 1992. Called "The Broad Based Government of National Unity," its fundamental law is based on a combination of the June 1991 constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND Party was outlawed. In April 2003, the transitional National Assembly recommended the dissolution of the Democratic Republican Party (MDR), one of eight political parties participating in the Government of National Unity since 1994. Human rights groups noted the subsequent disappearances of political figures associated with the MDR, including at least one parliamentarian serving in the National Assembly. On May 26, 2003, Rwanda adopted a new constitution which eliminated reference to ethnicity and set the stage for presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003. The seven remaining political parties endorsed incumbent Paul Kagame for president, who was elected to a 7-year term on August 25, 2003. Rwanda held its first-ever legislative elections September 29 to October 2, 2003. The success or failure of the Rwandan social compact will be decided over the next few years, as Hutu and Tutsi try to find ways to live together again.

Challenges facing the government include promoting further democratization and judicial reform; prosecuting more than 80,000 individuals detained for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide; preventing the recurrence of any insurgency among exmilitary and Interahamwe militia who remain in eastern Congo; and the shift away from crisis to medium- and long-term development planning.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 9/30/04

President: Kagame , Paul
Prime Minister: Makuza , Bernard
Min. of Agriculture, Livestock, & Forestry: Habamenshi , Patrick
Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion & Tourism: Nshuti , Manase
Min. of Defense & National Security: Gatsinzi , Marcel, Maj. Gen.
Min. of Education, Science, Technology, & Scientific Research: Murenzi , Romain
Min. of Finance & Economic Planning: Kaberuka , Donald
Min. of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation: Murigande , Charles
Min. of Gender & Women in Development: Nyirahabineza , Valerie
Min. of Health: Ntawukuriryayo , Jean Damascene
Min. of Infrastructure: Bizimana , Evariste
Min. of Internal Affairs: Bazivamo , Christophe
Min. of Justice & Institutional Relations: Mukabagwiza , Edda
Min. of Lands, Resettlement, & Environment: Mugorewera , Drocella
Min. of Local Government, Rural Development, & Social Affairs: Musoni , Protais
Min. in the Office of the President: Nyirahabimana , Solina
Min. in the Office of the Prime Minister in Charge of Information: Nkusi , Laurent
Min. of Public Service, Vocational Training, Skills Development, & Labor: Bumaya , Andre Habib
Min. of Youth, Culture, & Sports: Habineza , Joseph
Governor, Central Bank: Mutemberezi , Francois
Ambassador to the US: Nsenga , Zac
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Kamanzi , Stanislas

Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).


ECONOMY

The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rainfed agricultural production of small, semisubsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms. It has few natural resources to exploit and a small, uncompetitive industrial sector. While the production of coffee and tea is well-suited to the small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates of Rwanda, farm size continues to decrease, especially in view of government ownership of all land and the resettlement of displaced persons. Agribusiness accounts for 50% of Rwanda's GDP and 70% of exports. Tea accounts for 60% of export earnings, followed by coffee and pyrethrum (whose extract is used in insect repellent). Mountain gorillas serve as a potentially important source of tourism revenue, but Rwanda's tourism and hospitality sector requires further development. Rwanda is one of 20 member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and hoped to form a free trade area with Burundi in January 2004. Some 34% of Rwanda's imports originate in Africa, 90% from COMESA countries. The genocide continues to impact Rwanda's economy; as of 2003, 30% of the Rwanda Development Bank's outstanding nonperforming loans originated from the period of 1994 genocide. In 2003, the Government of Rwanda sought to privatize several key firms, including Rwandatel (the country's second-largest mobile phone provider); Electrogaz, the utility monopoly; several governmentowned tea factories; and the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, the country's second-largest commercial bank. During the 5 years of civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide, GDP declined in 3 out of 5 years, posting a dramatic decline at more than 40% in 1994, the year of the genocide. The 9% increase in real GDP for 1995, the first postwar year, signaled the resurgence of economic activity, due primarily to massive foreign aid.

In the immediate postwar period—mid-1994 through 1995—emergency humanitarian assistance of more than $307.4 million was largely directed to relief efforts in Rwanda and in the refugee camps in neighboring countries where Rwandans fled during the war. In 1996, humanitarian relief aid began to shift to reconstruction and development assistance.

Since 1996, Rwanda has experienced steady economic recovery, thanks to foreign aid (averaging $200-$300 million per year) and governmental reforms. As of 2002, the GDP had ranged from 3%-9% per annum, and inflation had ranged between 2%-3%. Rwanda depends on significant foreign imports ($250-$300 million per year). Export rates remain weak at $75 million per year. Private investment remains below expectations despite an open trade policy, a favorable investment climate, cheap and abundant labor, tax incentives to businesses, stable internal security, and crime rates that are comparatively low. Investment insurance also is available through the Africa Trade Insurance Agency or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The weakness of exports as well as low domestic savings rates have had a negative impact on the current account for Rwanda, thus requiring a recent currency devaluation and debt restructuring measures.

The Government of Rwanda remains committed to a strong and enduring economic climate for the country. To this end the government focuses on poverty reduction, infrastructure development, privatization of government-owned assets, expansion of the export base, and liberalization of trade. The implementation of a value added tax of 18% and improved tax collections are having a positive impact on government revenues and thereby services rendered. Banking reform and low corruption also are favorable current trends. Agricultural reforms, improved farming methods, and increased use of fertilizers are improving crop yields and national food supply. Moreover, the government is pursing educational and healthcare programs that bode well for the long-term quality of Rwanda's human resource skills base.

Many challenges remain for Rwanda. Rwanda is dependent on significant foreign aid. Exports continue to lag far behind imports and will continue to affect the current account. Inflation may become a problem should the government resort to over-printing currency for short-term gains. The persistent lack of economic diversification beyond the production of tea, coffee, and coltan keeps the country vulnerable to market fluctuations. Rwanda's landlocked situation necessitates strong highway infrastructure maintenance, and good transport linkages to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Tanzania, are critical. Transportation costs remain high and, therefore, burden import and export costs. Rwanda has no railway system for port access in Tanzania, although the nearest railhead from Kigali is 380 kilometers away at Isaka, Tanzania. The development of small manufacturing and service industries is needed, and the tourism industry, now at 8,000 visitors per year, has far greater potential given the current stability, travel infrastructure, and available animal parks as well as other potential tourist sites.

American business interest in Rwanda, other than in tea and telecommunications, is weak, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has yet to make a significant impact in Rwanda. Energy needs will stress natural resources in wood and gas, but hydroelectric power development is underway, albeit primarily in the planning stages. Rwanda does not have nuclear power nor coal resources. Finally, the Rwanda's fertility rate (averaging 5.8 births per woman) will continue to stress services, and diseases such as AIDS/HIV transmission, malaria, and tuberculosis will have a major impact on human resources.

Rwanda's government-run radio broadcasts 15 hours a day in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, the national languages. News programs include regular re-broadcasts from international radio such as Voice of America and Radio France International. There is a fledgling television station. There are few independent newspapers; most newspapers publish in Kinyarwanda on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Several Western nations, including the United States, are working to encourage freedom of the press, the free exchange of ideas, and responsible journalism.


DEFENSE

The military establishment is comprised of a well-trained army and a small, rotary-wing air force. Defense spending continues to represent a disproportionate share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in the aftermath of the war. Following withdrawal of Rwandan Armed Forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2002, the government completely restructured the military and launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers. At end state, Rwanda will have a small, well-equipped army of 25,000 soldiers.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

In July 2003, Rwanda's Presidential Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Patrick Mazimhaka, was elected Deputy Chairperson of the 10-person African Union Commission. President Paul Kagame was elected as the First Vice Chairman of the African Union (AU).

Rwanda has been the center of much international attention since the war and genocide of 1994. Rwanda is an active member of the UN, having presided over the Security Council during part of 1995. The UN assistance mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), a UN Chapter Six peacekeeping operation, involved personnel from more than a dozen countries. Most of the UN development and humanitarian agencies have had a large presence in Rwanda.

At the height of the emergency, more than 200 nongovernmental organizations were carrying out humanitarian operations. Several west European and African nations, Canada, China, Egypt, Libya, Russia, the Vatican, and the European Union maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali. In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, however, in accordance with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.


U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

In the post-crisis period, U.S. Government interests have shifted from strictly humanitarian to include the prevention of renewed regional conflict, the promotion of internal stability, and renewed economic development.

Since 1995, the United States has been the principal donor for Rwanda's humanitarian demining program, providing over $11 million to help remove the scourge of land-mines. As of October 2003, one million square meters of landmines are estimated to remain in Rwanda, 80% of which lie in two identified minefields.

A major focus of bilateral relations is the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) "transition" program, which aims to promote internal stability and to increase confidence in the society. To achieve this, USAID is trying to achieve three strategic objectives under an integrated strategic plan:

Increased rule of law and transparency in governance;

Increased use of health and social services and changed behavior related to sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus and maternal and child health by building service capacity in target regions; and

Increased ability of rural families in targeted communities to improve household food security.

The mission currently is implementing activities in humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation—women's income-generating initiatives, shelter, family relocation for children, administration of justice, increased local government capacity, improved health service delivery, AIDS and STI prevention, and enhanced food security.

The State Department's Public Affairs section maintains a cultural center in Kigali, which offers public access to English-language publications and information on the United States. American business interests have been small; currently, private U.S. investment is limited to the tea industry. Annual U.S. exports to Rwanda, under $10 million annually from 1990-93, exceeded $40 million in 1994 and 1995, but decreased to only $13.4 million in 2001.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KIGALI (E) Address: Blvd. de la Revolution; Phone: (250) 505-601/2/3; Fax: MAILROOM-(250)572-128, ADM(250)501-207, PD(250)507-143, USAID(250)573-950 & 574-735, CDC(250)502-679; INMARSAT Tel: 873-150-7504; Workweek: M-T 0800-1730, Fri 0800-1300; Website: http://kigali.usembassy.gov AND www.usembkigali.net

AMB:Charge Henderson Patrick
AMB OMS:Mary E. Parks
DCM:Ken Miller
DCM OMS:Vacant EFM position
POL:Eric M. Wong
POL/ECO:Maya Dietz
COM:James Kay
CON:James Kay
MGT:Sally M. Walker
AFSA:John M. Jackson
AID:Andrew Karas, Acting Director USAID
CLO:Konah Karas (10 hours per week)
DAO:John D. Ruffing
ECO/COM:James David Kay
EEO:Nan Mattingly
FMO:Margarita Halle
GSO:Christopher Newton
ICASS Chair:Richard Warin
IMO:Kim M. Long
IPO:Kim M. Long
ISSO:Kim M. Long
PAO:Grace M. Brunton
RAMC:Charleston
RSO:Gregory Anderson, RSO; Robert K. Karpowski A/RSO
State ICASS:Eric Wong
Last Updated: 10/5/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 21, 2004

Country Description: Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in Central/East Africa. It is recovering from a civil war and genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. Economic activity and tourism are on the rise in Rwanda. Hotels and guest-houses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but they are limited in remote areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Permits are valid for one- or two-year periods depending on the requestor's occupation. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544, Internet site: http://www.rwandaemb.org/rwanda/. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan Embassy or Consulate.

Travelers who wish to travel to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda or Zimbabwe may experience difficulties at the DRC airports or other ports of entry. Some travelers with these visas or exit/entry stamps have been detained for questioning in the DRC.

See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Rwanda and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Rwanda's web site at http://www.rwandemb.org/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: American citizens living in or planning to visit Rwanda should be aware of possible threats to their safety from insurgent activity, particularly in northwest Rwanda in Mutura, Gisenyi Province near the Parc National des Volcans (Virunga National Park), where the mountain gorillas are viewed, and in southwest Rwanda in the area of the Nyungwe Forest.

In July 1999, the Government of Rwanda reopened the Virunga National Park. The Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) provide security in the park against attacks by rebel groups operating from the DRC. The RDF also provides military escorts for visitors viewing the mountain gorillas. Visitors are not permitted to visit the park without permission from Rwanda's Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), and they are strongly advised against visits to the park apart from organized gorilla tours and nature walks accompanied by military escorts. Visitors are strongly advised to leave the park by 6:00 p.m. Due to possible insurgent activity in the border areas, visitors should exercise extreme caution while in the park and follow ORTPN and military escorts' instructions closely.

In November 2004, several rockets detonated in Rwerere Commune, Gisenyi Province, on Rwanda's northwest border with the DRC near the Virunga National Park. The Government of Rwanda has blamed the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and threatened reprisals for the incident, which resulted in at least one civilian injury. In April 2004, the FDLR attacked Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) in Mutura, Gisenyi Province near Virunga National Park. As a result of these and other indications of continuing violence, American Embassy personnel have been restricted from traveling to those areas. The Embassy also restricts its personnel from traveling along the main road connecting Ruhengeri, Rwanda and the Ugandan border post at Bunagana. All American citizens are advised to follow the same measures. Because the situation in Northwest Rwanda remains fluid, all travelers are urged to check with the Embassy in Kigali for the most up-to-date security Information.

In the past few years, insurgent activity has been reported in southwestern Rwanda in the Nyungwe Forest near the Burundian border. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges American citizens to avoid travel through the Nyungwe Forest on the Butare-Cyangugu Road during the hours of twilight and darkness. The Embassy advises against visiting the Nyungwe Forest until insurgent activity has ended.

One of the many Hutu extremist rebel factions in the Great Lakes region has committed, and continues to threaten, violence against American citizens and interests. This faction was responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of several Western tourists, including U.S. citizens, in neighboring Uganda. Hutu rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern DRC and surrounding areas, including sections of Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. Despite the presence of UN peace-keeping forces in the eastern Congo, insurgent activity near the Rwandan/DRC border has been reported by authorities periodically.

Periodically, travel by U.S. Mission personnel may be restricted based on changing security conditions. Visitors are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office or Consular Section for the latest security information, including developments in northwest and southwest Rwanda.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. Although violent crimes such as carjackings, robberies, and home invasions occur in Kigali, they are rarely committed against foreigners. Americans are advised to remain alert, exercise caution and follow appropriate personal security measures.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa, for useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Posts in countries that have victims of crime assistance programs should include that information. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical and dental facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. In Kigali, Americans may go to King Faycal Hospital, a private facility that offers limited services. There is also a missionary dental clinic in Kigali staffed by an American dentist. A missionary hospital run by Americans is located in Kibagora, in the southwest of Rwanda, and it has some surgical facilities. Another hospital with American physicians is located in Ruhengeri, near the gorilla's area, and a Chinese hospital is located in southeastern Rwanda in Kibungo. The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of healthcare providers and facilities in Rwanda.

There are periodic outbreaks of meningitis in Rwanda. Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Rwanda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Due to safety concerns, the use of motorbikes or van taxis for transportation is not recommended. Regulated orange-striped sedan auto taxis are safer, but make sure you agree on a fare before beginning the trip.

Driving outside major cities at night is not recommended. Roadways are poorly lit and many sections have deteriorated surfaces. Due to possible language barriers and the lack of roadside assistance, receiving help may be difficult.

Excessive speed, careless driving, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are hazards on Rwanda's roads. Many vehicles are not maintained well and headlights are either extremely dim or not used. Drivers also tend to speed and pass other cars with little discretion. Some streets in Kigali have sidewalks or sufficient space for pedestrian traffic. Others do not, and pedestrians are forced to walk along the roadway. With the limited street lighting, drivers often have difficulty seeing pedestrians. Although many parts of Kigali are quiet at night, walking around is not recommended.

Drivers frequently have unexpected encounters with cyclists, pedestrians and livestock. Nighttime driving is particularly hazardous and is discouraged. Often, roadways are not marked and lack streetlights and shoulders. While the main roads in Rwanda are in relatively good condition, during the rainy season many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, where their vehicles and luggage may be searched. Service stations are available along main roads. Public transportation can be dangerous due to overloading, inadequate maintenance and careless drivers.

In Rwanda, one drives on the right-hand side. Cars within traffic circles have the right of way. Until 2004, cars entering traffic circles had the right- of-way. Some drivers might forget this change. Therefore, drivers should exercise caution at traffic circles. Third-party insurance is required and will cover any damages if you are involved in an accident resulting in injuries and you are found not to have been at fault. If you are found to have caused the accident, your driver's license can be confiscated for three months. If you cause an accident that results in a death, you can be sentenced to three to six months' imprisonment. Drunk drivers are jailed for 24 hours and fined RwF 20,000 (approximately $35). In the city of Kigali, you can call the following numbers for police assistance in the event of an accident: Kigali Center, 08311112; Nyamirambo, 08311113; Kacyiru, 08311114; Kicukiro, 08311115; Remera, 08311116. Ambulance assistance is non-existent. Please wear your seat belt and drive with care and patience at all times.

For specific information concerning Rwanda driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks, B.P. 905, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-76514, fax 250-76512.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Rwanda, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Rwanda's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

At this time, one international carrier operates direct flights to Brussels, Belgium, twice a week, and travelers may also fly through regional airports, including Kampala and Nairobi, to Europe and the United States.

Special Circumstances: Telephone communication to and from Rwanda is generally reliable. Cellular telephones and Internet connections are available in Kigali and large towns.

The Rwandan franc is freely exchangeable for hard currencies in banks and the Bureaux de Change. Several Kigali banks can handle wire transfers from U.S. banks, including Western Union. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali and only to settle hotel bills. Travelers should expect to handle most expenses, including air tickets, in cash. Traveler's checks can be cashed only at commercial banks. Some travelers have had difficulty using U.S. currency printed before the year 2000, therefore the Embassy recommends traveling with newer U.S. currency notes. ATMs are not available in Rwanda.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Rwanda laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Rwanda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Rwanda are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Rwanda. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of an emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Boulevard de la Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone: 250-505602/505603, then dial zero; fax: 250-572128; e-mail address is [email protected] American citizen service hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until noon. The Embassy's Internet website is www.usembkigali.net.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The following is intended as a very general guide to assist U.S. citizens who plan to adopt a child in Rwanda and apply for an immigrant visa for the child to come to the United States. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Immigrant visas for Rwandan citizens including adopted orphans are issued at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Please visit the Web site for the Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi for information on immigrant visa services. http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/wwwhins1.html

Patterns of Immigration of Adopted Orphans to the U.S.: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics indicate that only two immigrant visas were issued to Rwandan orphans in the last five years.

Adoption Authority in Rwanda: Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs; Address: B.P. 3445 Kigali, Rwanda; Phone: 011-250-87741/011-250-83595; Fax: (011) (250) 82228.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Adoptive parents must be under the age of fifty years old. However, a judge can waive the age requirement.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for foreign adoptive parents.

Time Frame: Allow 1-2 months to complete the Rwandan adoption and subsequent immigration procedures. Allow two weeks in Africa: 4 working days in Rwanda and 10 days in Kenya.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no known adoption agencies that provide adoption services in Rwanda. Upon request, the U.S. Embassy can provide a list of attorneys. Neither the Department of State nor the U.S. Embassy can vouch for the efficacy or professionalism of any attorneys on this list.

Adoption Fees in Rwanda: There are no Rwandan government fees associated with international adoptions. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay for any attorney's fees for services rendered.

Adoption Procedures in Rwanda: Prospective adoptive parents must petition the local court having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child's residence. Once the adoption is approved, the adoption decree is filed at the local vital records registry for the child's place of residence.

Papers are filed with the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs. A travel letter from the Ministry of Family and Gender is required for the child to exit Rwanda. Documents from the Government of Rwanda are in French—U.S. Embassy Kigali will provide English translations of these documents for use in Nairobi. Prospective adoptive parents will need English translations of the birth certificates and death certificates (if applicable) of the adopted child's birth parents to complete immigrant visa processing in Nairobi. The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda can assist in locating translation services, but no U.S. Government resources are available for translating birth or death certificates.

Documents Required for Adoption in Rwanda:

  • Birth certificate(s) of the adoptive parent(s). If a birth certificate is unavailable, a legal or administrative certificate that proves date of birth and identity may be submitted;
  • Original birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
  • Waiver of age limit certificate, if applicable (for adoptive parents over the age of 50);
  • The "Act of Adoption", which is prepared by the local Bureau de l'Etat Civil (Vital Statistics Office);
  • Declaration the adoptive parent's spouse consenting to the adoption;
  • The Adoption Act. The act must reference the information on the birth and death certificates, whichever are applicable, as well as the identities/documents of the adopting persons (passports and International Adoptive Home Study);
  • Authorization letter for departing Rwanda (Prepared by the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs);
  • Legal Judgment Document (a court order approving the adoption), which is prepared by the local court having jurisdiction where the child is located.

Authenticating Documents To Be Used Abroad: All U.S. documents submitted to the Rwandan government, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must be authenticated. Please visit our Web site at travel.state.gov for additional information about authentication procedures.

Rwandan Embassy in the United States: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW; Washington, D.C. 20009; Phone: 202-232-2882/3/4; Fax: 202-232-4544; e-mail: [email protected]; http://www.rwandemb.org/

U.S. Immigration Requirements: A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family

U.S. Embassies in Rwanda and Kenya: As soon as prospective adoptive parents arrive in Rwanda, they should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in order to register their presence in Rwanda. The Consular Section is located at:

For Rwanda:
337 Boulevard de la Revolution
B.P. 28
Kigali, Rwanda
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (250) 505601, 505602, 505603
Extension: 3241; Fax: (250) 572128

For Kenya:
Embassy of the United States of America
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606
00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone 254-20-363-6000
fax: 254-20-363-6410

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in a particular country may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in that country. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-404-4747.

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RWANDA

Compiled from the December 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Rwanda


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities:

Capital—Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities—Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.

Terrain:

Uplands and hills.

Climate:

Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Rwandan(s).

Population (2004):

8.6 million.

Annual growth rate:

(August 2002 census) Mean of 1.2% between 1991-2002.

Ethnic groups:

Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%.

Religion:

Christian 93.5%, traditional African 0.1%, Muslim 4.6%, 1.7% claim no religious beliefs.

Language:

French, English, Kinyarwanda.

Education:

Years compulsory—6. Attendance—75% (prewar). Literacy—64%.

Health:

Infant mortality rate—107/1,000. Life expectancy—40 yrs.

Work force:

Agriculture—92%; industry and commerce, services, and government—8%.

Government

Type:

Republic.

Independence:

July 1, 1962.

Constitution:

May 26, 2003.

Branches:

Executive—president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Broad-based government of national unity formed after the 1994 civil war. Elections in 2003 elected a president, 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and 26-member Senate. Legislative—Chamber of Deputies; Senate. Judicial—Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Court of Appeals.

