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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 8.4
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 20%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: ..
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km) : 26,340

Population origin

Hutu 84%, Tutsi 15%, Twa (Pygmoid) 1%

Main Cities Population
Kigali 603 049
Gitarama 84 669
Butare 77 449
Ruhengeri 71 511
Gisenyi 67 766
Byumba 66 268

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Kigali (GMT+2 ).

Official languages: Kinyarwanda, French and English. Kiswahili is used for trade and commerce.

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free French-English-French translation of texts and web pages

Religious practises : Roman Catholic 52.7%, Protestant 24%, Adventist 10.4%, Muslim 1.9%, indigenous beliefs and other 6.5%, none 4.5% (1996)

Political context

Rwanda is a republic state based on parliamentary democracy with presidential form of government. Rwanda (official name: Republic of Rwanda) is slowly recovering from the Africa's worst genocide in modern times when around a million people were killed in the country in the year 2004.
President is both the chief of state and head of the government and is elected by a popular vote for a seven-year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys immense executive powers and takes all major decisions related with domestic and foreign affairs. Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (cabinet) are appointed by the President.
The legislature in Rwanda is bicameral. The parliament consists of two chambers: Senate (the upper house) having 26 seats with its members elected by local councils and nominated by President & various forums including universities to serve eight-year terms; and Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) having 80 seats with its 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations to serve five-year terms. The constitution of 2003 makes President superior to parliament and gives him authority to dissolve the parliament if he wishes so. The people of Rwanda have limited political rights.
Judiciary is not independent in Rwanda. Death or exile of most of the judiciary during the genocide has impeded government's ability to administer post-genocide justice. The main source of the law is the new constitution of June 2003. The legal system is based on German and Belgian civil law systems, customary law and the judicial reviews of various legislative acts. Rwanda has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Three judicial languages are used in Rwanda which are: Kinyarwanda, French and English.
Rwanda is not ruled by law. Foreigners cannot expect an impartial trial from the country's judicial system. The country is plagued with a high degree of corruption, especially in government and judiciary.

Major political parties

Rwanda is a one-party dominant state with the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front a Tutsi party which overthrew the Hutu-led government in Rwanda) in power. Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. Some of the other important political parties are:
- MDR (Democratic Republican Movement) - primarily a Hutu party,
- Christian Democratic Party - follows Christian democratic ideology,
- Islamic Democratic Party - advocates Islamic ideology,
- Rwandan Socialist Party - a socialist part, favors land reforms.

Major political leaders

President: Paul KAGAME (since April 2000, re-elected in August 2003) RPF
Prime Minister: Bernard MAKUZA (since March 2000) - MDR

Next political election dates

Presidential: Year 2008
Senate: Year 2011
Chamber of Deputes: Year 2008




Rwanda has three main seasons: a short dry season in January, the major rainy season from February through May, and another dry period from May to late September. The average yearly rainfall is 790 mm (31 in) and is heaviest in the western and northwestern mountain regions. Wide temperature variations occur because of elevation differences. The average daily temperature in the Lake Kivu area is 23C (73F). In the mountains in the northwest, frost occurs at night. Despite its proximity to the Equator the climate in Rwanda is cooled by the high altitude. It is warm throughout most of the country but cooler in the mountains. There are two rainy seasons: mid-January to April and mid-October to mid-December. Required clothing: Lightweights are required for most of the year with warmer clothes for cooler upland evenings. Rainwear is advisable.



Number of visitors in Rwanda 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) .. .. ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
Rwanda is a mountainous land in the heart of Africa, split by the Rift Valley, and dominated by a mountain range that crosses the country from north to south. The three principal areas of interest are the Virunga Volcanoes, the Kagera National Park and the region around Lake Kivu. The capital city of Kigali is mainly a commercial and administrative centre and has little in the way of tourist attractions. For up-to-date information about tours and excursions in the country, please contact the ORTPN in Kigali (see address section).
Kagera National Park: Kibungu, in the east of the country, is in the centre of a region of lakes and waterfalls, including Lake Mungesera and the Rusumo Falls. It is also close to the southern tip of the Kagera National Park, which covers over 2,500 km² (1,000 sq miles) of savannah to the west of the Kagera River (the frontier with Tanzania). The park has a variety of wildlife and is a habitat for over 500 species of birds. There are accommodation facilities on the edge of the park at Gabiro, 100km (60 miles) to the north. Reservations should be made in advance. In the rainy seasons (December, March and April) many of the routes become impassable.

Parc des Volcans: West of Kagera is the Parc des Volcans, one of the last sanctuaries of the Gorilla mountain. The ORTPN bureau in Kigali can organise guided tours of the park for small parties; it is advisable to book a long time in advance. This region is composed of volcanic mountains, of which two, across the frontier in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are still active.
Kivu Lake : Gisenye is the main centre for excursions in the Parc des Volcans. Plane trips can be made from here to view the craters. Located in the north of Kivu Lake, it also offers many opportunities for water sports or for excursions on the lake. Kibuye, further south, is another lakeside resort. Near Cyangugu, on the southern shores of the lake, are the spectacular grottoes of Kaboza and Nyenji, and the thermal waters in Nyakabuye. Nearby, the Rugege Forest is the home for many rare species of wildlife.
Elsewhere: East of Cyangugu is Butare, the intellectual capital of the country. It boasts an interesting museum, craft shops and a botanical garden. North of Butare is Gitarama, which has a good art museum; nearby is the cathedral town of Kabgayi; and in Mushubati, the grottoes of Bihongor.

For more information about tourism in Rwanda , check out the following web site(s) :
Tourism Department of Rwanda


Traditional dishes
Hotels generally serve a reasonable choice of European dishes, while restaurants serve Franco-Belgian cuisine and some African dishes. Drink: A fairly good selection of beers, spirits and wines is available. Beer is also brewed locally.

Last modified on December 2006

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