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Rwanda :: Africa



A Rwandan kingdom dominated the region from the mid-18th century onward, with the Tutsi rulers conquering others militarily, centralizing power, and increasingly enacting anti-Hutu policies. German colonial rule began in 1898, but Belgian forces captured Rwanda in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and pursued a pro-Tutsi policy. In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in a state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed approximately 800,000 of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population. The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and established an RPF-led government of national unity. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in late 2009. President Paul KAGAME won the presidential election in August 2017 after changing the constitution in 2016 to allow him to run for a third term.



Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi

Geographic coordinates:

2 00 S, 30 00 E

Map references:



total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
country comparison to the world: 148

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:

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


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


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


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


mean elevation: 1,598 m
lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

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

Irrigated land:

96 sq km (2012)

Population distribution:

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards:

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

Environment - current issues:

deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; land degradation; soil erosion; a decline in soil fertility (soil exhaustion); wetland degradation and loss of biodiversity; widespread poaching

Environment - international agreements:

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

Geography - note:

landlocked; most of the country is intensively cultivated and rugged with the population predominantly rural

People and Society


12,712,431 (July 2020 est.)
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
country comparison to the world: 75


noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan

Ethnic groups:

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa (Pygmy)


Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, French (official) <.1, English (official) <.1, Swahili/Kiswahili (official, used in commercial centers) <.1, more than one language, other 6.3%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)


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

Demographic profile:

Rwanda's fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government's commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda's birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families' ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government's efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation. ++ The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR's decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Age structure:

0-14 years: 39.95% (male 2,564,893/female 2,513,993)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 1,280,948/female 1,273,853)
25-54 years: 33.06% (male 2,001,629/female 2,201,132)
55-64 years: 4.24% (male 241,462/female 298,163)
65 years and over: 2.65% (male 134,648/female 201,710) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 74.2
youth dependency ratio: 68.8
elderly dependency ratio: 5.4
potential support ratio: 18.4 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 19.7 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 20.4 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199

Population growth rate:

2% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46

Birth rate:

27.9 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39

Death rate:

6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Net migration rate:

-3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181

Population distribution:

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; large concentrations tend to be in the central regions and along the shore of Lake Kivu in the west as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 17.4% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 2.86% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

1.132 million KIGALI (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

23 years (2014/15 est.)
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate:

248 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44

Infant mortality rate:

total: 28 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 65.1 years
male: 63.2 years
female: 67.1 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196

Total fertility rate:

3.52 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

53.2% (2014/15)

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 92% of population
rural: 76.9% of population
total: 79.5% of population
unimproved: urban: 8% of population
rural: 23.1% of population
total: 20.5% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

6.6% (2017)

Physicians density:

0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 88.4% of population
rural: 79.4% of population
total: 80.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 11.6% of population
rural: 20.6% of population
total: 19.1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

2.9% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

230,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

2,800 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

5.8% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 174

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

9.6% (2015)
country comparison to the world: 66

Education expenditures:

3.1% of GDP (2018)
country comparison to the world: 133


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73.2%
male: 77.6%
female: 69.4% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 20.6%
male: 18.8%
female: 22.6% (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda
conventional short form: Rwanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
local short form: Rwanda
former: Ruanda, German East Africa
etymology: the name translates as "domain" in the native Kinyarwanda language

Government type:

presidential republic


name: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 03 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the city takes its name from nearby Mount Kigali; the name "Kigali" is composed of the Bantu prefix "ki" and the Rwandan "gali" meaning "broad" and likely refers to the broad, sprawling hill that has been dignified with the title of "mount"

Administrative divisions:

4 provinces (in French - provinces, singular - province; in Kinyarwanda - intara for singular and plural) and 1 city* (in French - ville; in Kinyarwanda - umujyi); Est (Eastern), Kigali*, Nord (Northern), Ouest (Western), Sud (Southern)


1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)


history: several previous; latest adopted by referendum 26 May 2003, effective 4 June 2003
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic (with Council of Ministers approval) or by two-thirds majority vote of both houses of Parliament; passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote in both houses; changes to constitutional articles on national sovereignty, the presidential term, the form and system of government, and political pluralism also require approval in a referendum; amended 2008, 2010, 2015