Administrative subdivisions:

12 provinces; 106 districts; 1,545 sectors; 9,165 cells.

Political parties:

Eight parties comprise the government: the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leads a coalition that includes the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Labor [formerly Socialist] Party (PSR), the Ideal [formerly Islamic] Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR). Other parties in the government include the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), and the Concord Progressive Party (PPC).

Suffrage:

Universal for citizens over 18—except refugees, prisoners, and certain categories of convicts.

Central government budget (2000 est.):

31.7 billions of Rwandan francs ($29 million) Revenues—$28 million. Expenditures—$29 million.

Economy

GDP (2004 est.):

$1.8 billion.

Real GDP growth rate (2004 est.):

3.8%.

Per capita income (2004 est.):

$206.

Average inflation rate (2004 est.):

10.8%.

Agriculture (2003):

41% of GDP. Products—coffee, tea, cattle, hides and skin, pyrethrum.

Industry (2003):

21% of GDP. Types—beer production, soft drinks, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals.

Trade (2004 est.):

Exports—$89.5 million: tea, coffee, coltan, cassiterite, and tin. Major markets—Indonesia, China, Kazakhstan, Germany, Netherlands. Imports—$219.6 million: consumption goods, intermediate goods, capital goods, energy. Major suppliers—Kenya, Germany, Belgium, France, South Africa.


GEOGRAPHY

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.

Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda's high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73o F (23o C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.


PEOPLE

Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (322 per sq. km., according to the August 2002 census). Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population (85%), are traditionally farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis (14%) are traditionally a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattleholding. The Twa (1%) are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Over half of the adult population is literate, but not more than 5% have received secondary education. During 1994-95, most primary schools and more than half of prewar secondary schools reopened. The national university in Butare reopened in April 1995; enrollment is over 7,000. Rebuilding the educational system continues to be a high priority of the Rwandan Government.


HISTORY

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle-breeders began arriving in the area from the Horn of Africa in the 15th century and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a mwami (king) and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi nobles and gentry. Through a contract known as ubuhake, the Hutu farmers pledged their services and those of their descendants to a Tutsi lord in return for the loan of cattle and use of pastures and arable land. Thus, the Tutsi reduced the Hutu to virtual serfdom. However, boundaries of race and class became less distinct over the years as some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu. The first European known to have visited Rwanda was German Count Von Goetzen in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the "White Fathers." In 1899, the mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country.

After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum.

During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.

Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime. Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the PARMEHUTU Party and abolished all political activity.

In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the "hillside" to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.

Under MRND aegis, Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed President Habyarimana as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one-party state into a multi-party democracy.

On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost 2 years until a cease-fire accord was signed July 12, 1992, in Arusha, Tanzania, fixing a timetable for an end to the fighting and political talks, leading to a peace accord and powersharing, and authorizing a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity. A cease-fire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992. On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed. As though the shooting down was a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis and political moderates, regardless of their ethnic background.

The prime minister and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia—Interahamwe. Even ordinary citizens were called on to kill their neighbors by local officials and government-sponsored radio. The president's MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.

The RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha accords came under attack immediately after the shooting down of the president's plane. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF units in the north. The RPF then resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for 2 months. French forces landed in Goma, Zaire, in June 1994 on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called "Zone Turquoise," quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there. The Rwandan Army was quickly defeated by the RPF and fled across the border to Zaire followed by some 2 million refugees who fled to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended on July 16, 1994. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. Up to 800,000 had been murdered, another 2 million or so had fled, and another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The United States was one of the largest contributors. The UN peacekeeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.

Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire in October 1996, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last 2 weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996.

In 2001, the government began implementation of a grassroots village-level justice system, known as gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. With the July 2005 release of 36,000 individuals detained for genocide charges, over 40,000 individuals remain in the prison system and are scheduled to face the traditional court system. Those released and others facing lesser charges from the genocide await trial under the gacaca system.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After its military victory in July 1994, the RPF organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Habyarimana in 1992. Called "The Broad Based Government of National Unity," its fundamental law is based on a combination of the June 1991 constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND Party was outlawed. In April 2003, the transitional National Assembly recommended the dissolution of the Democratic Republican Party (MDR), one of eight political parties participating in the Government of National Unity since 1994. Human rights groups noted the subsequent disappearances of political figures associated with the MDR, including at least one parliamentarian serving in the National Assembly. On May 26, 2003, Rwanda adopted a new constitution which eliminated reference to ethnicity and set the stage for presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003. The seven remaining political parties endorsed incumbent Paul Kagame for president, who was elected to a 7-year term on August 25, 2003. Rwanda held its first-ever legislative elections September 29 to October 2, 2003. The success or failure of the Rwandan social compact will be decided over the next few years, as Hutu and Tutsi try to find ways to live together again.

Challenges facing the government include promoting further democratization and judicial reform; prosecuting more than 40,000 individuals detained for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide; prosecuting the many more individuals scheduled to be tried under the gacaca system; preventing the recurrence of any insurgency among ex-military and Interahamwe militia who remain in eastern Congo; and the shift away from crisis to medium- and long-term development planning.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/23/2005

President: Paul KAGAME
Prime Minister: Bernard MAKUZA
Min. of Agriculture, Livestock, & Forestry: Anastase MUREKEZI
Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives: James MUSONI
Min. of Defense & National Security: Marcel GATSINZI, Maj. Gen.
Min. of Education, Science, Technology, & Scientific Research: Romain MURENZI
Min. of Finance & Economic Planning: Paul Manasseh NSHUTIU
Min. of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation: Charles MURIGANDE
Min. of Health: Jean Damascene NTAWUKURIRYAYO
Min. of Infrastructure: Evariste BIZIMANA
Min. of Internal Affairs & Security: Christophe BAZIVAMO
Min. of Justice & Institutional Relations: Edda MUKABAGWIZA
Min. of Lands, Resettlement, & Environment: Drocella MUGOREWERA
Min. of Local Government, Rural Development, & Social Affairs: Protais MUSONI
Min. of Public Service, Vocational Training, Skills Development, & Labor: Andre Habib BUMAYA
Min. of Youth, Culture, & Sports: Joseph HABINEZA
Min. in the Office of the President: Solina NYIRAHABIMANA
Min. in the Office of the Prime Minister, in Charge of Gender & Women in Development: Valerie NYIRAHABINEZA
Min. in the Office of the Prime Minister, in Charge of Information: Laurent NKUSI
Min. of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources, in Charge of Agriculture: Daphrose GAHAKWA
Min. of State, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives, in Charge of Industry & Investment Promotion: Protais MITALI
Min. of State, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, & Scientific Research, in Charge of Higher Education: Jean d'Arc MUJAWAMARIYA, Dr.
Min. of State, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, & Scientific Research, in Charge of Primary & Secondary Education: Joseph MUREKERAHO
Min. of State, Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning, in Charge of Economic Planning: Monique NSANZABAGANWA
Min. of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation, in Charge of Cooperation: Rosemary MUSEMINARI
Min. of State, Ministry of Health, in Charge of HIV/AIDS & Other Epidemics: Innocent NYARUHIRIRA, Dr.
Min. of State, Ministry of Infrastructure, in Charge of Energy & Communications: Albert BUTARE
Min. of State, Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry & Natural Resources, in Charge of Water & Mines: Bikoro MUNYANGANIZI
Min. of State, Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry & Natural Resources, in Charge of Lands & Environment: Patricia HAJABAKIGA
Min. of State, Ministry of Local Government, Good Governance, Community Development & Social Affairs, in Charge of Social Community Development Affairs: Christine NYATANYI
Min. of State, Ministry of Publice Service and Labor, in Charge of Labor: Angelina MUGANZA
Governor, Central Bank: Francois MUTEMBEREZI
Ambassador to the US: Zac NSENGA
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Stanislas KAMANZI

Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).


ECONOMY

The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rainfed agricultural production of small, semisubsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms. It has few natural resources to exploit and a small, uncompetitive industrial sector. While the production of coffee and tea is well-suited to the small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates of Rwanda, farm size continues to decrease, especially in view of government ownership of all land and the resettlement of displaced persons. Agribusiness accounts for 50% of Rwanda's GDP and 70% of exports. Tea accounts for 60% of export earnings, followed by coffee and pyrethrum (whose extract is used in insect repellent). Mountain gorillas serve as a potentially important source of tourism revenue, but Rwanda's tourism and hospitality sector requires further development. Rwanda is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Some 34% of Rwanda's imports originate in Africa, 90% from COMESA countries. The genocide continues to impact Rwanda's economy; as of 2003, 30% of the Rwanda Development Bank's outstanding nonperforming loans originated from the period of 1994 genocide. In 2003, the Government of Rwanda sought to privatize several key firms, including Rwandatel (the country's second-largest mobile phone provider); Electrogaz, the utility monopoly; several governmentowned tea factories; and the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, the country's second-largest commercial bank.

During the 5 years of civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide, GDP declined in 3 out of 5 years, posting a dramatic decline at more than 40% in 1994, the year of the genocide. The 9% increase in real GDP for 1995, the first postwar year, signaled the resurgence of economic activity, due primarily to massive foreign aid.

In the immediate postwar period—mid-1994 through 1995—emergency humanitarian assistance of more than $307.4 million was largely directed to relief efforts in Rwanda and in the refugee camps in neighboring countries where Rwandans fled during the war. In 1996, humanitarian relief aid began to shift to reconstruction and development assistance.

Since 1996, Rwanda has experienced steady economic recovery, thanks to foreign aid (averaging $200-$300 million per year) and governmental reforms. As of 2002, the GDP had ranged from 3%-9% per annum, and inflation had ranged between 2%-3%. Rwanda depends on significant foreign imports ($250-$300 million per year). Export rates remain weak at $75 million per year. Private investment remains below expectations despite an open trade policy, a favorable investment climate, cheap and abundant labor, tax incentives to businesses, stable internal security, and crime rates that are comparatively low. Investment insurance also is available through the Africa Trade Insurance Agency or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The weakness of exports as well as low domestic savings rates have had a negative impact on the current account for Rwanda, thus requiring a recent currency devaluation and debt restructuring measures.

The Government of Rwanda remains committed to a strong and enduring economic climate for the country. To this end the government focuses on poverty reduction, infrastructure development, privatization of government-owned assets, expansion of the export base, and liberalization of trade. The implementation of a value added tax of 18% and improved tax collections are having a positive impact on government revenues and thereby services rendered. Banking reform and low corruption also are favorable current trends. Agricultural reforms, improved farming methods, and increased use of fertilizers are improving crop yields and national food supply. Moreover, the government is pursing educational and healthcare programs that bode well for the long-term quality of Rwanda's human resource skills base.

Many challenges remain for Rwanda. Rwanda is dependent on significant foreign aid. Exports continue to lag far behind imports and will continue to affect the current account. Inflation may become a problem should the government resort to over-printing currency for short-term gains. The persistent lack of economic diversification beyond the production of tea, coffee, and coltan keeps the country vulnerable to market fluctuations. Rwanda's landlocked situation necessitates strong highway infrastructure maintenance, and good transport linkages to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Tanzania, are critical. Transportation costs remain high and, therefore, burden import and export costs. Rwanda has no railway system for port access in Tanzania, although the nearest railhead from Kigali is 380 kilometers away at Isaka, Tanzania. The development of small manufacturing and service industries is needed, and the tourism industry, now at 8,000 visitors per year, has far greater potential given the current stability, travel infrastructure, and available animal parks as well as other potential tourist sites.

American business interest in Rwanda, other than in tea and telecommunications, is weak, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has yet to make a significant impact in Rwanda. Energy needs will stress natural resources in wood and gas, but hydroelectric power development is underway, albeit primarily in the planning stages. Rwanda does not have nuclear power nor coal resources. Finally, the Rwanda's fertility rate (averaging 5.8 births per woman) will continue to stress services, and diseases such as AIDS/HIV transmission, malaria, and tuberculosis will have a major impact on human resources.

Rwanda's government-run radio broadcasts 15 hours a day in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, the national languages. News programs include regular re-broadcasts from international radio such as Voice of America and Radio France International. There is a fledgling television station. There are few independent newspapers; most newspapers publish in Kinyarwanda on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Several Western nations, including the United States, are working to encourage freedom of the press, the free exchange of ideas, and responsible journalism.


DEFENSE

The military establishment is comprised of a well-trained army and a small, rotary-wing air force. Defense spending continues to represent a disproportionate share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in the aftermath of the war. Following withdrawal of Rwandan Armed Forces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 2002, the government completely restructured the military and launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers. At end state, Rwanda will have a small, well-equipped army of 25,000 soldiers.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

In July 2003, Rwanda's Presidential Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Patrick Mazimhaka, was elected Deputy Chairperson of the 10-person African Union Commission. President Paul Kagame was elected as the First Vice Chairman of the African Union (AU).

Rwanda has been the center of much international attention since the war and genocide of 1994. Rwanda is an active member of the UN, having presided over the Security Council during part of 1995. The UN assistance mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), a UN Chapter Six peacekeeping operation, involved personnel from more than a dozen countries. Most of the UN development and humanitarian agencies have had a large presence in Rwanda.

At the height of the emergency, more than 200 nongovernmental organizations were carrying out humanitarian operations. Several west European and African nations, Canada, China, Egypt, Libya, Russia, the Vatican, and the European Union maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali. In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, however, in accordance with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement.


U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

In the post-crisis period, U.S. Government interests have shifted from strictly humanitarian to include the prevention of renewed regional conflict, the promotion of internal stability, and renewed economic development.

Since 1995, the United States has been the principal donor for Rwanda's humanitarian demining program, providing over $11 million to help remove the scourge of land-mines. As of October 2003, one million square meters of landmines were estimated to remain in Rwanda, 80% of which lay in two identified minefields.

A major focus of bilateral relations is the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) "transition" program, which aims to promote internal stability and to increase confidence in the society. To achieve this, USAID is trying to achieve three strategic objectives under an integrated strategic plan:

  • Increased rule of law and transparency in governance;
  • Increased use of health and social services and changed behavior related to sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus and maternal and child health by building service capacity in target regions; and
  • Increased ability of rural families in targeted communities to improve household food security.

The mission currently is implementing activities in humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation—women's income-generating initiatives, shelter, family relocation for children, administration of justice, increased local government capacity, improved health service delivery, AIDS and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, and enhanced food security.

The State Department's Public Affairs section maintains a cultural center in Kigali, which offers public access to English-language publications and information on the United States. American business interests have been small; currently, private U.S. investment is limited to the tea industry. Annual U.S. exports to Rwanda, under $10 million annually from 1990-93, exceeded $40 million in 1994 and 1995, but decreased to only $13.4 million in 2001.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

KIGALI (E) Address: Blvd. de la Revolution; Phone: (250) 505-601/2/3; Fax: MAILROOM-(250)572-128, ADM(250)501-207, PD(250)507-143, USAID(250)573-950 & 574-735, CDC(250)502-679; INMARSAT Tel: 873-150-7504; Workweek: M-T 0800-1730, Fri 0800-1300; Website: http://kigali.usembassy.gov AND www.usembkigali.net.

AMB:Michael R. Arietti
AMB OMS:Patricia Marks
DCM:Michael E. Thurston
DCM OMS:Vacant EFM position
POL:Lucy Chang
POL/ECO:George Learned
CON:Daniel Stoian
MGT:Pamela J. Mansfield (TDY)
AFSA:John M. Jackson
AID:Kevin Mullally, Director USAID
CLO:Rosemary Mullally
DAO:John (Boone) D. Ruffing
ECO/COM:Vacant
EEO:vacant
FMO:Margarita Halle
GSO:Andre Valdes
ICASS Chair:Kevin Mullally, USAID Director
IMO:Paul Kervin
IPO:Paul Kervin
ISSO:John Jackson
PAO:Brian George
RSO:Gregory Anderson
State ICASS:Lucy Chang
Last Updated: 1/2/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

January 12, 2006

Country Description:

Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in central Africa. It is recovering from a civil war and genocide in which at least 800,000 people were killed. Economic activity and tourism are on the rise in Rwanda. Hotels and guest-houses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but they are limited in remote areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Permits are valid for one- or two-year periods depending on the requestor's occupation. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan Embassy or Consulate.

Safety and Security:

American citizens living in or planning to visit Rwanda should be aware of possible threats to their safety from insurgent activity, particularly in northwestern Rwanda in Mutura, Gisenyi Province near the Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park), where the mountain gorillas are viewed, and in southwestern Rwanda in the area of the Nyungwe Forest.

The Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) provides security in the Volcanoes National Park against attacks by rebel groups operating from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). The RDF also provides military escorts for visitors viewing the mountain gorillas. Visitors are not permitted to visit the park without permission from Rwanda's Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), and they are strongly advised against visits to the park apart from organized gorilla tours and nature walks accompanied by military escorts. Due to possible insurgent activity in the border areas, visitors should exercise extreme caution while in the park and follow ORTPN and military escorts' instructions closely.

There were several incidents in 2004 involving the Congo-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in Gisenyi Province, near the Volcanoes National Park in northwestern Rwanda. In April 2004, the FDLR attacked RDF troops in Mutura. In November 2004, several rockets detonated in Rwerere Commune. The Government of Rwanda blamed the FDLR and threatened reprisals for the incident, which resulted in at least one civilian injury. In March 2005, the FDLR announced it would end its armed struggle against the Government of Rwanda, but thousands of combatants are estimated to remain in eastern Congo.

In the past few years, insurgent activity has been reported in southwestern Rwanda in the Nyungwe Forest near the Burundian border. American citizens should exercise caution when traveling through the Nyungwe Forest on the Butare-Cyangugu Road. Travel during the hours of twilight and darkness is not recommended. The Embassy does not recommend camping in the forest at this time. Regionally, one of the many Hutu extremist rebel factions in the Great Lakes region has committed, and continues to threaten, violence against American citizens and interests. This faction was responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of several Western tourists, including U.S. citizens, in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in neighboring Uganda. Hutu rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern Congo-Kinshasa and surrounding areas, including sections of Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. Despite the presence of UN peacekeeping forces in eastern Congo, there are periodic reports of insurgent activity near the Rwandan/Congo border.

From time to time, travel by U.S. Mission personnel may be restricted based on changing security conditions. Visitors are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office or Consular Section for the latest security information, including developments in northwestern and southwestern Rwanda. (Please see the section below on Registration/Embassy Location.)

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. Although violent crimes such as carjackings, robberies, and home invasions occur in Kigali, they are rarely committed against foreigners. Americans are advised to remain alert, exercise caution, and follow appropriate personal security measures. Foreigners, including Americans, have occasionally been the targets of robbery when walking alone at night. Therefore, although many parts of Kigali are safe at night, walking after dark is not recommended.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Medical and dental facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. In Kigali, Americans may go to King Faycal Hospital, a private facility that offers limited services. There is also a missionary dental clinic in Kigali staffed by an American dentist. An American-operated missionary hospital with some surgical facilities is in Kibagora, in southwestern Rwanda. Another hospital with American physicians is located in Ruhengeri, near the gorilla trekking area, and a Chinese hospital is located in southeastern Rwanda in Kibungo. The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of healthcare providers and facilities in Rwanda. This list is included in the Consular Section's welcome packets for American citizens. There are periodic outbreaks of meningitis in Rwanda. Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning name of country is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Rwanda is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Due to safety concerns, the use of motorbikes or van taxis for transportation is not recommended. Regulated orange-striped (along the base of the vehicle) sedan auto taxis are safer, but be sure to agree on a fare before beginning the trip. Public transportation can be dangerous due to overloading, inadequate maintenance, and careless drivers.

While the main roads in Rwanda are in relatively good condition, during the rainy season many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Nighttime driving, particularly outside major cities, is hazardous and is discouraged. Often, roadways are not marked and lack streetlights and shoulders. Many sections have deteriorated surfaces. Due to possible language barriers and the lack of roadside assistance, receiving help may be difficult. Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, where their vehicles and luggage may be searched. Service stations are available along main roads.

In Rwanda, as in the U.S., traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road. Cars already in a traffic circle have the right of way. Until 2004, cars entering traffic circles had the right-of-way. Drivers should exercise caution at traffic circles, since some drivers might forget this change. Excessive speed, careless driving, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are hazards on Rwanda's roads. Many vehicles are not maintained well, and headlights are either extremely dim or not used. Drivers also tend to speed and pass other cars with little discretion. Some streets in Kigali have sidewalks or sufficient space for pedestrian traffic; others do not, and pedestrians are forced to walk along the roadway. With the limited street lighting, drivers often have difficulty seeing pedestrians. Drivers frequently have unexpected encounters with cyclists, pedestrians and livestock.

Third-party insurance is required and will cover any damages from involvement in an accident resulting in injuries, if one is found not to have been at fault. The driver's license of individuals determined to have caused an accident may be confiscated for three months. Causing a fatal accident could result in three to six months' imprisonment. Drunk drivers are jailed for 24 hours and fined RwF 20,000 (approximately $35). In the city of Kigali, contact the following numbers for police assistance in the event of an accident: Kigali Center, 08311112; Nyamirambo, 08311113; Kacyiru, 08311114; Kicukiro, 08311115; Remera, 08311116. Ambulance assistance is non-existent. Wear seat belts and drive with care and patience at all times. In case of an emergency, American citizens can contact the Embassy duty officer at 0830-0345.

For specific information concerning Rwandan driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks, B.P. 905, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-76514, fax 250-76512.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Rwanda, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Rwanda's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards.

Special Circumstances:

Telephone communication to and from Rwanda is generally reliable. Cellular telephones and Internet connections are available in Kigali and large towns.

The Rwandan franc is freely exchangeable for hard currencies in banks and the Bureaux de Change. Several Kigali banks can handle wire transfers from U.S. banks, including Western Union. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali and only to settle hotel bills. Hotels currently accepting credit cards for payment include the Intercontinental Hotel, the Hotel des Mille Collines, the Novotel Umubano, and the Kivu Sun Hotel. Travelers should expect to handle most expenses, including air tickets, in cash. Traveler's checks can be cashed only at commercial banks. Because some travelers have had difficulty using U.S. currency printed before the year 2000, the Embassy recommends traveling with newer U.S. currency notes. ATMs are not available in Rwanda.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Rwandan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Rwanda are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Rwanda are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Boulevard de la Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda; tel. (250) 505-602 or (250) 505-603, then dial zero; Fax: (250) 572-128; e-mail address is [email protected] The Consular Section's email address is: [email protected] The Embassy's Internet website is http://kigali.usembassy.gov/. American citizen service hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until noon, except on U.S. and Rwandan holidays.

