Country - Rwanda

Rwanda

Rwanda Country Information

Rwanda is one of the smallest nations in the African continent. It is a landlocked country bounded by Uganda in the north, Tanzania in the east, Burundi in the south and Congo DRC in the west. Rwanda has Kigali as its capital which is the largest city too. More than 80% of the total population belongs to Christianity with 43.7% being Roman Catholics and 37.7% Protestants. While Kinyarwanda and Swahili are the two main official languages, English and French are the two additional non-indigenous official languages.

Rwanda was under the colonial rule of Germany from 1884 for a period of over 32 years. During the World War I, Belgium seized control of Rwanda from Germany in 1916 and began to exert influence in the local politics more overwhelmingly. The Hutu population began to revolt against the Belgian colonial rule in 1959 and achieved independence in 1962 when the Hutu-dominant Government was formed. Even the military coup in 1973 which resulted in change of power did not alter the pro-Hutu policies. Dissatisfied by the high handedness of Hutus, a rebellious Rwandan Patriotic Front of Tutsi sect launched a civil war in 1990 and the conflict culminated in the massive killings of about one million Tutsi and inestimable Hutu people in 1994. Though Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) claimed the ultimate victory, the economy was severely damaged by the genocide of humungous proportions.

According to the estimates of 2015, Rwanda had a total population of 11,262,564 and the average population density was 445 people per square kilometer due to its relatively small land area of 26,338 sq.kms. The savage killings of 1994 destroyed the infrastructure of the country sizably and the per capita GDP (PPP) was a meager US$416 in 1994. But the economy picked up in the later decades and the per capita GDP (PPP) reached US$2090 in 2017.

Agriculture is the major economic activity which yields the produce just enough for internal consumption. Vegetable crops make up for most of the subsistence farming. Coffee and tea are the two major commercial crops grown for selling the produce abroad as well. The main items of export include gold, tea, refined petroleum, niobium, tantalum, vanadium, zirconium ore and tin ore.  The top imports are planes, helicopters, spacecraft and packaged medicaments. The total exports from Rwanda amounted to US$869 million and that of imports was US$2.05 billion in 2016.

Rwanda is well known for a lot of wild life exclusively native to the land. The main geographical feature of the country is dormant volcanic mountains of Bisoke, Sabinyo, Gahinga, Mahabura and Karisimbi in the Musanze region.

More than half of the entire population of mountain gorillas in the world resides in the Virunga Mountain Range that is spread in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla tracking in the Virunga Mountain Range is unique to the place.

Coffee production is the major activity in Rwanda. Tourists can get to know the various stages of coffee production starting from reaping the coffee beans up to the making of soft coffee powder at Kinunu Coffee Washing Station near the lakeside town of Gisenyi.

The twin lakes of Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera at the base of Muhabura volcano make a scenic beauty that is never wanted to be missed by most of the tourists. The 227-km long Congo Nile Trail is chosen by enthusiastic tourists to watch the spectacular locations (like tea plantations, coffee washing stations, peaceful guest houses and the lookout points) that come by during the trek or cycling.

Kayaking trips from the Kivu coast are a nice experience to enjoy the serene dark blue waterscape and the distant hills. Watching the sunrise and sunset from the middle of the Lake Kivu is an experience unique to the site.

The traditional Intore dance of Rwanda is performed by a small group of local people wearing long-haired white grass-weed wigs and tying ankle-belts of bells with a spear in one hand and a shield in another. The dance begins with small stompings on the ground and takes crescendo gradually. It is sometimes begun by separate groups of men and women who later mingle with one another during the course of the act. Locals say that the dance form is meant to bring unity between Hutu and Tutsi sects.  

The capital city of Kigali is a wholesome mélange of tradition and modernity reflecting the comprehensive character of Rwanda.