Education General Knowledge

Know 10 Facts about Rwanda – Historic, economic and political

Written by Wamiq Ali

Rwanda is a small country located in the east-central Africa. It’s a landlocked country having a population of 12,337,138 (12m) people. The capital of Rwanda is Kigali. The country faces years of ethnic strife and far-right sentiments based on racial preferences. Rwanda genocide is one historic event which took lives of more than 800k ethnic Tutsis and Hutus; it shows the extent of ethnic troubles in the country. History refers to this genocide as government-sponsored. Although Rwandan Genocide remains a topic of interest for most historians, yet their are other political and economic facts about Rwanda which almost every should learn and remember by heart, due to their importance.

Economically, the Rwanda is 10th most developed country in Africa. We’ve ranked 54 African countries according to their business, income and human development rankings. Currency of Rwanda is Rwandan Franc. Get to know some more facts about Rwanda in details, as follows:

1. Rwanda obtained Freedom from Belgium

Rwanda became a part of the German East Africa in the year 1890. Some twenty-six years later, Belgian forces occupied the region. People of both Tutsi and Hutu tribes lived in Rwanda at the time of Belgian occupation. In the past, Tutsis had migrated into this region.

After the World War II, Rwanda was termed as Belgian UN trust territory. The trusteeship status ended till 1961 when Rwanda obtained freedom. During the freedom struggle, Belgium introduced many electoral reforms. Ethnic troubles continued to happen during the freedom struggles.

Year 1959 marked an important and sad year in the ethnic troubles as Tutsi King Kigeri V was exiled into Uganda. The action was one example of the Hutu-Tutsi ethnic violence.

2. Rwandan Genocide of 1994 is the worst human rights crime

In year 1994, between the months of April and July, a grave human rights crime took place in Rwanda. Rwandan Genocide, an incident which took lives of thousands of Rwandans. Most of the victims of the genocide were belonging to the minority ethnic group Tutsi on the hands of Hutus.

One rough comparison of Rwandan Genocide is made with the Nazi Holocaust. The prime motivation behind the genocide was twisted and prejudiced beliefs. Hutu militias later fled to Zaire and took with them around two million refugees of Hutu. Hutu militias were ultimately defeated by Tutsi RPF.

It was until 2003, when Rwandans backed a constitution to end the ethnic violence. Paul Kagame won the elections.

3. Rwandan Civil War happened from 1990 to 1994

The Rwandan Civil war is also linked with the genocide of 1994. It took place between 1990 and 1994. The cause of the war lie back in 1959, when Tutsi monarchy was replaced by Hutu; as a result they had to take refugee in neighbouring country. The civil war was fought between Rwandan Armed Forces and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front. Paul Kagame was one of the leaders of RPF.

United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda played its role as the peace keeper, when in 1993 a peace deal was reached between the two power contenders. However, ultimately until 1994, Hutu continued to gain power and later a planned genocide took place against Tutsi. Reason behind the civil war was the ethnic strife and the years old planted enmity between the two groups.

Civil War of Rwandan and its culmination into a genocide often forces the academics to count it as one of the huge failures of the UN.

4. Paul Kagame is serving third term as President of Rwanda in 2020

The presidential and legislative elections of 2003 gave Paul Kagame a huge role in the constitutional history of Rwanda. He not only won the elections in 2003, but currently runs the country as president in 2020.

The constitutional limit of two consecutive terms as a president was removed through an amendment in 2016 which allowed Paul Kagame to be elected as a president in 2017.

5. Kigali is the capital of Rwanda

As per the data of 2011, Kigali is the largest city and capital of Rwanda. It’s a modern city with vibrant environment. Tourists feel safe in Kigali due to its calm atmosphere. The city offers unique food, unique craft and its own unique culture for the visitors. It is surrounded by hills and beautiful natural sceneries.