International Adoption

January 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note:

Immigrant visas for Rwandan citizens including adopted orphans are issued at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Please visit the Web site for the Immigrant Visa Section at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi for information on immigrant visa services. http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/wwwhins1.html.

Patterns of Immigration of Adopted Orphans to the U.S.:

Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics indicate that only two immigrant visas were issued to Rwandan orphans in the last five years.

Adoption Authority in Rwanda:

Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs
Address: B.P. 3445 Kigali, Rwanda
Phone: 011-250-87741/011-250-83595
Fax: (011) (250) 82228

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents:

Adoptive parents must be under the age of fifty years old. However, a judge can waive the age requirement.

Residency Requirements:

There are no residency requirements for foreign adoptive parents.

Time Frame:

Allow 1-2 months to complete the Rwandan adoption and subsequent immigration procedures. Allow two weeks in Africa: 4 working days in Rwanda and 10 days in Kenya.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

There are no known adoption agencies that provide adoption services in Rwanda. Upon request, the U.S. Embassy can provide a list of attorneys. Neither the Department of State nor the U.S. Embassy can vouch for the efficacy or professionalism of any attorneys on this list.

For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and licensing office of the Department of Health and Family Services in the state where the agency is located. The Department of State does not assume any responsibility for the quality of services provided by these private adoption agencies or their employees.

Adoption Fees in Rwanda:

There are no Rwandan government fees associated with international adoptions. However, adoptive parents can expect to pay for any attorney's fees for services rendered.

Adoption Procedures in Rwanda:

Prospective adoptive parents must petition the local court having jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child's residence. Once the adoption is approved, the adoption decree is filed at the local vital records registry for the child's place of residence.

Papers are filed with the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs. A travel letter from the Ministry of Family and Gender is required for the child to exit Rwanda. Documents from the Government of Rwanda are in French - U.S. Embassy Kigali will provide English translations of these documents for use in Nairobi. Prospective adoptive parents will need English translations of the birth certificates and death certificates (if applicable) of the adopted child's birth parents to complete immigrant visa processing in Nairobi. The U.S. Embassy in Rwanda can assist in locating translation services, but no U.S. Government resources are available for translating birth or death certificates.

Documents Required for Adoption in Rwanda:

  • Birth certificate(s) of the adoptive parent(s). If a birth certificate is unavailable, a legal or administrative certificate that proves date of birth and identity may be submitted;
  • Original birth certificate of the child to be adopted;
  • Waiver of age limit certificate, if applicable (for adoptive parents over the age of 50);
  • The "Act of Adoption", which is prepared by the local Bureau de l'Etat Civil (Vital Statistics Office);
  • Declaration the adoptive parent's spouse consenting to the adoption;
  • The Adoption Act. The act must reference the information on the birth and death certificates, whichever are applicable, as well as the identities/documents of the adopting persons (passports and International Adoptive Home Study);
  • Authorization letter for departing Rwanda (Prepared by the Ministry of Local Administration and Social Affairs);
  • Legal Judgment Document (a court order approving the adoption), which is prepared by the local court having jurisdiction where the child is located.

Authenticating Documents To Be Used Abroad:

All U.S. documents submitted to the Rwandan government, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must be authenticated. Contact the Rwandan Embassy for specific information about Rwandan authentication of U.S. documents. Visit the State Department website at travel.state.gov for additional information about authentication procedures.

Rwandan Embassy in the United States:

1714 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-232-2882/3/4
Fax: 202-232-4544
E-mail: [email protected]
http://www.rwandemb.org/

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassies in Rwanda Kenya:

For Rwanda:
337 Boulevard de la Revolution
B.P. 28
Kigali, Rwanda
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (250) 505601, 505602, 505603
Extension: 3241
Fax: (250) 572128

For Kenya:
Embassy of the United States of America
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606
00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Phone 254-20-363-6000
Fax: 254-20-363-6410

Additional Information:

Specific questions about adoption in a particular country may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in that country. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-404-4747.

views updated

RWANDA

Compiled from the October 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
Republic of Rwanda


PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 26,338 sq. km. (10,169 sq. km.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Kigali (est. pop. 800,000). Other cities—Gitarama, Butare, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi.

Terrain: Uplands and hills.

Climate: Mild and temperate, with two rainy seasons.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Rwandan(s).

Population: (August 2002 census) 8.2 million.

Annual growth rate: (August 2002 census) Mean of 1.2% between 1991-2002.

Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa 1%.

Religions: Christian 93.5%, traditional African 0.1%, Muslim 4.6%, 1.7% claim no religious beliefs.

Languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—75% (prewar). Literacy—64%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—107/1,000. Life expectancy—40 yrs.

Work force: Agriculture—92%; industry and commerce, services, and government—8%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: July 1, 1962.

Constitution: -May 26, 2003.

Branches: Executive—president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government). Broad-based government of national unity formed after the 1994 civil war. Elections in 2003 elected a president, 80-seat Chamber of Deputies and 26-member Senate. Legislative—Chamber of Deputies; Senate. Judicial—Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Court of Appeals.

Administrative subdivisions: 12 provinces; 106 districts; 1,545 sectors; 9.165 cells.

Political parties: Eight parties comprise the government: the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leads a coalition that includes the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), the Rwandan Labor [formerly Socialist] Party (PSR), the Ideal [formerly Islamic] Democratic Party (PDI), and the Democratic Popular Union (UPDR). Other parties in the government include the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL), and the Concord Progressive Party (PPC).

Suffrage: Universal for citizens over 18—except refugees, prisoners, and certain categories of convicts.

Central government budget: (2000 est.) 31.7 billions of Rwandan francs ($29 million) Revenues—$28 million. Expenditures—$29 million.

Economy

GDP: (1999 est.) $1.9 billion.

Real GDP growth rate: (2002 est.) 9%.

Per ca pit a income: (1999 est.) $250.

Average inflation rate: (2000 est.) 3.9%.

Natural resources: Cassiterite, wolfram, methane.

Agriculture: (2001 est.) 47% of GDP. Products—coffee, tea, cattle, hides and skin, pyrethrum. Arable land—48%, 90% of which is cultivated.

Industry: (1999 est., 20% of GDP) Types—beer production, soft drink, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals.

Trade: (1996 est.) Exports—$69.4 million: coffee, tea, hides and skins, cassiterite, pyrethrum. Major markets—Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Pakistan. Imports—$221 million: food, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum products. Major suppliers—Belgium, U.S., Tanzania, Kenya, France.



GEOGRAPHY

Rwanda's countryside is covered by grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, with areas of rugged mountains that extend southeast from a chain of volcanoes in the northwest. The divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems extends from north to south through western Rwanda at an average elevation of almost 9,000 feet. On the western slopes of this ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly toward Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley, which form the western boundary with the People's Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and constitute part of the Great Rift valley. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across central uplands at gradually reducing altitudes, to the plains, swamps, and lakes of the eastern border region.


Although located only two degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda's high elevation makes the climate temperate. The average daily temperature near Lake Kivu, at an altitude of 4,800 feet (1,463 meters) is 73°F (23°C). During the two rainy seasons (February-May and September-December), heavy downpours occur almost daily, alternating with sunny weather. Annual rainfall averages 80 centimeters (31 in.) but is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.



PEOPLE

Rwanda's population density, even after the 1994 genocide, is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa (322 per sq. km., according to the August 2002 census). Nearly every family in this country with few villages lives in a self-contained compound on a hillside. The urban concentrations are grouped around administrative centers. The indigenous population consists of three ethnic groups. The Hutus, who comprise the majority of the population (85%), are traditionally farmers of Bantu origin. The Tutsis (14%) are traditionally a pastoral people who arrived in the area in the 15th century. Until 1959, they formed the dominant caste under a feudal system based on cattle holding. The Twa (1%) are thought to be the remnants of the earliest settlers of the region. Over half of the adult population is literate, but not more than 5% have received secondary education. During 1994-95, most primary schools and more than half of prewar secondary schools reopened. The national university in Butare reopened in April 1995; enrollment is over 7,000. Rebuilding the educational system continues to be a high priority of the Rwandan Government.



HISTORY

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle breeders began arriving in the area from the Horn of Africa in the 15th century and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a mwami (king) and a feudal hierarchy of Tutsi nobles and gentry. Through a contract known as ubuhake, the Hutu farmers pledged their services and those of their descendants to a Tutsi lord in return for the loan of cattle and use of pastures and arable land. Thus, the Tutsi reduced the Hutu to virtual serfdom. However, boundaries of race and class became less distinct over the years as some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu. The first European known to have visited Rwanda was German Count Von Goetzen in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the "White Fathers." In 1899, the mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country.


After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a UN Trust Territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum.


During the 1959 revolt and its after-math, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.


Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime. Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the PARMEHUTU Party and abolished all political activity.


In 1975, President Habyarimana formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) whose goals were to promote peace, unity, and national development. The movement was organized from the "hillside" to the national level and included elected and appointed officials.


Under MRND aegis, Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed President Habyarimana as president. President Habyarimana was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one-party state into a multi-party democracy.


On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problems of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost 2 years until a cease-fire accord was signed July 12, 1992, in Arusha, Tanzania, fixing a timetable for an end to the fighting and political talks, leading to a peace accord and powersharing, and authorizing a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity. A cease-fire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992.


On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both presidents were killed. As though the shooting down was a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing all Tutsis and political moderates, regardless of their ethnic background.


The prime minister and her 10 Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia—Interahamwe. Even ordinary citizens were called on to kill their neighbors by local officials and government-sponsored radio. The president's MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.


The RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha accords came under attack immediately after the shooting down of the president's plane. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF
units in the north. The RPF then resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for 2 months. French forces landed in Goma, Zaire, in June 1994 on a humanitarian mission. They deployed throughout southwest Rwanda in an area they called "Zone Turquoise," quelling the genocide and stopping the fighting there. The Rwandan Army was quickly defeated by the RPF and fled across the border to Zaire followed by some 2 million refugees who fled to Zaire, Tanzania, and Burundi. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended on July 16, 1994. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. Up to 800,000 had been murdered, another 2 million or so had fled, and another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The United States was one of the largest contributors. The UN peacekeeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8, 1996.


Following an uprising by the ethnic Tutsi Banyamulenge people in eastern Zaire in October 1996, a huge movement of refugees began which brought more than 600,000 back to Rwanda in the last 2 weeks of November. This massive repatriation was followed at the end of December 1996 by the return of another 500,000 from Tanzania, again in a huge, spontaneous wave. Less than 100,000 Rwandans are estimated to remain outside of Rwanda, and they are thought to be the remnants of the defeated army of the former genocidal government, its allies in the civilian militias known as Interahamwe, and soldiers recruited in the refugee camps before 1996.


With the return of the refugees, a new chapter in Rwandan history began. As of October 2003, Rwanda's refugee population consisted of 28,000 Congolese Tutsis at two camps in Kibuye and Byumba provinces. In 2001, the government began implementation of a grassroots village-level justice system, known as gacaca, in order to address the enormous backlog of cases. As of October 2003, some 80,000 individuals remained in detention in Rwanda, awaiting gacaca trials on charges relating to the 1994 genocide.



GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After its military victory in July 1994, the RPF organized a coalition government similar to that established by President Habyarimana in 1992. Called "The Broad Based Government of National Unity," its fundamental law is based on a combination of the June 1991 constitution, the Arusha accords, and political declarations by the parties. The MRND Party was outlawed. In April 2003, the transitional National Assembly recommended the dissolution of the Democratic Republican Party (MDR), one of eight political parties participating in the Government of National Unity since 1994. Human rights groups noted the subsequent disappearances of political figures associated with the MDR, including at least one parliamentarian serving in the National Assembly. On May 26, 2003, Rwanda adopted a new Constitution which eliminated reference to ethnicity and set the stage for presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003. The seven remaining political parties endorsed incumbent Paul Kagame for president, who was elected to a 7-year term on August 25, 2003. Rwanda held its first-ever legislative elections September 29 to October 2, 2003. The success or failure of the Rwandan social compact will be decided over the next few years, as Hutu and Tutsi try to find ways to live together again.

Challenges facing the government include promoting further democratization and judicial reform; prosecuting more than 80,000 individuals detained for crimes relating to the 1994 genocide; preventing the recurrence of any insurgency among ex-military and Interahamwe militia who remain in eastern Congo; and the shift away from crisis to medium- and long-term development planning.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 10/31/03


President: Kagame, Paul

Vice President:

Prime Minister: Makuza, Bernard

Min. of Agriculture & Livestock: Habamenshi, Patrick

Min. of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperation: Shuti, Manase

Min. of Defense: Gatsinzi, Marcel, Maj.Gen.

Min. of Education, Technology, & Scientific Research: Murenzi, Romain

Min. of Finance & Economic Planning: Kaberuka, Donat

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Regional Cooperation: Murigande, Charles

Min. of Gender & Family Promotion: Ntirahabineza, Valerie

Min. of Health: Dushimiyimana, Abel

Min. of Information: Iyamuremye, Augustin

Min. of Infrastructure, Energy, Communications, Water, & Natural Resources: Ntawukuriryayo, J. Damascene

Min. of Interior & Security: Ntiruhungwa, Jean de Dieu

Min. of Justice: Mukabagwiza, Edda

Min. of Local Government: Bazivamo, Christophe

Min. in the Office of the President: Nyirahabimana, Solina

Min. of Public Service, Skills Development, Vocational Training, & Labor: Bumaya, Andre

Min. of Social Affairs:

Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Bayigamba, Robert

Min. of State for Economic Planning: Kabanda, Celestin

Min. of State for Energy & Communications: Nkusi, Sam

Min. of State for Forestry: Mugorewera, Drocella

Min. of State for Good Governance: Musoni, Protais

Min. of State for HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases: Nyaruhirira, Innocent

Min. of State for Investment Promotion, Tourism, & Cooperatives: Habamenshi, Patrick

Min. of State for Primary & Secondary Education: Munyakayanza, Eugene

Min. of State for Skills Development, Vocational Training, & Labor: Muganza, Angelina

Min. of State for Social Affairs: Nyiramirimo, Odette

Min. of State for Water & Natural Resources: Munyanganizi, Bikoro

Governor, Central Bank: Mutemberezi, Francois

Ambassador to the US: Nsenga, Zac

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Kamanzi, Stanislas



Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 New Hampshire Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).



ECONOMY

The Rwandan economy is based on the largely rainfed agricultural production of small, semisubsistence, and increasingly fragmented farms. It has few natural resources to exploit and a small, uncompetitive industrial sector. While the production of coffee and tea is well-suited to the small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates of Rwanda, farm size continues to decrease, especially in view of government ownership of all land and the resettlement of displaced persons. Agribusiness accounts for 50% of Rwanda's GDP and 70% of exports. Tea accounts for 60% of export earnings, followed by coffee and pyrethrum (whose ex tract is used in insect repellent). Mountain gorillas serve as a potentially important source of tourism revenue, but Rwanda's tourism and hospitality sector requires further development. Rwanda is one of 20 member states of COMESA and hopes to form a free trade area with Burundi in January 2004. Some 34% of Rwanda's imports originate in Africa; 90% from COMESA countries. The genocide continues to impact Rwanda's economy: as of 2003, 30% of the Rwanda Development Bank's outstanding nonperforming loans originate from 1994 genocide. In 2003, the Government of Rwanda sought to privatize several key firms, including Rwanda-tel (the country's second-largest mobile phone provider); Electrogaz, the utility monopoly; several government-owned tea factories; and the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, the country's second-largest commercial bank.


During the 5 years of civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide, GDP declined in 3 out of 5 years, posting a dramatic decline at more than 40% in 1994, the year of the genocide. The 9% increase in real GDP for 1995, the first postwar year, signaled the resurgence of economic activity, due primarily to massive foreign aid.


In the immediate postwar period—mid-1994 through 1995—emergency humanitarian assistance of more than $307.4 million was largely directed to relief efforts in Rwanda and in the refugee camps in neighboring countries where Rwandans fled during the war. In 1996, humanitarian relief aid began to shift to reconstruction and development assistance.


Since 1996, Rwanda has experienced steady economic recovery, thanks to foreign aid (averaging $200-$300 million per year) and governmental reforms. As of 2002, the GDP has ranged from 3%-9% per annum, and inflation has ranged between 2%-3%. Rwanda depends on significant foreign imports ($250-$300 million per year). Export rates remain weak at $75 million per year. Private investment remains below expectations despite an open trade policy, a favorable investment climate, cheap and abundant labor, tax incentives to businesses, stable internal security, and crime rates that are comparatively low. Investment insurance also is available through the Africa Trade Insurance Agency or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The weakness of exports as well as low domestic savings rates have had a negative impact on the current account for Rwanda, thus requiring a recent currency devaluation and debt restructuring measures.

The Government of Rwanda remains committed to a strong and enduring economic climate for the country. To this end the government focuses on poverty reduction, infrastructure development, privatization of government-owned assets, expansion of the export base, and liberalization of trade. The implementation of a value added tax of 18% and improved tax collections are having a positive impact on government revenues and thereby services rendered. Banking reform and low corruption also are favorable current trends. Agricultural reforms, improved farming methods, and increased use of fertilizers are improving crop yields and national food supply. Moreover, the government is pursing educational and healthcare programs that bode well for the long-term quality of Rwanda's human resource skills base.


Many challenges remain for Rwanda. Rwanda is dependent on significant foreign aid. Exports continue to lag far behind imports and will continue to affect the current account. Inflation may become a problem should the government resort to over-printing currency for short-term gains. The persistent lack of economic diversification beyond the production of tea, coffee, and coltan keeps the country vulnerable to market fluctuations. Rwanda's landlocked situation necessitates strong highway infrastructure maintenance, and good transport linkages to neighboring countries, especially Uganda and Tanzania, are critical. Transportation costs remain high and, therefore, burden import and export costs. Rwanda has no railway system for port access in Tanzania, although the nearest railhead from Kigali is 380 kilometers away at Isaka, Tanzania. The development of small manufacturing and service industries is needed, and the tourism industry, now at 8,000 visitors per year, has far greater potential given the current stability, travel infrastructure, and available animal parks as well as other potential tourist sites.

American business interest in Rwanda, other than in tea and telecommunications, is weak, and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has yet to make a significant impact in Rwanda. Energy needs will stress natural resources in wood and gas, but hydroelectric power development is underway, albeit primarily in the planning stages. Rwanda does not have nuclear power nor coal resources. Finally, the Rwanda's fertility rate (averaging 5.8 births per woman) will continue to stress services, and diseases such as AIDS/HIV transmission, malaria, and tuberculosis will have a major impact on human resources.


Rwanda's government-run radio broadcasts 15 hours a day in English, French, and Kinyarwanda, the national languages. News programs include regular re-broadcasts from international radio such as Voice of America and Radio France International. There is a fledgling television station. There are few independent newspapers; most newspapers publish in Kinyarwanda on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Several Western nations, including the United States, are working to encourage freedom of the press, the free exchange of ideas, and responsible journalism.



DEFENSE

The military establishment is comprised of a well-trained army and a small, rotary-wing air force. Defense spending continues to represent a disproportionate share of the national budget, largely due to continuing security problems along the frontiers with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi in the aftermath of the war. Following withdrawal of Rwandan Armed Forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2002, the government completely restructured the military and launched an ambitious plan to demobilize thousands of soldiers. At end state, Rwanda will have a small, well-equipped army of 25,000 soldiers.



FOREIGN RELATIONS

In July 2003, Rwanda's Presidential Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Patrick Mazimhaka, was elected Deputy Chairperson of 10-person African Union Commission. President Paul Kagame was elected as the First Vice Chairman of the AU.


Rwanda has been the center of much international attention since the war and genocide of 1994. Rwanda is an active member of the UN, having presided over the Security Council during part of 1995. The UN assistance mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), a UN Chapter Six peacekeeping operation, involved personnel from more than a dozen countries. Most of the UN development and humanitarian agencies have had a large presence in Rwanda.


At the height of the emergency, more than 200 nongovernmental organizations were carrying out humanitarian operations. Several west European and African nations, Canada, China, Egypt, Libya, Russia, The Vatican, and the European Union maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali. In 1998, Rwanda, along with Uganda, invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) to back Congolese rebels trying to overthrow then-President Laurent Kabila. Rwandan troops pulled out of the D.R.C. in October 2002, however, in accordance with the Lusak a cease-fire agreement.



U.S.-RWANDAN RELATIONS

In the post-crisis period, U.S. Government interests have shifted from strictly humanitarian to include the prevention of renewed regional conflict, the promotion of internal stability, and renewed economic development.


Since 1995, the United States has been the principal donor for Rwanda's humanitarian demining program, providing over $11 million to help remove the scourge of landmines. As of October 2003, one million square meters of landmines are estimated to remain in Rwanda, 80% of which lie in two identified mine fields.


A major focus of bilateral relations is the Agency for International Development's (USAID) "transition" program, which aims to promote internal stability and to increase confidence in the society. To achieve this, USAID is trying to achieve three strategic objectives under an integrated strategic plan:


  • Increased rule of law and transparency in governance;
  • Increased use of health and social services and changed behavior related to sexually transmitted infections and human immunodeficiency virus and maternal and child health by building service capacity in target regions; and
  • Increased ability of rural families in targeted communities to improve household food security.

The mission currently is implementing activities in humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation—women's income-generating initiatives, shelter, family relocation for children administration of justice, increased local government capacity, improved health service delivery, AIDS and STI prevention, and enhanced food security.


The State Department's Public Affairs section maintains a cultural center in Kigali, which offers public access to English-language publications and information on the United States. American business interests have been small; currently, private U.S. investment is limited to the tea industry. Annual U.S. exports to Rwanda, under $10 million annually from 1990-93, exceeded $40 million in 1994 and 1995, but decreased to only $13.4 million in 2001.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Kigali (E), Blvd. de la Revolution, B. P. 28, [250] 505601/2/3, 72126, 77147; INMARST (Voice) 871-76-1249710; INMARSAT (Fax) 871-76-1249711; Connection to E-Fax: E-Fax in U.S.: 419-710-9346; Embassy Fax 250-572128; Front Office Fax: 250-570319; STU III: 250-570322; Hours 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Friday. After hours contact will be Duty Officer: 250-0830-0345 or 0830-0537. AMB res. 583219; DCM res. 505314; POL 75632; ECO 577228; IRM 502114; USAID Tel 570937-42; USAID Fax 574735; USAID Dir res. 582185; PAO Res. N/A; E-mail: [email protected]

AMB: Margaret K. McMillion
AMB OMS: Victoria Crebbin
DCM: Kent C. Brokenshire
POL: Eric Wong
ECO/CON: Djeneba Kendrick
MGT: Salvatore Piazza
RSO: Bryan Bachmann
PAO: Melissa A. Joslin
IRM: Scott S. Alper
GSO: Christopher Newton
AID: Henderson Patrick
DAO: MAJ Tony Curtis, USA
FAA: Ronald L. Montgomery (res. Dakar)
RELO: Robert Lindsey (res. Dakar)
IRS: Frederick Pablo (res. Paris)
DEA: Robert Shannon (res. Cairo)


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003



TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
August 29, 2003


Country Description: Rwanda is a landlocked developing country in Central/East Africa. It is recovering from a civil war and genocide in which as many as one million people were killed. Hotels and guesthouses are adequate in Kigali, the capital, and in major towns, but they are limited in remote areas.