Legal system:

mixed legal system of civil law, based on German and Belgian models, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Rwanda; if the father is stateless or unknown, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Edouard NGIRENTE (since 30 August 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); note - a constitutional amendment approved in December 2016 reduced the presidential term from 7 to 5 years but included an exception that allowed President KAGAME to serve another 7-year term in 2017, potentially followed by two additional 5-year terms; election last held on 4 August 2017 (next to be held in August 2024); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Paul KAGAME reelected president; Paul KAGAME (RPF) 98.8%, Philippe MPAYIMANA (independent) 0.7%, Frank HABINEZA (DGPR)0.5%

Legislative branch:

description: bicameral Parliament consists of: Senate or Senat (26 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum - a body of registered political parties, and 2 selected by institutions of higher learning; members serve 8-year terms) ++ Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (80 seats; 53 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 24 women selected by special interest groups, and 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 16-18 September 2019 (next to be held in 2027) ++ Chamber of Deputies - last held on 3 September 2018 (next to be held in September 2023)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 16, women 10, percent of women 38.5% ++ Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Rwandan Patriotic Front Coalition 40, PSD 5, PL 4, other 4 indirectly elected 27; composition - men 26, women 54, percent of women 67.5%; note - total Parliament percent of women 60.4%

Judicial branch:

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 15 judges; normally organized into 3-judge panels); High Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and a minimum of 24 judges and organized into 5 chambers)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (SCJ), a 27-member body of judges, other judicial officials, and legal professionals) and approved by the Senate; chief and deputy chief justices appointed for 8-year nonrenewable terms; tenure of judges NA; High Court president and vice president appointed by the president of the republic upon approval by the Senate; judges appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice upon approval of the SCJ; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: High Court of the Republic; commercial courts including the High Commercial Court; intermediate courts; primary courts; and military specialized courts ++

Political parties and leaders:

Democratic Green Party of Rwanda or DGPR [Frank HABINEZA] ++ Liberal Party or PL [Donatille MUKABALISA] ++ Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Dr. Alivera MUKABARAMBA] ++ Party Imberakuri or PS-Imberakuri [Christine MUKABUNANI] ++ Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME] ++ Rwandan Patriotic Front Coalition (includes RPF, PPC) [Paul KAGAME] ++ Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Mathilde MUKANTABANA (since 18 July 2013)
chancery: 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 418, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Peter H. VROOMAN (since 5 April 2018)
telephone: [250] 252 596-400
embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, P. O. Box 28, Kigali
mailing address: B.P. 28, Kigali
FAX: [250] 252 580 325

Flag description:

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; blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources; the sun symbolizes unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance

National symbol(s):

traditional woven basket with peaked lid; national colors: blue, yellow, green

National anthem:

name: "Rwanda nziza" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA
note: adopted 2001


Economic overview:

Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with agriculture accounting for about 63% of export earnings, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but, with the exception of the capital Kigali, is not concentrated in large cities – its 12 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (smaller than the state of Maryland). Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth. ++ The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy well beyond pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 6%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006. ++ The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment. Rwanda consistently ranks well for ease of doing business and transparency. ++ The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies and aims to reach middle-income status by 2020 by leveraging the service industry. In 2012, Rwanda completed the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. In 2016, the government launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.

GDP real growth rate:

6.1% (2017 est.)
6% (2016 est.)
8.9% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.3% (2019 est.)
-0.3% (2018 est.)
8.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

Credit ratings:

Fitch rating: B+ (2014)
Moody's rating: B2 (2016)
Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2019)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$24.68 billion (2017 est.)
$23.26 billion (2016 est.)
$21.94 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$9.136 billion (2017 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,100 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 190

Gross national saving:

12.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
6.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
7.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 30.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 17.6% (2017 est.)
services: 51.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 75.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 22.9% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 18.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -32.8% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

93.2 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

4.2% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Labor force:

6.227 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 75.3%
industry: 6.7%
services: 18% (2012 est.)

