Rwanda is ready for its ambition to become reality.
Rwanda is striving to recover and rebuild following the devastating 1994 genocide. Rwanda’s long-term development goals seek to transform Rwanda from low-income, agricultural-based economy to a middle-income, knowledge-based, and service-oriented one. Significant strides have been made towards this goal and this strong economic growth has been accompanied by substantial improvements in living standards and rapid poverty reduction.
In some surprising ways, Rwanda is even more advanced than the United States: With a population of 10.5 million people, of which 52% are women, 64% of the parliamentary seats were taken by female candidates in the country’s last election. This is just one example of how this tiny nation has overcome one of the worst atrocities in recent human history to become one of the most stable, economically vibrant and progressive countries in Africa. Rwanda is emerging as a beacon of hope in the region.
- Independence from Belgium granted.
- The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invades northern Rwanda, initiating the Rwandan Civil War.
- The Arusha Accords are signed, establishing a cease-fire and ending the civil war.
- President Habyarimana is killed, ending the cease-fire and catalyzing the Rwandan genocide where an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days.
- Paul Kagame is selected and sworn in as the fourth President of Rwanda. He launches “Vision 2020” aimed at transforming the country into a knowledge-based, middle-income economy.
- The poverty rate dropped from 59% in 2001 to 45% in 2011.
- Rwanda meets most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly substantial improvements in living standards, a two-thirds drop in child mortality rates, and near-universal enrollment by Rwandan children in primary school.
Demographic + Economic Overview
Rwandans come from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, which is split into three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. Literacy among adults is nearly 71%, but among the country’s three official languages and numerous indigenous dialects, 93% of the country speaks only one of them: Kinyarwanda.
- Income Level Classification:
- Lower Middle
- Higher Middle
The civil war and genocide crippled the Rwandan economy, but the country has made remarkable strides in economic development over the past decade. Since 2003, Rwanda’s economic has grown between 7-8% growing annually. Recently, Rwanda joined the East African Community (EAC) and is working toward aligning its economic policies toward those of its regional partners. The Rwandan government has developed ambitious plans to revamp all aspects of its economy and has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty, with a focus on attracting both domestic and foreign investment and establishing the country as a leader in information and communications technology.
Rwanda’s fertile ecosystem allows for a rich agricultural economy, focusing on coffee, tea and minerals as some of the main sources of foreign exchange. The significance of agriculture for the Rwandan economy can’t be overstated: while only 33% of the GDP comes from agriculture, but nearly 90% of the country’s workforce is dedicated to it. The country is looking to diversify by becoming a regional leader in information and communication technologies. Tourism is another rising sector within the economy.