Entry and Exit Requirements: A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544, Internet site: http://www.rwandaemb.org/rwanda/. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan Embassy or Consulate.


Travelers who wish to travel to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda or Zimbabwe may experience difficulties at the DRC airport or other ports of entry. Some travelers with these visas or exit/entry stamps have been detained for questioning in the DRC.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: In July 1999, the Government of Rwanda reopened the Parc National des Volcans. The Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) provide security in the park against attacks by rebel groups operating from the DRC. The RDF also provide military escorts for visitors viewing the mountain gorillas. Visitors are not permitted to visit the park without permission from Rwanda's Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), and they are strongly advised against visits to the park apart from organized gorilla tours. The ORTPN has begun programs of nature walks, and military escorts also accompany these tours. Visitors are strongly advised to leave the park by 6:00 p.m. Due to possible insurgent activity in the area, visitors should exercise extreme caution while in the park and follow ORTPN and military escorts' instructions closely.

In the past few years, insurgent activity has been reported in southwestern Rwanda in the Nyungwe Forest. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges American citizens to avoid travel through the Nyungwe Forest on the Butare-Cyangugu Road during the hours of twilight and darkness. The Embassy advises against visiting the Nyungwe Forest until insurgent activity has ended.


Visitors are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office or Consular Section for the latest security information, including developments in northwest and southwest Rwanda. (Please see the section below on Registration/Embassy Location.)


Regional Terrorism: One of the many Hutu extremist rebel factions in the Great Lakes region has committed, and continues to threaten, violence against American citizens and interests. This faction was responsible for the March 1999 kidnapping and murder of several Western tourists, including U.S. citizens, in neighboring Uganda. Hutu rebel factions are known to operate in northeastern DRC and surrounding areas, including sections of Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.


Crime: Pick-pocketing in crowded public places is common, as is petty theft from cars and hotel rooms. Although violent crimes such as car-jackings, robberies, and home invasions occur in Kigali, they are rarely committed against foreigners. For example, in February 2003, a minivan with five expatriate children and two adults was carjacked in Kigali; all passengers were released unharmed. Americans are advised to remain alert and exercise caution.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and to explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa," for useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited, and some medicines are in short supply or unavailable. Travelers generally should bring their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. In Kigali, Americans can go to King Faycal Hospital, a private hospital that offers limited services. A list of medical providers is also available at the U.S. Embassy. A missionary hospital run by Americans is located in Kibagora, in the southwest of Rwanda, and it has some surgical facilities.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


Travelers should be aware that evidence of and/or assurances from U.S. insurance companies will not be accepted as settlement of medical expenses in Rwanda.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.


Other Medical Information: Malaria is prevalent in Rwanda. P. falciparum malaria, the serious and sometimes fatal strain in Rwanda, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Rwanda are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam-tm), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone-tm), as well as other protective measures to prevent insect bites, such as the use of insect repellent. The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate antimalarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malaria.

There are periodic outbreaks of meningitis in Rwanda. Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease.


Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organizations website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Rwanda is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


Excessive speed, careless driving, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are hazards on Rwanda's roads. Drivers frequently have unexpected encounters with cyclists, pedestrians and livestock. Nighttime driving is particularly hazardous and is discouraged. Often, roadways are not marked and lack streetlights and shoulders. While the main roads in Rwanda are in relatively good condition, during the rainy season many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, where their vehicles and luggage may be searched. Service stations are available along main roads. Public transportation can be dangerous due to overloading, inadequate maintenance and careless drivers.


In Rwanda, one drives on the right-hand side. Cars entering traffic circles have the right-of-way. Third-party insurance is required and will cover any damages if you are involved in an accident resulting in injuries and you are found not to have been at fault. If you are found to have caused the accident, your driver's license can be confiscated for three months. If you cause an accident that results in a death, you can be sentenced to three to six months' imprisonment. Drunk drivers are jailed for 24 hours and fined FRw 20,000(approximately $40). In the city of Kigali, you can call the following numbers for police assistance in the event of an accident: Kigali Center, 08311112; Nyamirambo, 08311113; Kacyiru, 08311114; Kicukiro, 08311115; Remera, 08311116. Ambulance assistance is non-existent. Please wear your seat belt and drive with care and patience at all times.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at www.travel.state.gov/road-safety.html. For specific information concerning Rwanda driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks, B.P. 905, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-76514, fax 250-76512.


Aviation Safety Oversight: At this time, one international carrier operates direct flights to Brussels, Belgium twice a week, and travelers may also fly through regional airports, including Kampala and Nairobi, to Europe and the United States. As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Rwanda by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.


For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.intl.faa.gov. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

Communications: Telephone communication to and from Rwanda is generally reliable. Cellular telephones and Internet connections are available in Kigali and large towns.


Currency Regulations: The Rwandan franc is freely exchangeable for hard currencies in banks and the Bureaux de Change. Several Kigali banks can handle wire transfers from U.S. banks, including Western Union. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels in Kigali and only to settle hotel bills. Travelers should expect to handle most expenses, including air tickets, in cash. Travelers checks can be cashed only at commercial banks.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Rwandan law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Rwanda are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.


Disaster Preparedness: In 2002, Rwanda experienced the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, which lies across the northwest border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tremors were felt throughout Rwanda, including in the capital, Kigali. Seismic activity is unpredictable and infrequent, but American citizens should be aware of the possibility of earthquakes. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone 1-888-407-4747.


Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens who plan to travel to Rwanda are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Rwanda. The U.S. Embassy is located at Boulevard de la Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-505601/505602/505603, fax 250-572128; e-mail address is [email protected] The Embassy's Internet website is www.usembkigali.net

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Rwanda

Culture Name

Rwandan

Alternative Names

Banyarwanda, Banyamulenge, Bafumbira

Orientation

Identification. The Rwandan culture includes not only the population of Rwanda but people in neighboring states, particularly Congo and Uganda, who speak the Kinyarwanda language. The important ethnic divisions within Rwandan culture between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa are based on perceptions of historical group origins rather than on cultural differences. All three groups speak the same language, practice the same religions, and live interspersed throughout the same territory; they are thus widely considered to share a common culture, despite deep political divisions. The Rwandans in Congo and Uganda include both refugees, who generally maintain a strong identification with the Rwandan national state, and Kinyarwanda speakers who have lived outside Rwanda for generations and therefore have a distinct cultural identity within the wider national culture.

Location and Geography. Known as the "land of a thousand hills," Rwanda is a mountainous country located on the far western edge of the Rift Valley, bordering on Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Tanzania. Rwanda rises from relatively flat plains in the east along the Tanzania border to steep mountains in the west along the continental divide between the Congo and Nile rivers. From the continental divide, the land drops sharply to the shores of Lake Kivu, which forms most of Rwanda's border with Congo. A range of high volcanoes forms Rwanda's northwest border. The mountainous topography continues in the North Kivu region of Congo, where almost half of the population identifies as Rwandan. A concentration of Kinyarwanda-speaking Tutsi, known as the Banyamulenge, lives in the high plains and mountains above Lake Tanganyika in South Kivu. The Bufumbira region of southwest Uganda is also Kinyarwanda speaking. The difficulty of travel and isolation resulting from the mountainous topography historically encouraged largely self-sufficient local communities and many local variations of the culture, but the modern centralized state implemented during the colonial period has encouraged a degree of cultural homogenization, at least within the borders of Rwanda.

Demography. War and political turmoil have led to radical population shifts in Rwanda in the past decade. According to the 1991 census, the total population of Rwanda was 7.7 million, with 90 percent of the population in the Hutu ethnic group, 9 percent Tutsi, and 1 percent Twa, though the actual percentage of Tutsi was probably higher. During the 1994 genocide, an estimated 80 percent of the Tutsi population living in Rwanda was killed, perhaps 600,000 people, but after a Tutsi-dominated government came to power in Rwanda in 1994, an estimated 700,000 Tutsi refugees returned from abroad. Meanwhile, several hundred thousand Hutu also died in the genocide and war and from diseases like cholera that spread in refugee camps when, at the end of the war, several million Hutu fled to Tanzania and Congo. Several million more were internally displaced within Rwanda. War that broke out in Congo in 1996 killed thousands more Hutu and drove most Hutu refugees back into Rwanda. As a result, the size and ethnic breakdown of the population are thought to be roughly comparable today to that before the 1994 war.

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. Prior to the 1994 war, Rwanda was among the most rural countries in the world, but the war precipitated rapid urbanization, with many refugees choosing not to return to their rural homes but to settle instead in the cities, primarily Kigali.

Linguistic Affiliation. Kinyarwanda is a unifying factor within Rwanda, since it is spoken almost universally. Closely related to Kirundi (spoken in Burundi), Mashi (spoken in the South Kivu region of Congo), and Kiha (spoken in northwestern Tanzania), Kinyarwanda is a Bantu language. Less than 10 percent of Rwanda's population also speaks French, and a small portion speaks English, primarily refugees returned from Uganda and Kenya. Kinyarwanda is the primary cultural identifier for Rwandans living outside Rwanda.

Symbolism. Historically, Rwanda's three ethnic groups have been identified with distinct aspects of the economy: the Tutsi with cattle, the Hutu with the land, and Twa with the forests. Each group had distinct roles in public rituals, and each group had a distinctive mode of dress. The monarchy served as an important unifying symbol, representing the interest of all three ethnic groups. Hutu and Tutsi were also linked together throughout much of the territory in a system of cattle vassalage, in which Tutsi patrons provided cattle to Hutu clients. During the colonial period, however, the monarchy lost much of its legitimacy as it became increasingly identified with the Tutsi minority, and the system of cattle vassalage became viewed as a system of exploitation of Hutu by Tutsi. The cattle vassalage system was abolished in the 1950s and Hutu politicians deposed the king in 1961. After independence in 1962, the all-Hutu government sought to portray Rwanda as a Hutu country, emphasizing agrarian cultural symbols. Christianity became an important source of national symbols, with almost all national leaders openly identifying as Christians, the large majority as Catholic. Since the Tutsi retook power in 1994, historic symbols such as cattle have been revived, and a strong political faction has called for the reinstallation of the monarchy as a means of reunifying the country's ethnic groups.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Rwanda traces its origins to one of the many small kingdoms that emerged in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa beginning five hundred years ago. Land pressures throughout the densely populated region encouraged increasing political centralization, particularly among cattle-raising people, who feared the loss of pasture land to encroaching cultivation. The kingdom of Rwanda was founded in the sixteenth century in what is today eastern Rwanda, then moved west to modern central Rwanda, where it developed a unifying social system and a strong army and began to expand, incorporating neighboring kingdoms and chieftaincies through conquest or alliance. A complex system emerged, based on political and economic ties rather than shared cultural identity. In the central kingdom, power was centralized and an ethnic division between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa became well developed. A system of cattle vassalage bound local communities together and tied them to the monarchy. Areas outside the central kingdom retained their distinct political and social organizations to varying degrees, with some chief-taincies merely paying tribute to the Rwandan king, but remaining otherwise autonomous. During this period, some Rwandans who resented the increasing political control emigrated from the kingdom, resettling in Congo, where they formed a distinct Rwandan community later known as the Banyamulenge.

National Identity. Colonial rule, which began in 1895, was the primary force leading to the emergence of the Rwandan national identity. German colonial authorities and the Belgians who replaced them in 1916 actually regarded the Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa as three distinct national groups, but colonial policies led to a greater identification with the Rwandan national state for all groups, even as they also created greater ethnic identification and polarization. The colonial overlords helped the Rwandan monarchy to centralize its control and extend its social system throughout the territory that is contemporary Rwanda, eliminating the local social and political variations that had existed in the precolonial period. By establishing modern state institutions in Rwanda, the colonial administrators also imported the ideas of nationality associated with the modern nation-state. Subsequent social and political conflicts have revolved around how exactly Rwandan nationality should be defined (for example, which ethnic groups should be included as "true" Rwandans) rather than over the validity of Rwandan as a national identity, as in many African states.

Ethnic Relations. The three ethnic groups in Rwanda emerged through a complex process of immigration and social and economic differentiation that took place over several centuries. Tradition holds that Twa were the original inhabitants; Hutu came second in a wave of migration from the west, and Tutsi came much later from the northeast. Archeological and anthropological research, however, indicates that in fact patterns of migration were much more complex, as populations moved into Rwanda over many centuries. Each new group of migrants adopted the local language and most local customs, although they also added some of their own beliefs and practices to the local culture. Modern ethnic identities emerged fairly recently and therefore could not derive primarily from migration. In fact, the differentiation throughout the region into three fully distinct ethnic groups occurred only during the colonial period and grew much more from European ideas about race and identity than from historic cultural patterns.

German and Belgian policies were based on the concept of indirect rule which sought to administer colonies through existing structures of power. Colonial administrators mistakenly believed power in Rwanda to be organized primarily along ethnic lines, and thus they instituted policies that subjugated the Hutu and favored the Tutsi, whom they saw as the natural rulers. The colonial rulers did not, in fact, maintain local power structures unchanged but centralized the political system, eliminating local political variations, including abolishing autonomous Hutu chieftaincies. In strengthening the rule of the Rwandan monarch throughout the territory, the colonials and their Tutsi allies in the royal court helped to extend the culture of central Rwanda to the rest of the territory. Many of the myths, practices, and beliefs of central Rwanda were spread to the rest of the territory, as were the system of cattle vassalage and the clear distinction between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The northern region of the country, which was least integrated into pre-colonial Rwanda, has remained somewhat politically distinct from the rest of the country, and competition between the north and the rest of the country has remained an important political factor.

With the establishment of colonial borders, some Kinyarwanda-speaking people were situated outside Rwanda. The Rwandan populations of Bufumbira in southwest Uganda and the border regions of North Kivu, as well as the Banyamulenge population in South Kivu, had little connection to the Rwandan court even before colonial rule. Under separate colonial authorities, these groups developed distinctive cultural identities, even as the populations of Uganda and Congo associated them with Rwanda. Meanwhile, thousands of Rwandans migrated to Congo and Uganda for economic purposes, creating large Rwandan communities with a stronger identification with Rwanda in places such as Masisi in North Kivu. In the Rwandan community outside Rwanda, the distinction between Hutu and Tutsi remained less significant than it became within Rwanda, as most Kinyarwanda-speakers were collectively known as Banyarwanda.

Within Rwanda the myth that Tutsi were a distinct race that arrived recently and established its dominance over Hutu and Tutsi through conquest came to be embraced by most of the population. It served the interests of the Tutsi elite who used it to reinforce German and Belgian prejudice that regarded Tutsi as natural rulers. During the colonial period, Rwanda was administered jointly with its neighbor to the south, Burundi, which had a closely related language and a similar social structure. With Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa in Burundi as well, the ethnic politics in the two countries tended to develop in tandem, with events in one country inspiring a response in the other.

In the 1950s, as independence approached, a movement of Hutu ethno-nationalism arose in response to the growing impoverishment of Hutu and the dominance of Tutsi. The Hutu ethnonationalists claimed that Hutu were the true Rwandans and that Tutsi were foreign interlopers. A peasant uprising in 1959 drove Tutsi chiefs from office and led thousands of Tutsi to flee the country, most of them to Uganda, Congo, and Burundi. Anti-Hutu violence in 1972 in Burundi, where Tutsi remained in charge, inspired anti-Tutsi violence in Rwanda in 1973 and led thousands more Tutsi to flee into exile. Hutu ethno-nationalism remained an important ideology in Rwanda and ultimately Hutu leaders used the idea that Tutsi were not "true" Rwandans to inspire Hutu soldiers and militia to slaughter the country's Tutsi population in 1994 along with moderate Hutu who challenged the exclusivist national ideology.

Although they embraced an exclusivist notion of identity during the colonial period, Tutsi since independence have sought to promote a more inclusive conception of national identity that regards Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa as one nationality. In 1990, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a group of Tutsi refugees based in Uganda, invaded northern Rwanda to attempt to force the government to allow Tutsi refugees to return to Rwanda. Although hundreds of thousands of Tutsi were killed in the 1994 genocidein part because Hutu were frightened by the RPF invasionthe RPF was ultimately successful on the battlefield, and in July 1994, they took control of the country. The current RPF-dominated government now promotes a multi-ethnic idea of Rwandan national identity.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Rwanda is among the most rural countries in the world. Most people live in individual family compounds surrounded by banana groves and fields and scattered across the hillsides. The hillthe collection of families living on a single hillhas historically been the central social and political unit. Each hill had a chief who linked the population to the monarch. Although chieftaincies were abolished in the 1960s, the new administrative units generally preserved the hill divisions.

The extreme violence that swept the country in 1994 devastated Rwanda's rural social structure. With millions of people uprooted from their homes, hundreds of thousands killed, and hundreds of thousands more returned from long exile, Rwandan society underwent rapid social change. Most of the returned Tutsi refugees chose to settle in urban areas, while most Tutsi in the countryside were killed or chose to move to the cities. As a result, urbanization took on a new ethnic character, even as the rate of urbanization jumped dramatically. Meanwhile, the government instituted a program of villagization in the countryside, forcing peasant farmers to leave their isolated homesteads to live together in small overcrowded villages. While the government claimed that these villages were intended to facilitate the administration of social services, many critics believed that the program was designed to facilitate social control.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Rwandan food is quite simple, with beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and sorghum being the most common foods. Dairy products are also widely consumed, particularly a traditional drink of curdled milk. Those who can afford to do so also eat meat, primarily beef, goat, and chicken. Sorghum and banana beers are common as well.

Rwandans traditionally eat food in public settings only for ceremonial purposes, but otherwise eat only in the home. In recent years, the taboo on eating in public has diminished significantly, and restaurants have appeared in most urban areas. While the system of clans has diminished sharply in importance in Rwanda, most Rwandans will still not eat the totemic animals associated with their clans.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Important occasions in Rwanda always involve the ceremonial consumption of alcohol and food, but full meals are never served. People in attendance at a wedding or funeral are formally served a piece of meat and something else to eat, usually a roasted potato. A pot of sorghum beer is placed in the center of the room with numerous reed straws, and participants come forward to partake. Calabashes of banana beer are passed through the crowd.

It is also customary to serve people food and drink when they visit a home. Refusing to partake of offered food or drink is considered a grave insult. Hosts typically sip from drinks and taste the food first before passing them to the guests to show that they are safe for consumption and have not been poisoned. Visitors are often presented with food as gifts to take with them at the conclusion of their visits.

Basic Economy. Rwanda has an overwhelmingly agrarian economy. Most residents live largely from subsistence farming, growing some coffee on the side as a means of earning income. The level of industrialization remains extremely low.

Land Tenure and Property. Most Rwandans own the land that they work. Traditionally, all land was formally held by the king and rights to the land were distributed to subjects by the local chiefs, but in practice, Rwandans controlled their own land and passed it down as an inheritance to their male children. Private land ownership was formalized during the colonial period and continued as a general practice. Overpopulation and related poverty have led to land accumulation by a limited elite and the emergence of a class of landless poor, but most rural residents, even the very poor, own at least some of the fields they work.

Commercial Activities. With almost no natural resources other than land, no access to the ocean, and extremely dense population, Rwanda's economic possibilities are extremely limited. Coffee has been the most important export, followed by other agricultural products such as tea and pyrethrum. Since the 1970s, Rwanda's economy has been heavily dependent upon foreign economic assistance. Foreign aid has financed the construction of roads, water and electrical systems, and the development of new economic ventures, most recently flowers for export. These ventures have generally benefitted only a limited elite associated with the government, while doing little to address the growing poverty of the masses.

Major Industries. Rwanda has developed a few small industries to meet local demands for products such as bottled beer, soap, and fabric, but these provide little employment and contribute little to the economy.

Trade. Coffee is the country's primary export, along with tea, which is grown on large estates in areas of high elevation, and pyrethrum, a type of chrysanthemum grown as a natural insecticide. Since the 19901994 war, Rwanda has become more involved in international trade with Uganda and Congo. Rwanda has become a major transport center for gold, diamonds, and other commodities mined in Congo.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Historians have described the pre-colonial division between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa as both a class and a caste division, though neither term is wholly accurate. Like caste divisions, one's group determined to some extent one's occupation, with Hutu engaged more in cultivation, Tutsi in raising livestock, and Twa in hunting and a few other activities such as making ceramics. The occupational lines were not, however, strictly enforced, as Hutu could own cattle and goats and most Tutsi engaged in at least some cultivation. The terms may be somewhat closer to class labels, because there clearly was a status distinction between Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, with Tutsi at the top of the social hierarchy and Twa at the bottom. Each group had a specific socially proscribed public role, symbolized by distinct functions in public rituals.

The association between ethnic identity and class has broken down since independence. Since Hutu took control of the government, those Hutu with access to power were able to use their positions to enrich themselves and accumulate cattle and land, traditional signs of wealth. While most Hutu remained poor, a small Hutu elite was able to flourish. Without access to political power, Tutsi lost most opportunities for enrichment. With the change in government in 1994, Tutsi once again gained access to economic opportunities. Many Tutsi returning from Uganda or elsewhere were able to bring capital with them, and they have been able to use their international connections to engage in trade and other economic activities.

Despite the changing position of Hutu and Tutsi, the Twa have remained fixed at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Twa have almost no political power and remain the poorest segment of society. Twa are generally despised by Hutu and Tutsi alike, who regard them as dirty and dishonest. Whereas intermarriage between Hutu and Tutsi is common, it is extremely rare between Twa and other groups.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Historically, social status was symbolized through the possession of cattle, the primary sign of wealth in Rwanda. In fact, Hutu families that acquired sufficient cattle and were able to take clients in the cattle vassalage system would eventually have their status changed and come to be known as Tutsi, whereas Tutsi who lost their cattle and clients would eventually be considered Hutu. Although ownership of cattle is no longer associated with ethnic identity, it remains an important symbol of status. Other historic symbols of high social status, such as elaborate hair styles and distinctive dress, are no longer in practice. Social status in contemporary Rwanda is reflected in the knowledge of French or English, which demonstrates a degree of education, and in the possession of consumer goods such as vehicles and televisions. Twa are identified in part by their distinctive patterns of speech; while Kinyarwanda is generally spoken using three tones, Twa speak Kinyarwanda with two.

