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Rwanda - Overview

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Capital:: Kigali
Area:: 26 km2
Total Population:: 9.998
Annual growth rate:: 3.00%
Density:: 405.00/km2
Urban population:: 19%
Population of Kigali (600), Gitarama (85), Butare (80), Ruhengeri (70), Gisenyi (70)
Official language: Kinyarwanda, English, French
Other languages spoken: Kiswahili
Business language: English
Ethnic Origins:: Hutu (Bantu) 84%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%.
Beliefs: Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, Indigenous beliefs 0.1%, None 1.7%.
Telephone codes:
To make a call from: 0
To make a call to: +250
Internet suffix:: .rw
Type of State::
Democratic Republic.
Type of economy::
Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC)
An economy dominated by agricultural activities.

Economic overview

After having recorded a steady growth, stimulated by an expansionary fiscal policy and investments in education and infrastructures, the economy of Rwanda has slowed down under the effect of the global recession, due to less activity, drop in raw material prices and a credit crisis. From 11.2% in 2008, the growth rate declined to 5.4% in 2010, but it should recover during the next following years. 

Rwanda is involved in the PSI program (The Policy Support Instrument) with the IMF in order to strengthen its economy, to promote a long-term growth and to reduce the country's dependence on foreign aid. The government gives preference to the diversification of its economy. As well as the program "Vision 2020" which establishes priorities for the development of non-agricultural activities, reinforcement of the effectiveness of services and an improvement in targeting social protection measures. 

Rwanda is a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC) where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line and where almost 30% of the population suffers from the lack of food security.

Foreign trade overview

Rwanda is open to trade. Indeed, the economic policy aims at increasing the ratio of exports over imports in order to boost the economy, with a view of developing industry and the tertiary sector in particular.  Foreign trade represents more than one third of the GDP. 

The country's customs duties and non-tariff barriers are rather low (an average of 14.4%). The unstable geopolitical environment and an unskilled workforce are the main obstacles to the Rwandese economy.

The country imports much more than what it exports and this creates a structural trade deficit, a trend that is expected to continue during the next coming years.

Rwanda top trade partners are the EAC (East African Community) member countries, the European Union and the United Arab Emirates.


Although FDI stocks had increased in the last recent years due to the political stability and the measures focusing on the improvement of the business atmosphere, FDI flows remained very weak. The political instability of its neighboring country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, had an impact on the entire Great Lakes region, and it played a negative role in Rwanda's FDI inflows. 

The low level of human resources, the poor quality of its infrastructures, the country's landlocked position, high operating costs, the limited natural resources and the political instability of the region are some of the factors that limit the potential attraction of the country. Nevertheless, Rwanda has its assets: a substantial reserve of methane gas, a mining potential in expansion and hardly explored, and a reputation of being one of the least corrupted countries in Africa. 

Coffee, tea, tin, energy and telecommunications are some of the sectors targeted by foreign investment. Indonesia, China and Germany are the main investor countries.

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