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Africa :: Rwanda
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Rwanda
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Location of Rwanda
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of Rwanda
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Introduction ::Rwanda
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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 the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF tried in 1990. Despite substantial international assistance and political reforms - including Rwanda's first local elections in March 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in August and September 2003 - the country continues to struggle to boost investment and agricultural output, and ethnic reconciliation is complicated by the real and perceived Tutsi political dominance. Kigali's increasing centralization and intolerance of dissent, the nagging Hutu extremist insurgency across the border, and Rwandan involvement in two wars in recent years in the neighboring DRC continue to hinder Rwanda's efforts to escape its bloody legacy.
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Geography ::Rwanda
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Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
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2 00 S, 30 00 E
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total: 26,338 sq km
country comparison to the world: 148
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
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slightly smaller than Maryland
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total: 893 km
border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km
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0 km (landlocked)
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none (landlocked)
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temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
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mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
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lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m
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gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land
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arable land: 45.56%
permanent crops: 10.25%
other: 44.19% (2005)
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90 sq km (2003)
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5.2 cu km (2003)
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total: 0.15 cu km/yr (24%/8%/68%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (2000)
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periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
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deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
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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
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landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
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People ::Rwanda
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10,473,282
country comparison to the world: 77
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 (July 2009 est.)
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0-14 years: 42.1% (male 2,216,352/female 2,196,327)
15-64 years: 55.4% (male 2,897,003/female 2,909,994)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 100,920/female 152,686) (2009 est.)
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total: 18.7 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 18.9 years (2009 est.)
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2.782% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
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39.67 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
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14.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
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2.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
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urban population: 18% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 81.61 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 17
male: 86.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 76.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 50.52 years
country comparison to the world: 206
male: 49.25 years
female: 51.83 years (2009 est.)
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5.25 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
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2.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
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150,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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7,800 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
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noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
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Hutu (Bantu) 84%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%
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Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7% (2001)
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Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.4%
male: 76.3%
female: 64.7% (2003 est.)
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total: 9 years
male: 8 years
female: 9 years (2005)
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3.8% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 115
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Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa
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Government ::Rwanda
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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
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republic; presidential, multiparty system
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name: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 04 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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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)
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1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
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Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
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new constitution passed by referendum 26 May 2003
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based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Bernard MAKUZA (since 8 March 2000)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: President elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held 25 August 2003 (next to be held in September 2010)
election results: Paul KAGAME elected president in first direct popular vote; Paul KAGAME 95.05%, Faustin TWAGIRAMUNGU 3.62%, Jean-Nepomuscene NAYINZIRA 1.33%
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bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (26 seats; 12 members elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 by the Political Organizations Forum, 2 represent institutions of higher learning; to serve eight-year terms) and Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; 53 members elected by popular vote, 24 women elected by local bodies, 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - members appointed as part of the transitional government (next to be held in 2011); Chamber of Deputies - last held 15 September 2008 (next to be held September 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - RPF 78.8%, PSD 13.1%, PL 7.5%; seats by party - RPF 42, PSD 7, PL 4, additional 27 members indirectly elected
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Supreme Court; High Courts of the Republic; Provincial Courts; District Courts; mediation committees
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Centrist Democratic Party or PDC [Alfred MUKEZAMFURA]; Democratic Popular Union of Rwanda or UDPR [Adrien RANGIRA]; Democratic Republican Movement or MDR [Celestin KABANDA] (officially banned); Islamic Democratic Party or PDI [Andre BUMAYA]; Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]; Party for Democratic Renewal (officially banned); Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Paul KAGAME]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]
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IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)
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ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador James KOMONYO
chancery: 1714 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544
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chief of mission: Ambassador W. Stuart SYMINGTON
embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, Kigali
mailing address: B. P. 28, Kigali
telephone: [250] 596-400
FAX: [250] 596-591
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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
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Economy ::Rwanda
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Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and is landlocked with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary foreign exchange earners are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and eroded the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels, although poverty levels are higher now. GDP has rebounded and inflation has been curbed. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food imports. Rwanda continues to receive substantial aid money and obtained IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative debt relief in 2005-06. Rwanda also received Millennium Challenge Account Threshold status in 2006. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment and pursuing market-oriented reforms, although energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap growth.
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$9.706 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
$8.728 billion (2007 est.)
$8.089 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$4.459 billion (2008 est.)
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11.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
7.9% (2007 est.)
7.3% (2006 est.)
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$1,000 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
$900 (2007 est.)
$800 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 43.2%
industry: 22.3%
services: 34.5% (2008 est.)
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4.446 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 81
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agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2000)
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NA%
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60% (2001 est.)
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lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 38.2% (2000)
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46.8 (2000)
country comparison to the world: 37
28.9 (1985)
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22% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
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revenues: $930.4 million
expenditures: $1.023 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2008 est.)
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15.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
9.1% (2007 est.)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
12.5% (31 December 2007)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 38
15.84% (31 December 2007)
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$233.6 million (31 December 2005)
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$227.4 million (31 December 2005)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 160
$209.2 million (31 December 2005)
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$NA
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coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
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cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
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7.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
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120 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
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231.6 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
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10 million kWh (2007 est.)
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130 million kWh (2007 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
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6,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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5,623 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 125
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
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$-265 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$-147 million (2007 est.)
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$213 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$184 million (2007 est.)
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coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
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China 9.1%, Thailand 8.8%, Germany 7.5%, US 4.6%, Belgium 4.2% (2008)
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$809 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
$637 million (2007 est.)
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foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
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Kenya 17.1%, China 6.2%, Uganda 6%, Belgium 5.9%, Germany 5.1% (2008)
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$596 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$552.8 million (31 December 2007 est.)
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$1.4 billion (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
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Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar - 550 (2008 est.), 585 (2007), 560 (2006), 610 (2005), 574.62 (2004)
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Communications ::Rwanda
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16,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 198
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1.323 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 136
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general assessment: small, inadequate telephone system primarily serves business and government
domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to the centers of the provinces by microwave radio relay and, recently, by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density is only about 13 telephones per 100 persons
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)
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AM 0, FM 10 (two main FM programs are broadcast through a system of repeaters; international FM programming includes the BBC, VOA, and Deutchewelle) (2007)
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2 (2004)
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.rw
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81 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 203
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300,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
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Transportation ::Rwanda
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9 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 159
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total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2009)
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total: 14,008 km
country comparison to the world: 125
paved: 2,662 km
unpaved: 11,346 km (2004)
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Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft (2008)
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Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye
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Military ::Rwanda
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Rwandan Defense Forces: Army, Air Force
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
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males age 16-49: 2,430,469
females age 16-49: 2,392,933 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 1,452,768
females age 16-49: 1,456,207 (2009 est.)
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male: 106,741
female: 106,935 (2009 est.)
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2.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
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Transnational Issues ::Rwanda
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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, 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
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refugees (country of origin): 46,272 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 4,400 (Burundi) (2007)
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