Political Life

Government. Rwanda has a powerful president, assisted by a multiparty cabinet and a prime minister. The national assembly and the judiciary have little independent power in practice. The country is divided into twelve regions, known as prefectures, each led by a prefect named by the president. The prefectures are divided into communes, led by burgomasters, and the communes into sectors. In 1999, local elections were held throughout Rwanda for the first time in a decade, but the level of competition was constrained by continuing political repression. The government promised presidential and legislative elections within five years.

The current political system evolved from the single-party state implemented by President Habyarimana in 1975. Under pressure from a prodemocracy movement and from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), multiparty politics was legalized in 1991, the office of prime minister implemented, and a multiparty "government of national unity," including ministers from all the major political parties, installed. The August 1993 Arusha Peace Accords between the RPF and the government stipulated a continuation of the system of coalition government. The Arusha Accords are the basis for the current government structure, though the current government excludes Habyarimana's political party because of its involvement in the 1994 genocide.

Leadership and Political Officials. With its long history of royal rule and social status divisions, Rwanda has strong hierarchical political traditions. Relations with politicians, like other social relations, are highly regulated by status roles. Common Rwandans are expected to show deference to their politicians, whose positions give them social status. In exchange for deference and loyalty, politicians are expected to provide their constituents with services and opportunities. Political officials must in turn show deference and loyalty to their political superiors and help to create popular support for the government or risk losing their positions.

While public political relations are formal and deferential, behind the scenes Rwandan politics has long been an arena of clandestine plotting and intrigue. Various clans competed for power in the royal court as alliances shifted and groups sought to increase their power through spying and assassination. These traditions of political intrigue have continued under the republican regimes, with rivals for power secretly plotting the demise of rulers and coup attempts common. Such duality can be seen at the grassroots level, where public deference by citizens may mask private resistance and disobedience.

Social Problems and Control. Traditionally in Rwanda, the local community played the primary role in maintaining social order. When crimes were committed or disputes arose, a council of elders would convene to reach a fair settlement in a process known as agacaca.

The colonial rulers suppressed this system, while implementing a Western legal system. Nevertheless, informal local controls on behavior remained important, in part because the use of the legal system for political purposes undermined public confidence in it. Political authorities have frequently used informal means of repression against opponents, such as civilian militia, to maintain their power. In the early 1990s, for example, as the Habyarimana regime lost public support, soldiers, police, and civilian groups targeted opposition groups for arrest, torture, and assassination. The regime promoted anti-Tutsi rhetoric in the hopes of attracting support from Hutu. The regime arrested Tutsi and began to organize anti-Tutsi violence, which ultimately culminated in the genocide that took place from April to July 1994.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front took power through force in July 1994, leaving problematic legacies of the ethnic violence and war. As a mostly Tutsi movement, the RPF had difficulty gaining the support of the mostly Hutu population and thus used extensive force to maintain order. Immediately after taking power, the RPF began to arrest people suspected of involvement in the genocide and within a few years placed over 100,000 people in prison. Many critics claimed that many of those in prison were innocent and that the regime was more interested in establishing control than in honestly seeking justice. The RPF, like its predecessor in power, also used force against the civilian population. The government recently initiated a program to renew the agacaca system, but the program did not receive substantial local support.

Military Activity. At least since the 1973 coup by army chief Juvénal Habyarimana, the military has been a dominant force in Rwandan political life. The prominence of the military increased markedly after the 1990 RPF invasion. Since the victory of the RPF rebel movement in the war in 1994, the military has dominated the political system, even though it remains officially a civilian regime.

Many RPF military officials hold positions in government ministries, and most observers consider them the real power in government offices. (Paul Kagame, who served simultaneously as head of the army and vice president, became president in 2000.) Officials who disagree with the RPF leadership, particularly the core of Tutsi officers around Kagame, are removed from office.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Social assistance in Rwanda has traditionally been provided by family members and neighbors, though Christian churches have gradually taken on an increasing role in providing welfare assistance. Beginning in the 1970s, Rwanda began to receive substantial bilateral and multilateral development assistance. Since the 1994 war, hundreds of international nongovernmental organizations have also become involved in relief and development efforts. Despite these programs, Rwanda remains among the ten poorest countries in the world.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Many of Rwanda's historic social organizations were eliminated either by the colonial regime or the collapse of the monarchy. Today, religious groups are the most important nongovernmental organizations in Rwanda. Christian churches sponsor not only many religious associations but also other social groups, such as women's groups, youth organizations, and farmers' cooperatives. Numerous economic groups, such as rotating credit societies, have been founded in the past two decades to help people cope with the serious poverty in the country. Since the 1994 genocide, a number of organizations for widows and orphans also have been created. While nongovernmental organizations have become increasingly important in recent years, the level of group membership and activity in Rwanda remains relatively low.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Agricultural work is divided between women and men. Men clear the land and assist women in breaking the soil, while women engage in most of the day-to-day farming activities, such as planting, weeding, and harvesting. Men bear the primary responsibility for overseeing livestock, assisted by youths who act as shepherds. Men also do heavy jobs around the house, such as construction, while women are responsible for maintaining the household, raising children, and preparing food. Formal nonfarm employment in Rwanda is dominated by men, while women often participate in informal nonfarm economic activities, such as market trading.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. In precolonial Rwandaeven as most positions of public authority were reserved for menwomen enjoyed a modicum of political and economic power, as exemplified by the powerful position of queen mother. The relative position of women eroded during the colonial period and never fully recovered. Women in contemporary Rwanda hold few political positions and have limited economic power, as seen in the difficulties women have in inheriting land and property. Many women's associations have attempted to increase the status of women in recent years, with little apparent success.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Marriage is considered the most basic social institution in Rwanda, and the pressure to marry and have children is quite heavy. Unlike in the past, most couples today select their own mates, though approval of the family is expected. Marriage across ethnic lines between Hutu and Tutsi is relatively common.

Polygamy, once extensively practiced, has become uncommon except in some rural areas, such as the northwest. The decline in polygamy has been accompanied with a sharp increase in levels of divorce and remarriage.

Women bearing children out of wedlock were once punished by banishment or death. Illegitimacy remains strongly stigmatized, though it is also relatively common.

Domestic Unit. Rwandans consider children a sign of wealth, and bearing children is an important social duty. As a result, Rwanda has the highest rate of fecundity in the world, and Rwandan families are generally quite large. Rwandan families typically live in single-family compounds consisting of several buildings surrounded by a hedge or fence. Each wife (if there is more than one) typically has her own house in the compound, as do elderly parents. The husband's extended family typically lives in close proximity on the same hill or on a nearby hill. The wife's family may also live nearby or may be from further away, but both the husband's and wife's kin have important socially defined relations with the family.

Inheritance. Upon a father's death or retirement from active labor, his land and property are traditionally divided between his sons. The eldest surviving son is expected to take care of his mother and any unmarried sisters after his father's death. While wives and daughters have not formally been forbidden from inheriting, in practice inheritance by women has been difficult. In recent years, inheritance law has been revised to allow women to inherit more easily.

Kin Groups. Clan groupings historically have been important social relationships in Rwanda, but their significance has declined over the past century. Clan affiliations were passed down from father to children and cut across ethnic lines, with each clan including Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Competition between clans for political power was a major source of conflict in pre-colonial Rwanda. Today, clans serve little purpose beyond helping to define marriage partners, since people continue to be expected to marry outside their clans.

Socialization

Infant Care. The mother plays the primary part in caring for infants, but she is assisted by other female relatives and by her older female children. Women generally carry their children on their backs for at least the first year, or until they bear another child.

Child Rearing and Education. The mother has the primary responsibility for child rearing and education. Her eldest brother, the maternal uncle, also plays an important part in overseeing the moral development and socialization of the children, ensuring that they learn social traditions. The state has assumed the responsibility for providing formal education for children, though only about 60 percent of children ever attend school. Even the small required fees are too much for many families to afford.

Children continue to be named in a public ceremony eight days after their births, but many other initiation rites are now rare. Tutsi children were once sent to the royal court for training and initiation, but this practice was abolished along with the monarchy. Few children are now initiated into the Lyangombe and Nyabingi sects.

Higher Education. Rwanda puts little emphasis on higher education. Less than 10 percent of Rwandans attend high school, and another small portion attends technical training schools. A very small percentage of the population continues on to university. Rwanda has one national university based in Butare, with branches in Kigali and Ruhengeri. In the past decade, several small private colleges have also been established.

Etiquette

With its long history of hierarchical social relations, Rwandan culture puts great emphasis on practices of etiquette that demonstrate respect and emphasize social rank both inside and outside the family. Within the family, chairs are traditionally reserved for men, while other family members sit on mats on the floor. Men eat first, with women and children eating after. Visitors are given the best chairs and the first choice of food and drink.

Rwandans have an elaborate system of salutation that varies depending on the relative social rank and familiarity of the greeters. Rwandans almost always shake hands upon encountering someone. When greeting someone of higher rank, a person extends his or her right hand while placing the left hand on the right arm in a sign of deference. Close friends and others of equal rank may embrace, holding one another by the shoulders and brushing their heads together first on one side then on the other.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Christianity has become a central part of Rwandan culture. More than 60 percent of the population are Catholics, and another 30 percent are Protestants, with the largest Protestant churches including Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Free Methodists, and Baptists. Many Rwandans credit the Catholic Church with having supported the Hutu rise to power in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the church has thus gained great influence and public support among Hutu. With the demise of the monarchy, most of the associated religious rituals ended, and Christian rituals have come to take their places.

At the same time, most Rwandan Christians continue to participate in certain indigenous religious practices as well. Veneration of ancestors remains widespread, with most Rwandans continuing to have traditional funerals and other traditional rites for the dead. Indigenous healers remain common as well. Two secret societies that worship ancestral heroes, known as Kubandwa sects, are less common today than in the past but are nevertheless widespread. The Nyabingi sect is found in the north of the country near the Ugandan border, while the Lyangombe sect is found in other parts of the country.

Religious Practitioners. Both Nyabingi and Lyangombe have priests associated with their worship, but these figures have little public importance today. Instead, the main religious leaders of Rwanda are Christian clerics. The Catholic bishops and leaders of Protestant churches are prominent national figures with considerable political influence, and pastors and priests are important local figures.

Rituals and Holy Places. The Kubandwa sects of Nyabingi and Lyangombe are secret societies that induct new members through initiation. Families experiencing difficulties of some sort will often choose to have a child initiated into the sect. The Lyangombe ceremonies are conducted outdoors in a clearing around a type of tree whose red flowers, tradition holds, represent Lyangombe's blood. Nyabingi ceremonies are also practiced outdoors. The level of secrecy of both sects has been increased because of the hostility they have faced first from colonial authorities and subsequently from Christian officials. Many Christian churches penalize members they find to have participated in one of the Kubandwa ceremonies.

Death and the Afterlife. Rwandans believe that the spirit continues after death, and they see their families as including not only the living, but those who have come before and those who will come in the future. Showing respect to dead family members is considered extremely important. Failing to appease the spirits of dead ancestors through appropriate rituals and offerings can lead the ancestors to neglect their families and allow evil spirits to inflict harm.

Medicine and Health Care

Rwandans practice both Western and indigenous forms of health care. Christian churches have built numerous hospitals and health centers, but many Rwandans continue to visit indigenous healers, who combine herbal medicines with spiritual cures. Rwandan indigenous medicine emphasizes the flow of bodily fluids. In Rwandan culture, no conceptual distinction is made between physical poisoning and enchantment, and poisoning is regarded as a major cause of illness.

Secular Celebrations

Prior to the 1994 genocide, Rwanda had holidays celebrating the 1959 revolution and the 1973 coup that brought President Habyarimana to power. These celebrations involved public gatherings and military parades. Since the rise of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, these holidays have been discontinued and new holidays have been created to commemorate the genocide and honor those killed. The most important holiday for Rwandan families is New Year's Day. Families traditionally gather for a meal and exchange of gifts on New Year's Day.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The Rwandan government provides very little support for the arts. The government supports a national dance troop based in Nyanza, but there are few other nationally funded artistic groups.

Literature. Rwanda has little literary tradition. The royal court had a tradition of oral history, but this tradition has not been continued.

Graphic Arts. Rwanda has few graphic arts. The main ones are decorative arts, primarily baskets and pottery. There are no traditions of carving or painting.

Performance Arts. Music and dance have been the most important artistic expressions in Rwanda. Both instrumental and vocal music have strong traditions in Rwanda. While traveling instrumentalists are no longer common as they once were, recorded music and public performances in clubs have become common.

The tradition of dance in Rwanda is particularly rich. The training of young Tutsi men at the royal court included training in a form of martial dance that involved drumming and demonstrations of prowess by individual dancers. This intore dancing has been preserved since the demise of the monarchy through a national dance troupe, and the tradition is widely taught in schools. Other types of dances were important in public ceremonies and continue to be performed at weddings and other celebrations.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The physical and social sciences were weak in Rwanda even before the genocide, but they were completely decimated by the violence. Rwanda is heavily dependent upon foreign scholars and researchers for scientific advances and social analysis.

Bibliography

Des Forges, Alison. Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda, 1999.

Freedman, Jim. Nyabingi: The Social History of an African Divinity, 1984.

Lemarchand, René. Rwanda and Burundi, 1970.

Linden, Ian, and Jane Linden. Church and Revolution in Rwanda, 1977.

Longman, Timothy. "Nation, Race, or Class? Defining the Hutu and Tutsi of East Africa." In The Global Color Line: Racial and Ethnic Inequality and Struggle from a Global Perspective. Research in Politics and Society, vol. 6, 1999.

"State, Civil Society, and Genocide in Rwanda." In Richard Joseph, ed. State, Conflict, and Democracy, 1999.

Newbury, Catharine. The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 18601960, 1988.

. "Ethnicity and the Politics of History in Rwanda." Africa Today, JanuaryMarch, 1999.

Newbury, David, and M. Catherine Newbury. "Rethinking Rwandan Historiography: Bringing the Peasants Back In." American Historical Review, June 2000.

Prunier, Gérard. The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide, 1995.

Reyntjens, Filip. L'Afrique des Grands Lacs en crise: Rwanda, Burundi, 19881994, 1994.

. Pouvoir et Droit au Rwanda: Driot Publique et Evolution Politique, 19161973, 1985.

Sirven, Pierre. La sous-urbanization et les villes du Rwanda et du Burundi, 1984.

Taylor, Christopher C. Milk, Honey, and Money: Changing Concepts in Rwandan Healing, 1992.

Uvin, Peter. Aiding Violence: The Development Enterprise in Rwanda, 1998.

Vansina, Jan. "The Politics of History and the Crisis in the Great Lakes." Africa Today, JanuaryMarch 1999.

van't Spijker, Gerard. Les Usages Funeraires et la Mission de l'Eglise, 1990.

Vidal, Claudine. Sociologie des passions, 1991.

Timothy Longman

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RWANDA

Republic of Rwanda
Republika y'u Rwanda

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

The Republic of Rwanda is a land-locked country located in central Africa. It is bordered on the east by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with which it shares the shores of Lake Kivu; on the north by Uganda; on the west by Tanzania; and on the south by Burundi. Rwanda is a small country with an area of 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles). Comparatively, Rwanda is about the size of the state of Maryland. The capital city of Kigali is in the center of the country.

POPULATION.

Rwanda's population was estimated at 7,229,129 in 2000. Already the most densely-populated country in Africa, Rwanda's population is growing at a rate of 3 percent annually, according to the U.S. State Department. At this rate the population is expected to reach 11.2 million by 2012, despite the fact that huge numbers of Rwandans are dying from AIDS-related illnesses. In 2000, there were approximately 34.78 births per 1,000 people. The fertility rate in Rwanda is high. An average Rwandan mother gives birth to 5 children in her lifetime. But this statistic is tempered by the fact that approximately 12 percent of Rwandan babies die at birth. The average Rwandan's life expectancy is equally dismal; on average, Rwandan males live to 38.58 years old and the average female has a life expectancy of 40.13 years.

Rwanda is populated by 3 ethnic groups: Hutu (84 percent), Tutsi (15 percent), and Twa, or Pygmoid (1 percent). Rwandans are predominantly Christian. Some 65 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, while 9 percent is Protestant. About 25 percent of the population practices indigenous and other beliefs, with only 1 percent being Muslim. Rwanda has 3 official languages: Kinyarwanda, French, and English. Kiswahili (an offshoot of Swahili) is spoken primarily in the country's commercial centers. Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with 317 persons per square kilometer on average (or 820 people per square mile).

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

The single biggest factor in Rwanda's recent economic history is the 1994 genocide (see Politics, Government, and Taxation). In that year, Rwanda's ethnic majority, the Hutus, committed genocide against the Tutsi minority. The casualties of that genocide numbered more than half a million Tutsis. The genocide devastated Rwanda's already fragile economy by further impoverishing its population and unraveling its social fabric. The economy shrank by 50 percent within a year of the genocide, and per capita incomes dropped to US$80 a year.

Since the 1994 genocide, however, Rwanda has made significant headway in rehabilitating its economy. Annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates hit 37 percent in 1995, 12 percent in 1996 and 1997, and 10 percent in 1998. Inflation fell from its 1994 highs and government revenues increased. Agricultural production reached pre-war levels by 1998, though there is little new investment in this sector. Moreover, nearly 40 percent of the industries operating in 1994 have not resumed operations. Economic growth slowed in 1999, thanks to low prices for Rwanda's major exports and rising world oil prices.

Today, Rwanda remains a poor country dependent on agricultural production and foreign aid. It is primarily a rural country and about 90 percent of its population works in subsistence agriculture, and 65.3 percent of the population lived below the poverty line in 1998. Its main exports, coffee and tea, account for 70 percent of exports. Rwanda receives 75 percent of its budgetary requirements from foreign aid organizations. The Rwandan government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank have agreed to a privatization program that is expected to invigorate Rwanda's economy. Future growth in Rwanda's economy, however, will depend on continued political stability, assistance from the IMF and the World Bank, and the strengthening of world coffee and tea prices.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Rwanda's politics have long been colored by conflicts between the nation's 2 dominant ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. In 1959, the Hutu ethnic majority toppled the ruling Tutsi king. After the king fled, the Hutus killed thousands of Tutsis, and more than 150,000 Tutsis fled into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiled Tutsis eventually formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and in 1990 returned to Rwanda to wage war against the Hutu government. This war, along with the assassination of Rwanda's Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana and certain economic upheavals, compounded ethnic tensions which erupted in 1994. The Hutus massacred more than half a million Tutsis and some moderate Hutus (some estimates indicate that the number of dead was closer to 1 million). That same year, the RPF defeated the FAR (the Hutu regime's army) and the Interhamwe (the Hutu militia group that spearheaded the Tutsi genocide) and took military control of the country. The Tutsi ascension to power sparked a massive exodus of Hutus from Rwanda. Once defeated, the Hutus feared Tutsi retribution and approximately 2 million Hutu refugees, including armed members of the ex-FAR and Interhamwe, poured into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the Congo) and trickled into Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda. Most of these refugees have since returned to Rwanda. But the ex-FAR and the Interhamwe remain in the Congo and continue to threaten Rwanda's stability.

In 1991, the primarily Hutu Rwandan government ratified a constitution that provided for a multiparty democracy, a limited executive term, and independent legislative and judicial branches. In 1994, however, the Rwandan Hutu government collapsed and the Tutsi RPF seized power. Once it assumed control, the RPF prohibited all political parties that were determined to have participated in the Tutsi genocide. A multiparty Transitional National Assembly was installed to preside over a 5-year transition from military to civilian rule. In 1995, the Transitional National Assembly adopted a new constitution that was essentially a combination of the 1991 constitution and peace agreements signed after the 1994 war. In 1999, the government extended the transition period for another 5 years because ethnic tensions remained too high to hold elections.

Though still in the transition period, Rwanda held special elections in 2000 that gave Major General Paul Kagame of the RPF the presidency. Kagame received 81 of 86 votes from members of the National Assembly, who represent a variety of political parties. Kagame is expected to rule until regular elections can be held.

There are at least 4 factors that impede Rwanda's economic growth. First, Rwanda's economy depends far too much on foreign aid and will continue to do so for the near future. Currently, 75 percent of the Rwandan government's budget is financed by foreign aid. Second, the government expends a considerable percentage of its resources reintegrating the returning refugees into the folds of Rwandan society. This expenditure continues to divert from the Rwandan economy resources that could improve the country's infrastructure . Third, the government also spends much of its resources supporting rebel groups at war in the Congo. This funding could be diverted to invest in the economy. Fully 25.6 percent of the government's budget went toward the support of the Rwandan Patriotic Army in 2000, according to the U.S. State Department. Finally, Rwanda's prison population has swelled to 100,000, and the government expends considerable sums to house the inmates who were convicted of perpetrating the 1994 genocide.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Rwanda has a fairly good road system with approximately 14,900 kilometers (9,258 miles) of roads. For the most part, the primary roads are well maintained. But feeder roads have deteriorated due to the war, excessive loads by heavy-duty trucks, and a 1997 flood. Currently, though, the World Bank is providing financing for road rehabilitation and new construction in certain parts of the country.

Rwanda lacks a railroad system, although it is linked to the Ugandan-Kenya railroad system by road. Since Rwanda is landlocked, most of its international trade is transported through the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Rwanda has several airports, but the main international airport is in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

The cost of electricity in Rwanda is exorbitant. Electricity in Rwanda costs 3 to 4 times that of neighboring countries. It therefore costs businesses more money to manufacture goods and as a result, the manufacturing sector has failed to attract significant foreign investment. To address this problem, the Rwandan water and energy utility company, Electrogaz, will be privately managed as early as 2001. Eventually, the Rwandan government intends to privatize Electrogaz. The Rwandan government, in conjunction with the private sector , is considering alternate sources of energy, such as harnessing the reserves of methane gas found in Lake Kivu.

