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Rwanda Overview

RWANDA

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Rwanda, Land of a Thousand Hills with its endless mountains, scenically a spectacular little country. The peaks of the Virunga volcanoes in the far north west form a natural frontier with Congo and Uganda. Hidden in the jungle on the slopes of the volcanoes are some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, which draw visitors to Rwanda despite its troubled past. An encounter with these gentle creatures will make you forget the horrific attempts at genocide which unfolded here in 1994. The country is taking giant strides toward recovering from its past. Visitors are cautious about traveling to the country given its history, but Rwanda is ready for recovery and to be part of the assistance in doing so can only be rewarding.

The economy was decimated during the genocide however the current government is turning things around and the economy is fairly stable at the moment. A steady growth, low inflation and the investors are once again prepared to invest in Kigali (Rwanda's Capital). Agriculture is the main employer and export earner, with coffee accounting for about three quarters of export income and tea and pyrethrum (a natural insecticide) are also among the top earners. International donors include Japan, Belgium, Germany and the UK. Inflation and real GDP growth is currently at about 5% per annum.

The Viruga volcanoes mentioned earlier border Congo and Uganda in the north forming a natural border with Rwanda. Many gorilla family groups have been unaccustomed to human contact over many years and spending time in their presence is the highlight of your trip to Rwanda. To visit these incredible creatures, will undoubtedly not be for the faint hearted, you have to trek through the volcanoes to get to where they are.

Rwanda Quick Facts
 
Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Area: 26,338 sq km
Border countries: Burundi 290 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 217 km, Tanzania 217 km, Uganda 169 km
Population: 7.9 million
People: Tswana (or Setswana) 79%, Kalanga 11%, Basarwa 3%, other, including Kgalagadi and white 7%
Language: Kinyarwanda (official) universal Bantu vernacular, French (official), English (official), Kiswahili (Swahili) used in commercial centers
Religion: Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7% (2001)
Independence: 1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
Head of State: President Paul KAGAME
Capital: Kigali
   
Currency: Rwandan franc (RWF) - Exchange Rate(link popup window)
Export Commodities: coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
Agriculture - products: coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
GDP growth: 3.5% (2003 est.)
GDP per capita: $1,300 (2003 est.)
 
 
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