Unemployment rate:

2.7% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

Population below poverty line:

39.1% (2015 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)


revenues: 1.943 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 2.337 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

21.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Public debt:

40.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

-$622 million (2017 est.)
-$1.336 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128


$1.05 billion (2017 est.)
$745 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Exports - partners:

UAE 38.3%, Kenya 15.1%, Switzerland 9.9%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 9.5%, US 4.9%, Singapore 4.5% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

coffee, tea, hides, tin ore


$1.922 billion (2017 est.)
$2.036 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material

Imports - partners:

China 20.4%, Uganda 11%, India 7.2%, Kenya 7.1%, Tanzania 5.3%, UAE 5.1% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$997.6 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132

Debt - external:

$3.258 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.611 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141

Exchange rates:

Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
839.1 (2017 est.)
787.25 (2016 est.)
787.25 (2015 est.)
720.54 (2014 est.)
680.95 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

population without electricity: 6 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 53% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 76% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 48% (2019)

Electricity - production:

525 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

Electricity - consumption:

527.3 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169

Electricity - exports:

4 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92

Electricity - imports:

42 million kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

191,000 kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

42% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

51% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96

Crude oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189

Crude oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184

Crude oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184

Refined petroleum products - production:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

6,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

Refined petroleum products - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192

Refined petroleum products - imports:

6,628 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177

Natural gas - proved reserves:

56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

985,600 Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 11,215
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 9,531,609
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 76.49 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: govt. invests in smart city infrastructure; expanding wholesale LTE services; govt. launches SIM card registration; growing economy and foreign aid help launch telecom sector, despite widespread poverty; slow to liberalize mobile sector; competing operators roll out national fiber optic backbone that connects to submarine cables of neighboring countries ending expensive dependence on satellite (2020)
domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to provincial centers by microwave radio relay, and recently by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; fixed-line less than 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased to 76 telephones per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 250; international connections employ microwave radio relay to neighboring countries and satellite communications to more distant countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) in Kigali (includes telex and telefax service); international submarine fiber-optic cables on the African east coast has brought international bandwidth and lessened the dependency on satellites
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media:

13 TV stations; 35 radio stations registered, including international broadcasters, government owns most popular TV and radio stations; regional satellite-based TV services available

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 2,653,197
percent of population: 21.77% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 7,501
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175


National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,073,528 (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

9XR (2016)


7 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 171

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


total: 4,700 km (2012)
paved: 1,207 km (2012)
unpaved: 3,493 km (2012)
country comparison to the world: 148


(Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2011)

Ports and terminals:

lake port(s): Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye (Lake Kivu)

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

Rwanda Defense Force (RDF): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR), Rwanda Reserve Force (2020)

Military expenditures:

1.2% of GDP (2019)
1.2% of GDP (2018)
1.3% of GDP (2017)
1.3% of GDP (2016)
1.3% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 106

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) has approximately 32,500 active personnel (32,000 Army; 500 Air Force) (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the RDF's inventory includes mostly Soviet-era and older Western - mostly French and South African - equipment; Russia is the largest supplier of equipment to the RDF since 2010 (2019 est.)

Military deployments:

1,370 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 1,090 Sudan (UNAMID); 2,750 South Sudan (UNMISS) (2020)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required, as is a 9th-grade education for enlisted recruits and an A-level certificate for officer candidates; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career; retirement (for officers and senior NCOs) after 20 years of service or at 40-60 years of age (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Burundi and Rwanda dispute two sq km (0.8 sq mi) of Sabanerwa, a farmed area in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965; fighting among ethnic groups - loosely associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces in Great Lakes region transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), Rwanda, and Uganda - abated substantially from a decade ago due largely to UN peacekeeping, international mediation, and efforts by local governments to create civil societies; nonetheless, 57,000 Rwandan refugees still reside in 21 African states, including Zambia, Gabon, and 20,000 who fled to Burundi in 2005 and 2006 to escape drought and recriminations from traditional courts investigating the 1994 massacres; the 2005 DROC and Rwanda border verification mechanism to stem rebel actions on both sides of the border remains in place

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 77,017 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 72,007 (Burundi) (2020)