Rwandatel, the government-owned telephone company, is the sole wire-based telephone company operating in Rwanda and is also the exclusive Internet service provider. There were only 15,000 main telephone lines in use in 1995, primarily in the capital area. To date, Internet service has proven unreliable and expensive. Thus, the Rwandan government intends to establish an agency that will privatize Rwandatel and liberalize the telecommunications sector. MTN Rwandacell provides mobile phone service to certain areas of the country. Additionally, 2 radio stations and 1 television station operate from Kigali.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Rwanda's economy is dominated by the agricultural sector, which contributes 44 percent of GDP and 70 percent of exports, and employs 9 out of 10 of the country's workers. In 1998, agricultural exports accounted for US$36.5 million. Most of Rwanda's population is engaged in some form of subsistence agriculture, producing goods for their own consumption and not for sale.

Roughly 10,000 workers are employed in the industrial sector, which represents 20 percent of the country's GDP. The industrial sector is composed of small-to medium-sized companies, whose capital rarely exceeds US$1 million and which produce primarily food-related

Communications
Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations b Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Rwanda 15,000 (1995) N/A AM 0; FM 3;shortwave 1 601,000 2 N/A 1 1,000
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542;shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Dem. Rep. of Congo 21,000 8,900 AM 3; FM 12;shortwave 1 (1999) 18.03 M 20 (1999) 6.478 M 2 1,500 (1999)
Burundi 16,000 619 AM 2; FM 2;shortwave 0 440,000 1 (1999) 25,000 1 2,000
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

products. After the war, the industrial sector came to a halt. Since then, the Rwandan industrial sector has only been able to resume 40 percent of its pre-war levels. The services sector represents just 36 percent of GDP. Financial services are weak, and tourism nearly nonexistent thanks to the country's reputation for violence.

AGRICULTURE

The Rwandan people depend on subsistence agriculture for survival, but do produce several key crops for export. The crop that generates the most foreign exchange is coffee. In 1999, about 14,500 metric tons of coffee were produced. Most coffee is grown on small farms by independent farmers. Tea is the other major export, and Rwanda also produces pyrethrum, plantains, maize, soybeans, sugar cane, wheat, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes, and sorghum. The country has approximately 980,000 goats, 500,000 cattle, 270,000 sheep, and 80,000 pigs.

INDUSTRY

MANUFACTURING. The manufacturing sector primarily produces beer, soft drinks, hoes, cigarettes, soap, wheel-barrows, cement, plastic pipe, mattresses, textiles, and roofing materials. Most manufacturing is geared toward import substitution providing goods that must otherwise be imported. Like every other sector, industry came to a halt in 1994, but had returned to 75 percent of its capacity by mid-1997.

MINING. After agricultural products, minerals generate the most foreign exchange. Rwanda has significant reserves of cassiterite (tin ore), wolfram (tungsten ore), gold, and beryl. But due to a drop in the global price of cassiterite in 1986, this metal ceased to be mined. In 1987, the wolframite mines suffered the same fate. Since 1991, some cassiterite and wolframite began to be exported, but not at their pre-1987 and 1991 levels. The mining of other mineral ores was also gravely disrupted by the 1994 genocide and have also yet to reach their pre-1994 levels of production.

Efforts have been made to explore the possibility of producing methane that is emitted from Lake Kivu, but these have yet to reach their potential. Because it is a mountainous country with many rivers, Rwanda has the capacity to produce hydroelectric power, and is currently exploring hydroelectric projects with neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SERVICES

Most tourists go to Rwanda to see its mountain gorillas. However, Rwanda's tourism came to a halt during the 1994 war. There is hope that if Rwanda continues to benefit from its current levels of stability, the hotel and restaurant industry (the primary beneficiaries of tourism) will grow as tourism resumes its pre-war levels.

The banking system has been liberalized by the government, and there are few barriers to the flow of foreign exchange. Rwanda has a central bank and 5 commercial banks, 1 development bank, and a credit union system. In 1999, the Rwandan parliament passed a new set of liberalization measures that in part ensure that the private banks operate under the close supervision of the National Bank of Rwanda. All in all, the progress is encouraging, given Rwanda's recent history and the continuing conflict

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Rwanda
Exports Imports
1975 .042 .099
1980 .072 .243
1985 .131 .298
1990 .110 .288
1995 .054 .237
1998 .063 .287
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

in the neighboring Congo. Retail services improved in the late 1990s as returning Rwandan refugees opened a variety of small enterprises.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Rwanda's main export partners are Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Pakistan, Spain, and Kenya. Most of Rwanda's coffee and tea are shipped to Germany and other European countries. Rwanda's main import partners are Kenya, Tanzania, the United States, the Benelux countries, and France. Rwanda imported motor vehicles, textiles, fuels and machinery. In 1998, Rwanda generated US$58 million in exports, but imports cost Rwanda more than US$240 million that same year.

Tea and coffee continue to be the country's most important exports. In 1999, they represented 70 percent of Rwanda's exports. Lately, Rwandan businesses have been exploring other agriculturally-based exports that would be equally suited to the country's small farms, steep slopes, and cool climates. The feasibility of many of these new proposals to expand the agriculture industry is limited by the country's high transportation costs.

Although Rwanda's primary partners have been African and European countries, recently there have been significant purchase imports from the United States. Northrop Grumman sold a US$16 million commercial radar system and Lucent Technologies made a sale of US$25 million for a wireless air loop telephone system. It remains to be seen whether Rwandan-U.S. trade will continue.

MONEY

The local currency is the Rwandan franc, and it is allowed to float freely on the world currency market. The exchange rate in 1998 was 312 Rwandan francs for 1 U.S. dollar. The National Bank of Rwanda is the country's central bank and determines monetary policy for the country. Inflation, which had been extremely high follwing

Exchange rates: Rwanda
Rwandan francs per US$1
Jan 2001 432.24
2000 389.70
1999 333.94
1998 312.31
1997 301.53
1996 306.82
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

the 1994 war, has since been stabilized and was about 5 percent in 2000.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Rwanda is, by all measures, a poor country. The 1994 war obliterated the country's economy, social fabric, human resource base, and institutions. Almost 90 percent of the population lives on less than US$2 per day and half of its population lives on less than US$1 per day. Government statistics indicated that 65.3 percent of the people lived below the poverty line in 1998.

Though the Rwandan government reports that 87 percent of the population lived within 2 hours walking distance of a health care facility in 1996, the quality of the Rwandan people's health is quite poor. Life expectancy is low, and malnutrition is high. Malaria and respiratory diseaseswhich are rarely the cause of death in more developed countriesare the biggest killers in Rwanda. Not only are the people unhealthy, they are also poorly educated. According to government reports, only 46 percent of Rwandan teachers are qualified, teaching materials are poor, and drop-out rates are high. Only 7 percent of eligible students were enrolled in secondary schools in 1998.

In an effort to curb Rwanda's poverty, the IMF, the African Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank have taken certain steps to assist Rwanda in its efforts towards economic recovery. Thus, in 1998 the IMF approved

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Rwanda 233 321 312 292 227
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Burundi 162 176 198 206 147
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Rwanda
Lowest 10% 4.2
Lowest 20% 9.7
Second 20% 13.2
Third 20% 16.5
Fourth 20% 21.6
Highest 20% 39.1
Highest 10% 24.2
Survey year: 1983-85
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, the ADB approved a structural adjustment credit of US$20 million, and the World Bank agreed to provide US$75 million to Rwanda. These efforts are designed to reduce rural poverty, pave the way for private sector growth, and promote prospects for national reconciliation by opening up economic opportunities to all Rwandans.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The Rwandan constitution permits professional associations and labor unions, and the Rwandan government generally respects this right. Rwanda has no uniform minimum wage, and wages vary in accordance with the position. In any event, the vast majority of wages paid to workers in Rwanda are insufficient to support a decent standard of living for a worker and his or her family. The majority of families supplement their earnings by working in subsistence agriculture. Pressured by labor unions, the Transitional National Assembly has considered creating a new labor code to provide protections for workers but, as with much else in Rwanda, completion of this work awaits greater political and economic stability.

Women make up 54 percent of the Rwandan population, but discriminatory practices in education and employment have meant that women bear a disproportionate brunt of the poverty in the country. The government has plans to craft laws to protect the rights of women, but these laws are still pending as of 2001.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1894. The first European, German Count Von Geotzen, visits what is present-day Rwanda.

1918. Following World War I, Rwanda becomes a protectorate of the League of Nations under Belgian rule.

1926. The Belgian colonizers issue identity cards distinguishing the Tutsis from the Hutus.

1959. The Hutus rebel against the Belgian colonizers and the Tutsi elite, forcing the Tutsi monarch and more than 150,000 Tutsis to flee the country.

1961. Rwanda is established as a republic. The Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) wins a majority of the seats in the National Assembly, and the assembly votes against the return of the Tutsi king.

1962. Belgium grants Rwanda independence, and the PARMEHUTU party changes its name to the Democratic Republican Movement whose leader, Gregoire Kayibanda, becomes the country's president.

1963. Exiled Tutsis unsuccessfully attempt to take over Rwanda, and the Hutus respond by massacring the Tutsis.

1973. General Juvenal Habyarimana topples President Kayibanda, accusing him of favoring southern Hutus, and suspends all political activities.

1975. Habyarimana creates the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) as the country's lone political party.

1978. President Habyarimana is given another 5-year term in single-party elections and a new constitution is ratified. Habyarimana is reelected in 1983 and 1988.

1989. Coffee prices plummet, famine increases, and the country turns to the World Bank for assistance. Following a World Bank reform plan, Rwanda liberalizes trade, divests state enterprises, devalues the Rwandan franc, and reduces government subsidies .

1990. Central African nations and Belgium send troops to Rwanda to help the Habyarimana regime defend itself against an attack from a rebel group of Tutsi exiles from Uganda.

1991. A new constitution is ratified that states Rwanda is a multiparty democracy.

1992. The price of coffee continues to plummet and Rwandan coffee trees are uprooted because coffee growers are unable to earn a living. The World Bank imposes more privatization, with proceeds going to service Rwanda's external debt . Ethnic tensions between Hutus and Tutsis rise.

1994. President Habyarimana dies after his plane is shot down. The Hutus set out to massacre all Tutsis within the country, and hundreds of thousands of Tutsis are killed. An external Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, takes control of Rwanda, and forms the Transitional Government of National Unity to oversee a return to normalcy.

1996. The Rwandan government tacitly supports a rebel, Laurent Kabila, from Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to assist in securing Rwanda's border from the Interhamwe and ex-FAR operating from the Congo. Rwanda backs Kabila's efforts to overthrow the government of the Congo. At the same time, huge numbers of refugees who had fled during 1994 return to the country.

1998. President Kabila expels Rwanda's forces from the Congo and Rwanda in turn supports rebel groups in the Congo seeking Kabila's ouster.

2000. Major General Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, is elected president of Rwanda in a special parliamentary vote, but the government is still considered to be in transition.

FUTURE TRENDS

After the 1994 war and genocide, the Rwandan government focused on establishing peace within its territory and repatriating refugees, mostly from the Congo. The Rwandan economy, as a result of the war, had reached rock bottom. In 1995, the GDP rebounded by 37 percent after the cessation of hostilities allowed the Rwandan citizenry to return to its normal affairs. This normalization of the Rwandan economy continued in 1996 and resulted in a GDP growth of 15.8 percent. That year, the agricultural sector grew by 10 percent, livestock production by 17 percent, and the manufacturing sector by 25 percent. In 1998, Rwanda set upon an ambitious privatization program encouraged by the World Bank and also signed an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility with the IMF, both of which were designed to provide order to the economy and encourage economic growth. This same year, Rwanda's economy grew by 9.5 percent and in 1999 by 5.9 percent. Unfortunately, the country experienced a drought which caused extensive crop failure in 2000. The economy, however, is still expected to grow by at least 5.8 percent for the next 3 years. After the 1994 war, inflation had risen to 64 percent. Since then, inflation has come down to around 5 to 7 percent. Admirably, by 1998, the country's GDP surpassed its pre-war level.

Rwanda faces 2 major threats to its continued economic progress: its support of the rebel groups at war with the government of the Congo, and HIV/AIDS. With respect to the first threat, the IMF blames Rwanda's poor coffee production on the fact that Rwanda has diverted indispensable resources needed for coffee production to fund the rebel groups operating in the Congo. Particularly, the IMF contends that unless funding for the rebel groups ceases, Rwanda will be unable to finance the replacement of the aging Arabica trees with newer high-yield trees, and if that is not done, Rwandan coffee production will continue to fall. Both the IMF and the European Union have warned Rwanda that if it does not keep its military expenditures below 2 percent of GDP, they may curtail their funding. With respect to the second threat, 11 percent of the rural Rwandan population is infected with the AIDS virus and that number is growing exponentially. If the Rwandan government fails to implement effective prevention and treatment programs, Rwanda may begin to experience very severe strains on its labor and budgetary expenses.

Prior to 2000, Rwanda had fallen behind in some of its external debt repayments in some bilateral agreements. But as of 2000, Rwanda was not in arrears to either the World Bank or the IMF. Based on this good credit, the IMF has approved a 3-year program with total disbursements of US$56.3 million. Equally important to Rwanda's continued progress is the fact that the IMF and the World Bank have stated that Rwanda qualifies for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries program. But these donors, however, made clear that this debt relief is contingent on Rwanda disentangling itself from the Congo war.

DEPENDENCIES

Rwanda has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Action Programme for the Development of Rwanda, 2001-2010. Kigali: Government of Rwanda, 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Rwanda. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Official Website of the Republic of Rwanda. <http://www.rwanda1.com/government/rwandalaunchie.html>. Accessed September 2001.

Rwanda: The Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, Washington, D.C. <http://www.rwandemb.org>. Accessed September 2001.

The Rwandan Economy Website. <http://www.rwanda1.com/economy>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. "World Factbook 2000: Rwanda." <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/rw.html>. Accessed February 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Republic of Rwanda, March 1998. <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/rwanda_0398_bgn.html>. Accessed February 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Rwanda. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/africa/index.html>. Accessed February 2001.

Michael David Nicoleau

Raynette Rose Gutrick

CAPITAL:

Kigali.

MONETARY UNIT:

Rwanda Franc (RFr). One Rwanda franc equals 100 centimes. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 francs and notes of 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 francs.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Coffee, tea, hides and skins, cassiterite, pyrethrum.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$5.9 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$70.8 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$242 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

views updated

RWANDA

Republic of Rwanda

Major City:
Kigali

Other Cities:
Butare, Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Ruhengeri

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Rwanda. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Rwanda, known as the "land of a thousand hills," is situated in east central Africa. Physically, it is a country of mountains, hills, lakes, and rivers. Slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, Rwanda is the most densely populated country on the continent.

The capital, Kigali, is a small city located in the heart of the country. Despite its proximity to the Equator, the altitude (approximately 4,800 feet) of Kigali provides a temperate climate throughout the year.

MAJOR CITY

Kigali

With independence in 1962, Kigali became the capital of Rwanda. Kigali is a small city perched on a series of hills and ridges at an altitude of almost 4,800 feet. Rather than having a defined city center, Kigali is a mixture of low buildings, European-style housing and mud-brick African dwellings. Kigali offers tree-lined streets and plentiful gardens. Main streets are paved.

Utilities

Water shortages lasting several days can occur at any time.

If you will be bringing electronic equipment such as a stereo, television or computer, plan on bringing a heavy duty servo-stabilizer or voltage regulator that will accommodate all of the items and UPS equipment if needed. In addition, you should bring surge protectors for each piece of electronic gear. If possible, bring appliances that are made for 220 volts. Short power out-ages occur fairly often. Residences are equipped with European style wall sockets of various sizes. Bring plug adapters-they are in short supply in Kigali.

Food

Locally grown fruits and vegetables are good. Many vegetables available in the U.S. are also available in Kigali, with the exception of yellow corn, lima beans, and a short season of broccoli. Mangos, pineapple, papaya, passion fruit, guava, bananas, and seasonal citrus fruits are all on the market. South African apples are found from time to time in some import stores, but are very expensive.

A German butcher has established a reliable shop offering beef, pork, chicken, fish and deli and breakfast meats. Most cuts tend to require tenderizing.

Most Americans use either imported UHT milk or powdered milk. UHT cream from Belgium is available. Imported cheeses can be found, if you don't mind paying the price! A local cheese is tasty and good for sandwiches, pizza or casseroles. A number of grocery stores offer a wide variety of imported items, but generally at great cost. Supplies fluctuate, with some products being off the shelves for months at a time.

Clothing

For men, khaki pants and sport shirts suffice in the office. Most women wear dresses or suits to the office. Cocktail clothes do not need to be overly fancy. Depending on your personal interests, leisure time clothing should include a warm jacket, running shoes, hiking boots, rain gear, bathing suit. Shorts are worn at home, during athletic activities in town, and at safari camps. Generally speaking, dress for both men and women is conservative.

Larger sizes of shoes are difficult to find in Kigali, and variety of styles and types of shoes is limited. It is advised to purchase shoes before arrival.

It is always a good idea to include a winter coat in your shipment in case you must travel to the U.S. in the winter.

Supplies and Services

With a number of import shops available in Kigali, most household supplies and toiletries are available. Be prepared to pay much more than you would pay in Washington. If you have favorite brands of particular items, bring them with you, as many American products are absent from the shelves.

Tailoring and dressmaking services can be found; however, fabric selection is limited and/or expensive. Shoe repair is possible but the results are marginal. Washable clothing is the best bet as local dry cleaners are only adequate.

Servicing of radio, television and other electronic equipment is somewhat reliable. Unisex beauty salons operate in the major hotels.

Domestic Help

In Kigali, servants generally do not live in. A housekeeper does most of the household chores, including ironing.

Be prepared to train your servants in food preparation and personal hygiene. They should receive annual medical examinations. Some employers provide locally made uniforms. Employers should register servants with Rwandan social security and make the required payments. Severance pay is two weeks' salary.

Religious Activities

Catholic, Anglican, and other denominations have one or two services on Sundays.

Sports

Kigali has a challenging 9-hole golf course complete with club facilities. Membership is US $500 a year. Bring equipment, including balls, tees, gloves, etc. Weekend instruction is available.

The Cercle Sportif, Kigali's sole private club, boasts of complete facilities for tennis, squash, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, and riding. The Club also provides bar and restaurant service. Anyone can join the club, which offers membership at varying lengths of time and according to the facilities you want to use.

The American Club is upgrading its weight room, and also has a basketball hoop, pool table, and dart boards.

The Hash House Harriers is a popular Saturday event, with trails set for runners and walkers. Every Sunday afternoon, a number of expats play softball.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Since the war in 1994 a number of popular destinations within Rwanda are now off limits, including visiting the mountain gorillas in the northwest.

The National Museum at Butare and the handicraft shops there are a popular destination, as is Akagera National Park, a good spot to go fishing, camping, bird watching, and with any luck, spot zebra, antelopes and hippos. The border to Uganda is a two-hour drive from Kigali.

The region offers many travel adventures including white-water rafting, photographic safaris, ballooning, mountain climbing, hiking, gorilla watching in Uganda, boat trips on the Nile, a week at the beach in Kenya or Tanzania, and much more.

Entertainment

The American Club is a lively spot attracting a very international membership representing the many NGOs and international organizations that are present in Rwanda. Happy hours, parties, movie nights, international dinners, and other special events are always on the calendar. The Club has a fairly well-stocked video lending library.

Pleasant restaurants, discos for dancing, and the occasional dinner-dance sponsored by a local organization are the alternatives to entertaining at home.

Traditional Rwandan Intore dancers and drummers often perform on Rwandan holidays and other special occasions.

Remember to join a book club or bring an ample supply as English-language books are difficult to find. Video tapes, CDS, and cassette tapes are expensive and the selection is small.

Life in Kigali is informal. Small dinners, private parties and government or diplomatic receptions round out the entertainment possibilities.

OTHER CITIES

Situated close to Burundi on the southern border of Rwanda, BUTARE combines traditional housing areas and a commercial section. Before 1962, Butare was called Astrida. It is the second largest city in the country, with a population of about 40,000. In 1963, the National University of Rwanda was opened in the city. A museum of anthropology also is located here. Approximately 10 percent of the inhabitants are non-Africans. Most are foreign teachers at the National University of Rwanda.

CYANGUGU is situated in southwestern Rwanda, near Burundi. It is about 100 miles west of the capital with a population of roughly 12,000. Major crops include beans, cotton, tea, bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes, and corn. Industries include tea and meat processing.

The pleasant city of GISENYI is situated on Lake Kivu, one of the most beautiful lakes in Africa. The city is in the northernmost corner of the country, about 50 miles west of the capital. Gisenyi boasts of flowering trees; safe, sandy beaches; beautiful scenery; and the national park of the Virunga Volcanoes. The park is the home of a rare species of mountain gorilla. The population of Gisenyi is about 22,000.

Located in northern Rwanda near the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), RUHENGERI is situated at the foot of the Birunga volcanic chain. The roughly 33,000 inhabitants of Ruhengeri are primarily engaged in farming. Sorghum, potatoes, bananas, coffee, and tea are grown. Industrial capacity is very small and is centered on flour-milling and the processing of pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. The city has a modern hospital and small airfield.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Republic of Rwanda is located in the mountains of east central Africa and covers 10,169 square miles (4,587 sq. ft. of which is water). Slightly smaller than Maryland, it is circular in shape. The eastern boundary is shared with Tanzania; Uganda, to the north; the west borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and Lake Kivu; Burundi, to the south. The western edge of the country along the Congo Nile watershed, rises steeply, formed by a chain of volcanoes called the Virunga Mountains. It is here that the country's highest point, the volcano Karisimbi at an elevation of 14,782 feet, is found. Gisenyi, a town at the northern end of Lake Kivu, enjoys spectacular vistas of the surrounding volcanoes. Rwanda's green valleys produce beans, sorghum, corn, manioc, Irish potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, soybeans, bananas, coffee and tea.

The low mountains and steep hills of the remainder of the country diminish in height as one travels towards the east and southeast. On the Tanzanian border, low hills, papyrus swamps, and shallow lakes are interspersed with semiarid savanna. Hardy thickets, 8 to 15 feet tall, cactus like candelabrum trees and grassy glades are found here.

Despite Rwanda's location of only two degrees below the equator, the altitude provides a mild, temperate climate for most parts of the country. The average 24-hour temperature in Kigali is 73°F The higher reaches above 14,700 feet might even experience frost and snow.

Two rainy seasons generally occur between February and May and September through December. However, changes in world climate can cause variation to these seasons. The rains can be torrential, although brief, and sometimes are accompanied by strong winds and lightning. Although sunshine appears throughout the rainy seasons, mildew in unventilated rooms can become a problem. Annual rainfall averages 31 inches and is generally heavier in the western and northwestern mountains than in the eastern savannas.