According to historical accounts, Kigali was founded by Richard Kandt in 1907. During the German era, merchants made this city popular due to increased economic activity. Even after Belgian control of Rwanda, Kigali serves as the capital of colonial Rwanda.

In 1994, the President of Rwanda (Juvénal Habyarimana) was killed by a rocket in an aircraft near Kigali. The incident followed the deadly Rwandan Genocide.

6. There are two major ethnic groups in Rwanda

Hutu and Tutsi are two major ethnic groups in Rwanda. The third group in minority is Twa. An 84% of the population forms the Hutu group whereas Tutsi group forms the 15% of the population.

Hutu group lives in both Rwanda as well as Burundi. There are approximately 16-17m people belonging to Hutu group in these two regions. All of the above mentioned groups speak the same language Bantu.

Historical accounts suggest that Hutu belonged to a low social order whereas Tutsi formed the aristocracy. The lowest people in the social structure were Twa. The legend and historical myths fail to provide a detail account of class gap between Tutsi and Hutu.

Another explanation accounts for the forced division of Hutu in Burundi and Rwanda due to colonial rule. It’s said that colonial rulers supported the position of Tutsi.

7. Religion Percentage – 49.5% of Rwandans are Protestants

Christianity is the major religion followed in Rwanda. Protestantism has 49.5% of the followers in the population which makes it the largest followed religion in Rwanda. Around 43.7% of the followers are Roman Catholics. Muslims constitute a minority in Rwanda with having a 2% concentration in population. The constitution of Rwanda allows Freedom of Religion; therefore, missionaries operate in the country as they provide developmental aid too.

Some studies and research papers explore the role of religion in the Rwandan Ethnic strife. The research explores the significant role given to Tutsis through a religious perspective as compared with Hutu; progressing a divide between the two groups.

8. Rwanda is an agrarian economy

As of 2018, the growth rate of Rwanda is 8.6%. World Bank has not published the recent figures. Definitely, at the time of composing this list, due to the pandemic the economy is facing the brunt, all over the globe. Rwanda’s economy depends on agriculture produce.

The 2018 figure shows GDP of Rwanda to be $9.5bn. Foreign exchange in Rwanda is earned through minerals, coffee, tea and tourism. The infrastructure whether consisting of transport or electricity is poor in the country which often limits the economic growth of Rwanda. However, in the list of most developed countries in Africa, Rwanda ranks 10th. The Human Development Index of Rwanda is 0.536, whereas it has a good ranking in ease of doing business. Online reforms in Rwanda, i-e use of Information and Technology has contributed much towards development of business activity.

In 1994, Rwandan economy was in doldrums because of the genocide. Many peoples were pushed to the poverty and thousands were displaced.

9. Africa’s First Silicon Valley would be completed in Rwanda

Rwandan Silicon Valley – as we dub it was the $2 bn project which was announced in November 2018. Kigali was chosen as the project site in order to build a technologically inspired US-like Silicon Valley. The project’s cost would be paid by both AfDB and Rwandan government.

They named it as Kigali Innovation City. The government of Rwanda plans to include universities, companies, biotech firms and commercial centres in this area.

10. Rwanda is the first country in the world with Female Majority parliament

From the view point of Feminism and gender parity, Rwanda’s parliament is a good example. 61.3% of the lower house in Rwanda has female parliamentarian. The lower house of Rwanda earned a 64% majority of women in the elections of 2013. This made Rwanda the top country for women in politics. It wasn’t long before in 1990, when women made only 18pc of Rwandan parliament.

However, despite this positive parliament female projection, patriarchy runs deep in Rwandan culture. In their constituencies, people are often not much appreciative of the 64% women gender ratio in parliament as they are found questioning their majority by getting suspicious of their ability to deliver. Further, as some UN published reports suggest, the administrative system is not evolved enough to provide these parliamentarians enough of the working space.

About the author

Wamiq Ali

Programmer, Blogger and an Entrepreneur trying to make this web a better place by making others learn for free.

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