Rwanda is a small east-central African country, slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, but with a growing population of 10 million. It is a country of great beauty, with steep mountains, deep valleys, lush vegetation and a temperate climate.
The country of Rwanda is a republic, and the president, since 2000, is Paul Kagame. In the colonial days of Africa, the area of Rwanda was under the rule of Belgium. Rwanda became an independent nation on July 1, 1962. Belgium rule of the country encouraged tensions and divisions between the two major tribes of Rwanda—Tutsi and Hutu. Ongoing ethnic and political unrest resulted in increasing violence, culminating in a tragic genocide in the country that began in April 1994. Over a period of about 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed.
In May, 2003, 93% of Rwandans voted to approve a new constitution that instituted a balance of political power between Hutu and Tutsi. No party can hold more than half the seats in the parliament, and the constitution also outlawed the incitement of ethnic hatred. In the presidential election that August, Paul Kagame became the first Tutsi president of Rwanda, in a landslide victory. Significant political and ethnic tensions still exist with the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Rwanda is predominately a Christian country, with roughly 50% of the country Roman Catholic, 30% Protestant, 11% Adventists and 4–5% Islam. Anglican, Baptist and Assembly of God are among the larger protestant denominations.
Economy and Industry
In 2007, the gross domestic product of Rwanda was $8.4 billion, or $900 per citizen. Agriculture still represents about 90% of the economy, with industry and services at 10%. The primary agricultural products are coffee, tea, bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes and pyrethrum (insecticide). Livestock in the country includes cattle, goats and chickens. The primary natural resources of Rwanda include gold, tin ore, tungsten, and methane. Rwanda still imports much of its food, as well as machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material. Major trading partners are Indonesia, China, Germany, Kenya, Belgium, Uganda and France.
The three primary languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French and English. Some Swahili is also spoken. In late 2008, the government announced a major initiative to make English the primary language of the country and began to promote its usage in the educational system and in business.
|Ushinzwe Ibijyanye no gusenga ( Prayer Commissioner )
Ikigenderewe cyane kuri uyumwanya ni ugushaka no kuzana abantu bakora mugihe “cy iminsi 100 yo gusenga” igihe hari kubaho amarushanwa. Agomba nanone kugaragaza ibintu byo gusengerwa mumasushanwa, akazanashyiraho icyumba cyamasengesho.
( an excerpt in Kinyarwandan from the Rwandan Upward Directors’ Manual)