The long dry summer season, May to September, turns the hills around Kigali a reddish ochre, fine dust is everywhere, and the grass dries up. Added to this is the smoke from fires as farmers burn away the dried brush. Dust from vehicles on unpaved roads reduces visibility, sometimes causing accidents.

Population

A July 1997 estimate puts Rwanda's population at 7,737,537, with a population growth rate at 8.24%. Despite the 1994 genocide and civil war between Hutu and Tutsi factions that killed up to 1 million Rwandans and forced more than 2 million to flee to neighboring countries, Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. Rwanda's birth rate is estimated at 38.73 births per 1,000 population; the death rate is estimated at 21.06 deaths per 1,000 population; and the net migration rate is estimated at 64.78 migrants per 1,000 population. According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, in 1996 and 1997 nearly 1,300,000 Hutus returned to Rwanda.

Ethnic groups within Rwanda are comprised of. 75% Hutu; 24% Tutsi; 1% Twa (Pygmoid). Traditionally, the Hutu are known as cultivators, the Tutsi as cattle raisers, and the Twa as hunters, but population pressure has reduced the importance of cattle raising and hunting and now over 95% of the population depends on subsistence farming. Despite these differences, Rwanda has no tribes, as that term is usually understood, since all groups speak the same language (Kinyarwanda), inhabit the same areas, freely intermarry, and share one culture.

In contrast to many African countries, life in rural Rwanda is not centered around villages (except in recent resettlement projects), but rather around but compounds called "rugos," scattered throughout the hillsides.

The population is divided religiously as follows: 65% are Roman Catholic; 9% are Protestant; 1% Muslim; and indigenous beliefs and others make up 25%. The infant mortality rate (1997 est.) is 118.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. The life expectancy at birth for the total population is 39.11 years; for males, 38.64 years; for females, 39.6 years (1997 est.). The total fertility rate is 5.93 children born per woman.

Official languages include Kinyarwanda, a universal Bantu vernacular; English and French. Kiswahili is used in commercial centers.

Approximately 8,000 non-Africans live in Rwanda, including Belgians, French, Germans, Italians, Dutch, Swiss, British, Scandinavians, South Asians, and Americans.

History

According to folklore, Tutsi cattle breeders began arriving in the area from somewhere in the north about 500 years ago and gradually subjugated the Hutu inhabitants. The Tutsis established a monarchy headed by a Mwami (king) and a feudal caste of nobles. The Tutsis reduced the Hutus to serfdom through a contract known as "ubuhake," whereby the Hutu farmers obligated their services to the Tutsi lords in return for cattle. Some successful Hutu and Twa were adopted into Tutsi aristocracy. Ultimately, the fortunes of some Tutsi declined until they enjoyed few advantages over the Hutu, and the boundaries of race and class became less distinct.

The first European known to have visited Rwanda was the German, Count van Goetzen, in 1894. He was followed by missionaries, notably the "white fathers." In 1899, the Mwami submitted to a German protectorate without resistance. Belgian troops from then Zaire chased the small number of Germans out of Rwanda in 1915 and took control of the country. After World War I, the League of Nations mandated Rwanda and its southern neighbor, Burundi, to Belgium as the territory known as Ruanda-Urundi. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory, with Belgium as the administering authority.

Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by Tutsi tradition-alists who saw in them a threat to Tutsi rule. An increasingly restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (Parmehutu) won an overwhelming victory in a UN-supervised referendum. During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries.

The Parmehutu government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on January 1, 1962. A June 1962 UN General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.

Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the Parmehutu party, became Rwanda's first elected President, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s. On July 5, 1973, the military took power under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana, who dissolved the National Assembly and the Parmehutu party and abolished all political activity.

In 1975, the President formed the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND), whose goals were to promote peace and unity and national development. Rwandans went to the polls in December 1978, overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, and confirmed Habyarimana as President. President Habyarimana was reelected in 1983 and again in 1988, when he was the sole candidate. Responding to public pressure for political reform, President Habyarimana announced in July 1990 his intention to transform Rwanda's one party state into a multi-party democracy.

On October 1, 1990, Rwandan exiles banded together as the Rwanda Patriotic Force (RPF) and invaded Rwanda from their base in Uganda. The rebel force, composed primarily of ethnic Tutsis, blamed the government for failing to democratize and resolve the problem of some 500,000 Tutsi refugees living in Diaspora around the world. The war dragged on for almost two years until a ceasefire accord signed July 12, 1992 in Arusha, Tanzania, fixed a timetable for an end to the fighting and for political talks leading to a peace accord and authorized a neutral military observer group under the auspices of the United Nations. A ceasefire took effect July 31, 1992, and political talks began August 10, 1992.

On April 6,1994, the airplane carrying President Habyarimana and the President of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali. Both Presidents were killed. As though the shooting down were a signal, military and militia groups began rounding up and killing political moderates regardless of their ethnic background and all Tutsis. The Prime Minister and her ten Belgian bodyguards were among the first victims. It soon became clear that the killing was not limited to Kigali; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left up to a million Tutsis killed at the hands of organized bands of militia-Interahamwe-and even ordinary citizens were called on by local officials and government-sponsored radio to kill their neighbors. The dead President's own MRND party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide.

Immediately after the shooting down of the President's plane, the RPF battalion stationed in Kigali under the Arusha Accords came under attack. The battalion fought its way out of Kigali and joined up with RPF units in the North. The RPF resumed its invasion, and civil war raged concurrently with the genocide for two months. In July, French forces landed in Coma, Congo (then Zaire) on a peacekeeping mission. They deployed throughout western Rwanda in an area they called "Zone Turquoise." The impact of their intervention is still hotly debated and forms the basis for a still-strained French Rwandan relationship.

The Rwandan army was quickly defeated by the RPF, and fled across the border to Congo, followed by some two million refugees. The RPF took Kigali on July 4, 1994, and the war ended a few weeks later. The RPF took control of a country ravaged by war and genocide. A million or so had been murdered, another two million or so had fled, another million or so were displaced internally.

The international community responded with one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever mounted. The U.S. was one of the largest contributors. The UN peace-keeping operation, UNAMIR, was drawn down during the fighting but brought back up to strength after the RPF victory. UNAMIR remained in Rwanda until March 8,1996.

Political Institutions

After its military victory, the RPF organized a coalition government based on the terms of the Arusha accords. On May 5, 1995, the Transitional National Assembly adopted a new constitution which included elements of the constitution of June 18, 1991, as well as provisions of the 1993 Arusha Peace Accord and the November 1994 multi-party protocol of understanding. The MRND Party was outlawed. Political organizing was banned until 1999.

The biggest problem facing the government is rehabilitation of war damage, and reintegration of the one and a half million refugees who fled to Tanzania, Burundi, and Congo, returning from as long ago as 1959. One problem of particular urgency is the prison population, which has swelled to 130,000 since the war.

Rwanda has 12 administrative divisions known locally as prefectures: Butare, Byumba Cyangugu, Gikongoro, Gisenyi, Gitarama, Kibungo, Umutara, Kigali rurale, Kibuye, Kigali, and Ruhengeri.

The legal system is based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law. Within the Executive branch of government, the principal government officials are: President Pasteur Bizimungu; Vice President and Minister of Defense Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame; Prime Minister Celestin Rwigema; Minister of Foreign Affairs Anastase Gasana; Ambassador to the United States Theogene Rudasmgwa; and Ambassador to the United Nations Manzi Bakuramutsa.

Arts, Science, and Education

Rwanda is especially noted for its handcrafted baskets. The baskets are made in a wide range of sizes, usually with lids and graphic patterns woven into the sides. They can be quite intricate and magnificent. Private and government-operated handicraft shops can be found in Kigali. In Butare, a city two hours to the south of Kigali, the German development agency, GTZ, coordinates a non-profit artisan coop which offers a wide variety of handi-crafts, including wood carvings, basketry, reed rugs, clothing, drums, and other tourist items. The National Museum of Rwanda, also located in Butare, offers a fascinating display of Rwandan history and culture, and a small gift shop sells many interesting pieces.

Before the 1994 war, many religious missions produced artwork and handicrafts, but little if nothing has been produced since.

Butare is also the home of the National University of Rwanda. The University operates primarily with Canadian, Belgian and French technical assistance. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides assistance to the Law School. The Institut de Recherche Scientifique et Agricole du Rwanda (ISAR) maintains an agricultural experiment station at Rubona, above Butare. Additionally, the Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (INRS) maintains an anthropological museum and arboretum at Butare and conducts studies of regional fauna and flora. The Ministry of Natural

Resources maintains a small but interesting geological museum in Kigali. Rwanda's literacy rate within the total population is 60.5% of those aged 15 and over who can read and write. Of this percentage, 69.8% are male and 51.6% are female (based on 1995 estimates).

Commerce and Industry

Rwanda, one of the poorest nations in Africa, continues to suffer bitterly as a result of the ethnic-based civil war and genocide of 1994. The economy suffers from failure to maintain the infrastructure, neglect of important cash crops, and lack of health care facilities. Data since the war suggests that the GDP dropped 50% in 1994 and came back partially, by 25%, in 1995. By 1997, the economy posted a 13% growth rate, but has not attained pre-war levels. Agriculture dominates the economy; coffee and tea provide 80% to 90% of Rwanda's exports. However, deforestation, soil erosion and the limited amount of fertile land reduces the agriculture sector's production potential.

According to 1995 estimates, of a labor force of 3.6 million, 93% work in agriculture, 5% in government and services, and 2% in industry and commerce. The agriculture sector has recovered to about 85% of its pre-war level of production.

The limited tourism potential that existed before the war has not recovered. Rebels continue to fight government forces in the northwest mountains, home to the mountain gorilla. Akagera National Park, once home to a wide variety of wild animals, has been reduced in area by two thirds to accommodate refugees.

Recovery of domestic production will proceed slowly. Light industry includes mining of tin and tungsten ore, cement, processing of agricultural products, small-scale beverage production, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, and cigarettes.

Foreign aid, especially from Belgium, Canada, Great Britain the World Bank, the European Union, UNDP, France, Germany, Holland, the United States and Japan, continues to account for most new capital in recent years. The United States is a leading donor to Rwanda and channels approximately $12 million per annum through USAID, with an additional $200 million provided in emergency assistance since 1994.

Transportation

Automobiles

Japanese sedans and American and Japanese four-wheel-drive vehicles are driven by most Americans. Sedans are suitable for most roads in Kigali as well as major highways, but a 4x4 is essential on unpaved roads found throughout the country. Both right and left hand drive vehicles are found, while all traffic requires driving on the same side as in the U.S.

Service at garages varies from poor to acceptable; however, spare parts are very expensive and can take months to secure.

Finding a local mechanic to service an American vehicle can be a challenge. The dry season requires that air and oil filters be changed frequently. All drivers must carry third-party insurance, purchased locally. Insurance for fire, theft, and transportation should be purchased in the U.S.

U.S. drivers licenses can be used in Rwanda.

Local

Many roads between major towns are unpaved, but paved roads extend from Kigali to the Uganda border via Byumba in the north; from Kigali to Rusumu on the Tanzanian border in the southeast; between Kigali and Gisenyi and Ruhengeri in the northwest, and between Kigali and the Burundi border via Butare in the south. Traffic moves on the right in Rwanda, Burundi and Congo; on the left in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Buses and bush taxis (vans or open pickup trucks) service all parts of the country, but are slow, overcrowded, and dangerous.

Regional

Within Rwanda there are 12,000 km of highways; as of 1997, some 1,000 km. are paved.

There is no rail system in Rwanda, so goods are either flown or trucked in. Sabena Airlines has direct service from Brussels to Kigali two times a week. Connections via Kampala or Nairobi increase the number of options for flying to and from Europe. Additionally, flights are available from Kigali to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, and South Africa.

Communications

Telephone

Most American households in Kigali have telephones. Calls are individually charged based on duration and distance.

Long-distance service within Central and East Africa is fair in quality and charges. Satellite service to Europe and the United States is reliable but expensive. Internet service is also available and expensive.

Radio and TV

Local broadcast radio stations number one AM and two FM and several shortwave. Bringing a shortwave radio allows you to pick up programming from around the world.

There is one local television station which broadcasts in English, French and Kinyarwanda. The American Club offers a video tape (NTSCVHS) rental service.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

There is a local French-language newspaper available, and The New Times, a Rwandan paper published in English.

American news magazines are available locally, but not many paperbacks are available in English. The USIS library has a small collection of English-language books and The American Club maintains a lending library of several hundred paperbacks. French hardbound and paperbacks can be found at Caritas, a shop in central Kigali.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Very limited medical services are available in Kigali. Serious medical or dental conditions will require evacuation.

Local pharmacies stock mostly European drugs, vitamins and over-the counter medication, including antihistamines, cold pills, and throat lozenges. Some antibiotics are sold without a prescription.

Eyeglasses cannot be made in Kigali, so bring an extra pair.

Dental care is below U.S. standards. All preventive dental work should be done before departing for Kigali. Dental emergencies require evacuation to Nairobi or London.

Community Health

Public sanitation is reasonably good. Drains in most European-type houses are adequate; main streets are cleaned periodically, and trash and garbage are collected though irregularly.

Insects abound and learning to live with them is the best strategy. Geckos, a useful, silent, insect-eating lizard, are found in every home, usually inhabiting the upper reaches of house walls. Poisonous snakes are not a major health hazard. Rabies is prevalent; it is advised that you receive immunization against rabies.

Rwanda's temperate climate is generally healthful, but dust and pollen aggravate throat or respiratory ailments during the dry season. Allergies may be exacerbated due to mold and dampness during the rainy season.

Preventive Measures

Most hazards to your health encountered during your tour in Rwanda can be avoided by being vigilant and by taking a few necessary precautions. Malaria, AIDS, dysentery, bilharzia, and hepatitis can be either avoided completely or your risk greatly reduced by using the appropriate method of prophylaxis. Food preparation, well-cooked meat, water purification, inoculations, repellents, mosquito nets, and appropriate behavior all reduce the risk to your health.

In addition to those mentioned above, diseases endemic to Rwanda include tuberculosis, cholera, and leprosy. Also prevalent are venereal, alimentary tract, parasitic, respiratory, and childhood infectious diseases. Outbreaks of meningitis occur in the rural areas and several cases of "sleeping sickness" are reported each year. Cantaride, known in East Africa as "Nairobi Eye," is a common seasonal skin infection caused by a thin green and orange striped insect. First and second degree burns can occur from contact with the bug.

Recommended inoculations include yellow fever, Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, MMR, tetanus, anti-rabies, and polio. Anti-malaria prophylaxis should be taken.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs and Duties

A passport and evidence of yellow fever immunization are required. Visas are not required for American citizens entering Rwanda for less than 90 days. U.S. citizens planning on working in Rwanda should apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration as soon as possible after arrival in Rwanda. Detailed entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda, 1714 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone 202-232-2882, fax 202-232-4544, Internet site: http://www.rwandaemb.org/ rwanda/. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Rwandan embassy or consulate.

Travelers who wish to travel to the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda or Zimbabwe may experience difficulties at the DRC airport or other ports of entry. Some travelers with those visas or exit/entry stamps have been detained for questioning in the DRC.

Direct flights from Europe to Kigali arrive from Brussels, or via Entebbe or Nairobi. Travelers from the U.S. may take an overnight rest stop.

Make reservations well in advance and reconfirm them; check-in early since flights are frequently over booked.

The airport embarkation fee is $20 per person.

Airfreight from the U.S. can arrive within 3 weeks, but delays are common. Surface shipments are normally routed through Antwerp, Belgium and airlifted from there to Kigali. Transit time from the U.S. to Antwerp is 8 to 12 weeks, but may be longer.

Private vehicles driven to Rwanda must be declared at the border; importation formalities are arranged later in Kigali.

U.S. citizens who plan to travel to Rwanda are urged to register with the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Rwanda. The U.S. Embassy is located at Boulevard de La Revolution; the mailing address is B.P. 28, Kigali, Rwanda, telephone 250-05601/05602/05603, fax 250-502128; e-mail address is [email protected]. The Embassy's Internet web site is http://www.usembkigali.net

Pets

Pets are not quarantined, but dogs must have proof of rabies vaccinations and a veterinarian's certificate showing origin and health. The above is not required for cats, but is recommended. At present, veterinary service is good; however, many pet supplies are not available, so bring a supply of flea and tick repellent, heart-worm medicine, and pet food.

Firearms and Ammunition

Weapons imported into Rwanda must be registered and approved before they enter the country or turned over to Customs once they are brought into the country (thus requiring a separate packing crate) until they are registered and approved.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The Rwandan franc (FRW) is tied to the SDR and fluctuates as the SDR fluctuates. As of June, 1998, FRW 307=US$1.

The two commercial banks are the Banque Commerciale du Rwanda and the Banque de Kigali. At these banks, Americans can have a personal checking account in Rwandan francs and buy U.S. dollar traveler's checks

The metric system is used throughout the country.

Disaster Preparedness

In 2002, Rwanda experienced the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo which lies across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tremors were felt throughout Rwanda, including in the capital, Kigali. Seismic activity is unpredictable and infrequent, but American citizens should be aware of the possibility of earthquakes. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

April 7 National Mourning Day

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

May 1Labor Day

July 1 National Day

July 4 Independence Day

July 5 Peace & Unity Day

Aug. 15Assumption Day

Sept. 25 Kamarampaka Day

Oct. 26 Armed Forces Day

Nov. 1 All Saints' Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.

Finlay, Hugh and Crowther, Ceoff.1997. Lonely Planet Guide-East Africa. Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 08600464424.

Courevitch, Philip. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.

Isaac, John and Greenberg, Keith Elliot. January 1997. Rwanda: Fierce Clashes in Central Africa. Blackbirch Press. ISBN 15600467111. For ages 8 and above.

Keane, Fergal. August 1997. Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey. Viking Pen. ISBN 01400460247.

Newbury, Catherine. February1989. Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Ruanda, 1860-1960. Columbia University Press. ISBN 02300461062.

Prunier, Gerard. September 1995. The Rwandan Crisis: History of a Genocide. Columbia University Press. ISBN 02300461104.

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Rwanda

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda represents one of the clearest cases of genocide in modern history. From early April 1994 through mid-July 1994, members of the small Central African state's majority Hutu ethnic group systematically slaughtered members of the Tutsi ethnic minority. An extremist Hutu regime, fearing the loss of its power in the face of a democracy movement and a civil war, made plans for the elimination of all those—moderate Hutu as well as Tutsi—it perceived as threats to its authority. The genocide ended only when a mostly Tutsi rebel army occupied the country and drove the genocidal regime into exile. Over a period of only one hundred days, as many as one million people lost their lives in the genocide and war—making the Rwandan slaughter one of the most intense waves of killing in recorded history.

Competing Theories of Ethnicity

The origins of ethnic identity in Rwanda remain a subject of considerable controversy. Nearly all scholars agree that populations having the designations Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa existed in the pre-colonial Rwandan state (prior to 1895); however, the exact historic and demographic meanings of these designations remain contested. A theory—developed during the colonial period—that Rwanda's ethnic groups emerged out of successive waves of conquest and immigration has now been largely discredited among scholars, but it dominated understandings of Rwanda's past for several decades. According to this theory, the hunting and gathering Twa were the original inhabitants of the territory. They were subsequently overrun and dominated by Hutu agriculturalists who arrived in the region approximately two thousand years ago from more western regions of Africa. Tutsi cattle herders are alleged to have conquered the territory around five hundred years ago, and to have established their authority over the two groups despite their inferior numbers. Accordingly, the Rwandan genocide was the final outcome of the resentment that was generated by this occupation and subjugation.

Two other theories now dominate discussions of ethnic origins in Rwanda. Both theories maintain that ethnicity is a social construct, that it is fluid, and that ascriptions of ethnicity cannot be made on the basis of physical characteristics, but they diverge with respect to the question of when ethnicity in Rwanda is supposed to have gained its modern form. Many current politicians in Rwanda, as well as some scholars, hold the theory that, in pre-colonial Rwanda, Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa were categories that derived from work-related activity and possessed little social significance—citing that the groups shared a common language and culture and lived among one another throughout the territory. According to this theory, colonial policies and ideologies subsequently transformed these categories into ethnic identities.

Proponents of the second theory believe that the terms Tutsi, Hutu, and Twa conferred status and were freighted with status difference even in pre-colonial Rwanda. Beginning in the mid-1800s, the central court of the kingdom of Rwanda used the categorization of population by ethnicity as a means of extending its control, installing an elite Tutsi class in marginal areas of the kingdom to represent the court. According to this theory, the development of Tutsi dominance that had begun in the late pre-colonial period was accelerated by colonial rule. Colonization transformed group identities via the introduction of Western ideas of race and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity that endowed those identities with greater meaning than they had held previously.

Early Instances of Ethnic Violence

Rwanda was colonized by Germany, which ceded the region to the Belgians during World War I. Supporters of the two theories of the origins of Rwandan ethnic identity agree that violent conflict along ethnic lines rarely, if ever, occurred in pre-colonial Rwanda, and that German and Belgian colonial policies exacerbated the already existing divisions among Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Catholic missionaries, who arrived in Rwanda in 1900, influenced the development of ethnic identity in Rwanda. They believed that Rwanda had three distinct racial groups. The Tutsi were supposedly a Hamitic group—tall, thin, of aristocratic demeanor, and more closely related to Europeans (and therefore destined to rule over inferior races). The Hutu were supposedly a Bantu group—shorter and stronger and (purportedly) fit for manual labor. The Twa were considered a Pygmy group—very small and dark and inferior to other peoples.

These interpretations ultimately shaped how Rwandans saw themselves and understood their group identities; moreover, they had become a basis for policies. German and Belgian colonial administrators practiced ethnic group-based indirect rule. They put power in the hands of Tutsi and gave administrative and political positions to Tutsi, and at the same time eliminated the power of Hutu kings and chiefs. The Belgian colonial administration issued identity cards to all Rwandans that named their ethnicity. In addition the Belgian colonial law of Rwanda dictated that one's ethnicity was the ethnicity of one's father—which effectively eliminated the prior fluid nature of ethnic identities. Occupational and educational opportunities were reserved for Tutsi, whereas Hutu were required to provide forced labor for the Tutsi chiefs. As a result of these and other policies, the Hutu population of Rwanda became increasingly impoverished and embittered. In the 1950s a Hutu elite, supported by progressive Catholic missionaries, emerged to challenge the inequality of Rwandan society. In 1959 a Hutu uprising drove Tutsi chiefs from their positions and thousands of Tutsi citizens of Rwanda into exile. The uprising marked the beginning of the transfer of political power to the majority Hutu. Rwanda gained its independence in 1962. The Hutu-dominated post-independence governments referred to the 1959 uprising as a social revolution. (The current Rwandan government refers to the turbulent events of 1959 as Rwanda's first instance of genocide—though in fact few Tutsi were killed at that time.)

In 1962 Grégoire Kayibanda, the leader of the Party of the Movement for the Emancipation of Hutu (Parmehutu), became Rwanda's president. Kayibanda used ethnic appeals to build his support—thereby creating a tense social environment. When rebel groups that had taken form among the exiled Tutsi attacked the country several times in the early 1960s, Rwandan troops responded by massacring thousands of Tutsi. Thousands more were driven into exile. Ethnic violence erupted in Rwanda again in 1973, partially in response to the 1972 genocide of educated Hutu in neighboring Burundi (which had an ethnic composition similar to that of Rwanda), where Tutsi had retained control. The resulting social disruption in Rwanda was a factor that contributed to the July 1973 coup d'etat that installed army chief Juvenal Habyarimana as the president of Rwanda.

Under Habyarimana, ethnic tensions in Rwanda initially diminished, as the regime focused on attracting international assistance for economic development. The establishment of ethnic quotas in education and employment (which shrank opportunities for Tutsi) appeased Hutu, and the creation of a single political party, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND), sharply constrained potentially inflammatory political activity. Tutsi were still required to carry identity cards and faced discrimination, but active ethnic tensions diminished. The resulting political calm attracted both internal and international support for Habyarimana, and allowed a decade of steady economic growth.

By the mid-1980s, however, among Rwandans, frustration with the Habyarimana regime was on the rise. A collapse in the price of coffee, Rwanda's main export, caused a sharp economic downturn and a massive increase in youth unemployment. In the context of economic decline and a growing gap between rich and poor, increasingly apparent corruption among officials in the Habyarimana regime became a growing source of criticism. Preferential treatment for Hutu from Habyarimana's home region of northern Rwanda angered both southern Hutu and Tutsi from throughout the country. In 1990 public frustration manifested itself in a democracy movement that called for expanded civil rights, a legalization of multi-party politics, and free and fair elections. Facing growing unrest, President Habyarimana announced that he would consent to limited political reforms.

The October 1990 invasion of Rwanda by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) changed the political equation in the country, as it both further compromised the security of the regime and provided an opportunity for Habyarimana and his cohorts to regain popular support by playing the ethnic card. The RPF was a rebel group composed primarily of Tutsi refugees seeking the right to return to Rwanda. Since the beginnings of anti-Tutsi violence in Rwanda in 1959, tens of thousands of Tutsi had been living as refugees, primarily in the neighboring states of Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of Congo), Burundi, and Uganda—countries in which their safety was precarious. In 1982 persecution of Tutsi by the regime of President Milton Obote in Uganda led thousands of Tutsi to try to return to Rwanda. They were turned away at the border: the Habyarimana regime claimed that there was no room for them in Rwanda. In Uganda, a number of Rwandan Tutsi joined the rebel movement that carried Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986, which afforded them political influence even as they remained vulnerable in that country. It was Tutsi within Museveni's National Resistance Army that had founded the RPF, which received clandestine support from the Museveni regime.

The initial RPF attack on Rwanda's northeastern frontier, on October 1, 1990, was easily quelled by troops of the Habyarimana regime, with the support of troops from Zaire, Belgium, and France. Nevertheless, Habyarimana used the invasion to retake the political lead. On the night of October 4, his supporters in the military staged what appeared to be an attack by the RPF on Kigali. This bogus attack was used to justify the arrest of thousands of prominent Tutsi and moderate Hutu, under the accusation of their being RPF accomplices. At the same time, regime officials organized massacres of Tutsi in several communities in the north of the country, which they portrayed as spontaneous popular revenge killings in response to the RPF attack. These assaults served to fan the flames of the ethnic tensions in the country.

Over the next several years, Habyarimana and his supporters used a cunning two-pronged strategy to improve their political position. On the one hand, they appeased critics by entering into negotiations with the RPF and offering political concessions, including the legalization of opposition parties and the creation of a government of (ostensible) national unity. Yet on the other hand they actively undermined these concessions. They denied opposition politicians real political power as they simultaneously blamed them for any problems that the country faced, such as the economic decline and the growing unemployment resulting from the civil war and an International Monetary Fund (IMF)–imposed austerity program and currency devaluation. Habyarimana's supporters encouraged acts of violence between the members of opposing political parties and were complacent toward an increase in overall criminal violence, then blamed the growing insecurity on the shift to multi-party politics. They appealed to anti-Tutsi sentiments (which had been intensified by the RPF invasion), and characterized all members of the anti-government opposition as RPF sympathizers. Each time negotiations with the RPF were on the verge of a breakthrough; Habyarimana's allies instigated small-scale massacres of Tutsi in various parts of the country and in general used ethnic violence to further inflame ethnic tensions. These massacres ultimately served as dress rehearsals for the eventual genocide, and were part of a strategy of mobilizing the population and motivating it further in the direction of violence. Throughout this period, Habyarimana's supporters increased their coercive power through a massive expansion of the Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR).

The Road to Genocide

Within the powerful clique close to Habyarimana known as the akazu, the idea of retaking broad political control via the setting off of large-scale massacres of any and all persons they regarded as threats to the Habyarimana regime was apparently first proposed sometime in 1992. The akazu was composed primarily of individuals from Habyarimana's home region in the north of Rwanda, and included descendants of Hutu chiefs who had been displaced by Tutsi during the colonial period—such as some of the relatives of Habyarimana's wife Agathe Kazinga, who for this reason had retained great personal animosity toward Tutsi. Members of the akazu had acquired significant personal wealth and power under Habyarimana's rule, and they were feeling increasingly threatened by political reforms and negotiations with the RPF. Some in the akazu—allegedly by mid-1993—had devised a plan to eliminate both Tutsi and moderate Hutu, as a final solution to the threats against themselves.

A series of events in 1993 shifted popular support in favor of the Habyarimana regime, supplying the popular base that would make the genocide possible. Massacres of Tutsi in the prefectures of Gisenyi and Kibuye in January triggered a major RPF offensive in February, which captured a large swath of territory in northern Rwanda and displaced a million people (mostly Hutu) from the Ruhengeri and Byumba prefectures. With so many people having been displaced and rumors of civilian massacres in areas controlled by the RPF beginning to swirl, public opinion in Rwanda shifted sharply against the RPF. Even as the Habyarimana regime feigned participation in peace negotiations with the RPF and other opposition parties, it sought to undermine the negotiations by fostering anti-Tutsi and anti-RPF sentiments and attributing any concessions it made to the participation of opposition politicians. This strategy effectively split each of the opposition parties, thereby preventing the installation of a new unity government of transition and realigning many southern Hutu with Habyarimana. The final peace agreement, known as the Arusha Accords, signed in August 1993, was widely perceived within Rwanda as having ceded too much to the RPF and having solidified the division of political parties into pro-Arusha Accords and anti-Arusha Accords wings. The anti-Arusha Accords party factions joined with Habyarimana's MRND and the extreme anti-Tutsi party named the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) in a loose pro-regime coalition that called itself "Hutu Power."

Hutu Power promoted an ideology that revived much of the anti-Tutsi rhetoric of the Kayibanda period. According to this ideology, Hutu had the right to rule Rwanda because they constituted a majority and because Hutu had a long history in Rwanda (whereas Tutsi had supposedly arrived more recently to conquer and dominate the country). Proponents of the Hutu Power ideology sought to promote a collective memory of Tutsi exploitation of Hutu during the colonial period, and warned that the RPF sought to annul the social revolution of the early 1960s and reassert Tutsi dominance and Hutu subservience. They claimed that all Tutsi within the territory of Rwanda were RPF sympathizers who could not be trusted, and that Hutu who opposed Habyarimana and supported the Arusha Accords were either traitors to the Hutu cause or secretly Tutsi. Associates of Habyarimana established a new quasi-independent radio station in late 1993, Radio Télévision Libre Mille-Collines (RTLM), which broadcast Hutu Power's anti-Tutsi, anti-opposition, and anti-Arusha Accords rhetoric.

The October 1993 assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi's first popularly elected Hutu president, had a major impact within Rwanda. Hutu Power leaders claimed that the failure of a transition to majority rule in Burundi demonstrated that Tutsi could not be trusted. Inter-ethnic violence that swept through Burundi over the several weeks that followed drove thousands of Hutu refugees into Rwanda, where they helped to further radicalize the political climate. Rwandan military personnel began to provide paramilitary training for the youth wings of the Hutu Power parties, such as the MRND's Interahamwe—expanding the membership of these youth groups and transforming them into civilian militia. In November the Catholic bishop of Nyundo parish near the city of Gisenyi warned that arms were being distributed to these civilian militias.

Both political and ethnic tensions continued to rise in Rwanda in early 1994. Even as provisions of the Arusha Accords were being implemented, Hutu Power forces sought to scuttle the final transfer of power to a new unity government. The United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) stationed international troops in the country to oversee the transition; a battalion of six hundred RPF troops was stationed in Kigali. Rather than reduce its forces, the FAR continued to expand in size and acquire arms—receiving weaponry from France, Egypt, and South Africa. In February Faustin Twagiramungu, the transitional prime minister named in the Arusha Accords, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, while Félicien Gatabazi, the executive secretary of the moderate Social Democratic Party, was assassinated. In response, a crowd that had assembled in Gatabazi's home commune lynched the national chairman of the CDR, Martin Bucyana. These political assassinations intensified the sense of crisis in the country and set the stage for the genocide. Intelligence reports coming out of the United States, France, and Belgium in early 1994 all warned that ethnic and political massacres were an imminent possibility in Rwanda. The commander of UNAMIR forces, General Roméo Dallaire, sent a memo to UN headquarters informing them that he had been informed of the existence of the secret plans of Hutu extremists to carry out genocide. None of these warnings were headed.

The Genocide

On April 6, 1994, the plane carrying President Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the president of Burundi, who were returning from a meeting in Tanzania that had focused on the implementation of the Arusha Accords, was shot down by surface-to-air missiles as it approached the airport in Kigali, and all on board were killed. The downing of the plane remains shrouded in mystery, since the Rwandan military restricted access to the area of the crash and blocked all serious investigation. Although associates of Habyarimana initially blamed the RPF for the assassination, many other observers believed that troops close to the president had carried out the attack—possibly because of an awareness of Habyarimana's reluctance to permit the plans for genocide (of which he was alleged to have been aware) to move forward, or the perception that he had been too moderate in his attitude toward the RPF. In part because of evidence that was eventually presented before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), many political experts now believe that the RPF, frustrated at the president's resistance toward implementing the Arusha Accords, did in fact fire the rockets that brought down Habyarimana's plane.

Whoever was responsible for the crash, the assassination of Habyarimana served as the spark that set the plans for genocide in motion. Within hours of the crash, members of the presidential guard and other elite troops—carrying hit lists composed of the names of persons perceived to be RPF sympathizers, including prominent Tutsi and Hutu opposition politicians and civil society activists—were spreading throughout the capital. On the morning of April 7, the presidential guard assassinated the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a moderate Hutu, along with ten Belgian UNAMIR troops who had been guarding her. On the first day of the genocide, death squads also killed leaders of the predominantly Tutsi Liberal Party and the multiethnic Social Democratic Party, several cabinet ministers, justices of the constitutional court, journalists, human rights activists, and progressive priests.

For the first several days, the murderous attacks took place primarily in Kigali and were focused on prominent individuals, both Hutu and Tutsi, perceived to be opponents of the regime. The international community, at this initial stage of the genocide, construed the violence in Rwanda as an ethnic uprising, a spontaneous popular reaction to the death of the president. Without clearly condemning the political and ethnic violence that was taking place, foreign governments moved to evacuate their nationals from Rwanda. Despite calls from UNAMIR Commander Dallaire to have troop strength increased, the member states of the UN Security Council voted to cut the UNAMIR presence from around 2,500 to a token force of 270, largely because countries such as the United States feared becoming entangled in an intractable conflict that would be reminiscent of the then recent disastrous intervention by the United States in Somalia. Belgium quickly withdrew its forces, and was followed by most other participating countries. From the beginning of the violence, the international community thus promulgated a clear message that it was disinterested and would not act to stop the massacres in Rwanda.

Far from being a spontaneous popular uprising, the 1994 genocide had been carefully planned and coordinated by a small group of government and military officials who used the administrative structure and coercive force of the state to invigorate the genocide and extend it across the country. Following Habyarimana's death, a new interim government composed entirely of Hutu Power supporters had seized control. Once it became clear that the international community was not going to intervene, the death squads moved the genocide into a second phase, expanding the violence until it engulfed the entire country and focusing it more specifically on Tutsi. Using the language of self-defense, the interim government called upon the population to help protect Rwanda from the invading RPF and to root out collaborators and infiltrators within the country. It sent word to regional and local leaders of the Interahamwe and other militias to move forward with existing "civil self-defense" plans that entailed the elimination of all "threats to security" (understood to mean all Tutsi and, to a lesser extent, moderate Hutu). Political officials had to support the "security" efforts or relinquish their government positions.

Following Habyarimana's death and the start of the civilian massacres, the RPF ended the ceasefire that had been in effect since the previous year and renewed its assault on the country. The RPF troops stationed in Kigali as part of the terms of the Arusha Accords quickly occupied a section of the capital, which became a safe zone for Tutsi and others threatened by the genocidal regime. Other RPF troops advanced on the capital from the north, overtaking the prefecture of Byumba and moving east and south through the prefecture of Kibungo and into the Bugesera region. As RPF leaders were claiming that their offensive was necessary to protect the Tutsi from extermination, their advance across Rwanda provided ideological support for those promoting the genocide. As Rwandans fled in advance of the RPF onslaught, Radio Rwanda and RTLM widely disseminated reports of civilian massacres by the RPF, fueling popular fears of the rebel army.

The genocide in each community followed a pattern. First, the civilian militias raided Tutsi homes and businesses. Fleeing Tutsi were forced to seek refuge in central locations, such as schools, public offices, and churches, where they had been protected during previous waves of violence. Coordinators of the genocide actively exploited the concept of sanctuary and encouraged Tutsi to gather at these places, offering promises of protection when in fact they were calling Tutsi together for their more efficient elimination. In some communities, a limited number of moderate Hutu were killed early in the violence—as a way of sending a message to other Hutu that they needed to cooperate. Once Tutsi had been gathered, soldiers or police joined with the militia in attacking them: first firing on the crowd and throwing grenades, then systematically finishing off survivors with machetes, axes, and knives. In some cases, buildings teeming with victims were set on fire or demolished. In instances in which communities initially resisted the genocide, militias from neighboring areas arrived on the scene and participated in the attacks until local Hutu joined in the killing. Generally armed only with stones, Tutsi were able to pose effective resistance in only a few locations.

By early May the large-scale massacres were complete, and the genocide in each community moved into a second stage of seeking out survivors. The organizers of the genocide clearly sought in this stage to lessen their own responsibility by implicating a larger segment of society in the killing. Although the massacres were carried out by relatively limited groups of militia members and members of the armed forces, all adult men were expected to participate in roadblocks and nightly patrols. People passing through roadblocks were required to show their identity cards. If a person's card stated that his or her ethnicity was Tutsi, he or she was killed on the spot. If a person had no card, he or she was assumed to be Tutsi. Persons who looked stereotypically Tutsi were almost certainly killed. The military patrols ostensibly searched for perpetrators, but they actually looked for surviving Tutsi who were hiding in communities. Many Hutu risked their own lives to protect Tutsi friends and family. The patrols searched homes where Tutsi were believed to be hiding, and if Tutsi were found, the patrols sometimes killed both Tutsi and the Hutu who were harboring them. Twa, who were a minuscule minority of the Rwandan population, were rarely targets of the genocide and in many communities participated in the killing in an effort to improve their social status.

Post-Genocide Reconstruction and Reconciliation

From the vantage point of the Hutu Power elite, the genocide, although effective at eliminating internal dissent, proved to be a terrible military strategy, as it drained resources and diverted attention from the RPF assault. Better armed and better organized, the RPF swiftly subdued FAR troops. It advanced across eastern Rwanda, then marched west, capturing the former royal capital Nyanza, on May 29; the provisional capital Gitarama, on June 13; and Kigali, on July 4. As it advanced, the RPF liberated Tutsi still being harbored in large numbers in places such as Nyanza and Kabgayi, but they also carried out civilian massacres in many communities they occupied, sometimes after gathering victims for supposed public meetings. Much of the population fled the RPF advance. As the RPF occupied eastern Rwanda, nearly one million refugees fled into Tanzania, while in July, over one million fled into Zaire.

After initially refusing to intervene in Rwanda and to stop the genocide, the UN Security Council, on May 17, authorized the creation of an expanded international force, UNAMIR II—but by the time the force was ready to deploy, the genocide was over. The RPF, angry at international neglect and believing that it could win an outright victory, rejected the idea of a new international intervention. In mid-June France, which had been a close ally of the regime that turned genocidal, intervened in Rwanda, supposedly to stop the massacres—but it also wished to prevent an absolute RPF victory. French forces established the "Zone Turquoise" in southeastern Rwanda, which they administered for over a month after the RPF had occupied the rest of Rwanda. Nearly two million people gathered in camps for the internally displaced and came under French protection. The French presence also enabled many of the organizers of the genocide, as well as the armed forces, to flee safely into Zaire with their weapons.

On July 17, 1994, the RPF declared victory and named a new interim government. The post-genocide Rwandan government faced the inordinately daunting task of rebuilding a country that had been devastated by violence. The exact number of people killed in the genocide and war remains disputed, and ranges from 500,000 to over a million, with serious disagreement over the portion killed by the RPF and the portion killed by the genocidal regime. Whatever the exact number of dead, the loss of life was massive and the impact on society immeasurable. The RPF, seeking wider popular support, based the new government loosely on the Arusha Accords and appointed a multiethnic slate of ministers from the former opposition parties that included a Hutu president and prime minister. Real power, however, remained firmly in RPF hands, with Defense Minister and Vice President Paul Kagame widely acknowledged as the ultimate authority in the country.

The RPF, which became Rwanda's new national army, took as its first main task the taking of control over the territory, which it did with considerable brutality. The RPF summarily executed hundreds of people who were suspected of involvement in the genocide, and arrested thousands more. Following the late August departure of French forces, the RPF sought to close the camps for the internally displaced. It used force in some cases, such as in its attack on the Kibeho camp in April 1995, in which several thousand civilians died. The refugee camps just across the border in Zaire continued to pose a security threat for the new government, as members of the former FAR and citizen militias living in the camps used the camps as a base from which to launch raids on Rwanda. In mid-1996 the RPF sponsored an antigovernment rebellion in eastern Zaire by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). The RPF itself attacked the refugee camps. The RPF killed thousands of refugees who sought to go deeper into Zaire rather than return to Rwanda. With support from the RPF and troops from Uganda and Burundi, the ADFL swiftly advanced across Zaire, driving President Mobutu Sese-Sekou from power in early 1997.

After taking power, the new government of Rwanda set about rebuilding the country's physical infrastructure, but it also committed itself to reconstructing the society. The establishment of the principle of accountability for the genocide and a repudiation of the principle of impunity were primary goals. By the late 1990s the government had imprisoned 120,000 people under the accusation of participation in the genocide. Although considerable effort was put into rebuilding the judicial system, trials of persons accused of genocide proceeded very slowly—beginning only in December 1996 and with fewer than five thousand cases tried by 2000. Responding to the need to expedite trials, but also hoping more effectively to promote accountability and reconciliation, the government decided in 2000 to implement a new judicial process, called gacaca, based loosely on a traditional Rwandan dispute resolution mechanism. The new gacaca courts, the first of which began to operate in June 2002, consist of panels of popularly elected lay judges from every community in the country. The panels preside at public meetings, at which all but the most serious genocidal crimes are tried. Beginning in 2003, the government began to release provisionally thousands of people who had had no formal charges brought against them or who had confessed to participation in the genocide (and would therefore be given reduced sentences). In addition to judicial strategies, the government has sought to promote reconciliation by promulgating a revised understanding of Rwandan history that emphasizes a unified national identity; creating reeducation camps for returning refugees, released prisoners, entering university students, and newly elected government officials; establishing memorials and annual commemorations of the genocide; changing the national anthem, flag, and seal; decentralizing the political structure; and adopting a new constitution.

Efforts to promote reconciliation have been undermined by the RPF's continuing mistrust of the population and its desire to retain control. The government has been highly intolerant of dissent, accusing critics of supporting the ideology of division and genocide. The government has harassed, outlawed, and co-opted human rights organizations, religious groups, and other segments of civil society. Journalists have been harassed and arrested. All political parties but the RPF have been tightly controlled. Power has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of the RPF and of Tutsi, and Paul Kagame has amassed and continues to amass increasing personal power. Kagame assumed the presidency in 2000. A putative "democratic transition" in 2003 actually served to consolidate RPF control over Rwanda.

The international community, plagued by guilt over its failure to stop the genocide, has been highly forgiving of the human rights abuses of the RPF, generally treating the abuses as an understandable or even necessary occurrence in the aftermath of genocide. It has given backing and assistance to both to the camps in Zaire and the reconstruction of Rwanda. The main outcome of the international reaction to the Rwandan genocide was the creation of the ICTR, based in Arusha, Tanzania. Created by the UN Security Council in late 1994, the ICTR is entrusted with trying the chief organizers of the 1994 genocide as well as RPF officials responsible for war crimes. Despite a slow start, the ICTR has tried or at least holds in its custody many of the most prominent officials of the former Rwandan regime. No RPF officials have yet come into ICTR custody.

Ten years after the 1994 genocide, ethnic relations in Rwanda remain tense. The government has become increasingly intolerant of dissent, and a steady flow of individuals has sought political asylum outside Rwanda. Although initially these exiles were mostly Hutu, they now include many Tutsi, including genocide survivors as well as RPF members who have fallen afoul of Kagame. These exiles could eventually become a basis for a serious challenge to the present regime. The constraints that have been put on open communication within Rwanda have hampered discussions about the genocide and its causes, but political reforms and an emphasis on national unity, as well as the active use of security forces, have helped to maintain peace in the country.

SEE ALSO Altruism, Biological; Altruism, Ethical; Burundi; Comics; Ethnicity; Genocide; Humanitarian Intervention; Identification; Incitement; Memorials and Monuments; Racism; Radio; Radio Télévision Libre Mille-Collines; Refugee Camps; Refugees; Safe Zones; United Nations

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Timothy Longman

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