Rwanda, in long form the Republic of Rwanda nicknamed the “country of a thousand hills”, is a country in East Africa. Rwanda extends its 26,338 km2 in the Great Lakes region. It shares borders with, to the north, Uganda, to the east, Tanzania, to the south, Burundi, and to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its capital Kigali is located in the center of the country. Rwandans speak Kinyarwanda and live in the hills which constitute the reference location for habitats. The history of the country is marked by the genocide of the Tutsis perpetrated between April and July 1994. Rwanda has been a member of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), since June 2007, the East African Community, the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) , and since November 29, 2009 of the Commonwealth. In French, the spellings Ruanda and Rouanda were also used before independence in 1962 to designate the country.
Rwanda is a country which has existed for a millennium, in 1091, King Gihanga became the first sovereign of the country, and since then, his descendants of Tutsi ethnicity have reigned over Rwanda. The pre-colonial Rwandan population was structured into about twenty clans made up of breeders, the Tutsi; farmers, the majority Hutus; and craftsmen, the Twa. The Twa come from the Pygmy populations who originally inhabited Rwanda. The clan was the identity reference for each Rwandan. Each clan had a chief named mwami from a patriarchal lineage. One of the clans, ruled by a Tutsi lineage, dominated the region and his mwami was considered the king of Rwanda. The populations spoke the same language, Kinyarwanda, shared the same religion, could sometimes marry each other and could pass from one caste to another by a favor of the mwami comparable to ennobling. The application of the concept of ethnicity to these populations is questionable. This clientelist system, sometimes described as feudal, was based on the possession of herds or land. This structure was embodied by a cattle chief, a land chief, and a military chief.
The history taught during the Belgian tutelage describes the majority Hutu as farmers of Bantu origin, while the Tutsi would be a pastoral people arrived in the region in the 15th century from the Ethiopian highlands, of a Nilo-Hamitic DNA but DNA research refutes this colonizing theory and places their arrival around the ninth century. The Twa are said to be descendants of the Pygmies, the first inhabitants of the region. These theories are now strongly challenged. Today we tend to consider that the Belgian colonizers of the 1920s, neglecting clan references, interpreted the socio-professional structure of the population in an ethnic way, also under the influence of the organization inherited from previous colonizers, the Germans , and thus applied a policy formally supported by the League of Nations which had entrusted Belgium with the supervision of Ruanda-Urundi.
The Tutsi, erected by the colonizer as a dominant caste, were increasingly denounced by the Hutu majority from the 1950s. In a text published on March 24, 1957, the Bahutu Manifesto, nine Hutu intellectuals denounced the “exploitation” of which the Hutu were victims. The claim for independence of the Tutsi encouraged the Belgians to overturn their alliance in favor of the Hutu. In November 1959, a civil war broke out which led to the exile of 300,000 Tutsi. The Hutu majority took power, with the support of the colonial authorities and the Catholic Church.
The first republic was proclaimed on January 28, 1961 and Grégoire Kayibanda, a Hutu, assumed the presidency of the Republic on October 26, 1961. The UN set July 1, 1962 as the date of independence for Rwanda. The transfer of powers and the evacuation of Belgian troops took place on August 1, 1962. The new regime faced attacks by Tutsi exiles, which were the pretext for violent repressions on Tutsi from the interior, particularly in December 1963 when several thousand of Tutsis are massacred. To maintain political unity, Grégoire Kayibanda instrumentalizes the mass killings of which the Hutu in Burundi were victims in 1972, he justifies the fear of a threat from the Rwandan Tutsi. The Tutsi, pupils and teachers, are systematically expelled from education, some massacred in educational establishments. These events cause a new wave of Tutsi exodus. Exploiting these events, Juvénal Habyarimana overthrew Grégoire Kayibanda in July 1973, then founded a party in 1975, the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND). The same year, French President Giscard d’Estaing signed a special Military Assistance Agreement with the Rwandan government. Between 1987 and 1994, regular deliveries of military equipment to Rwanda were made by France. In 1978, Habyarimana changed the Constitution and adopted a one-party regime, the MRND, of which all Rwandans are ex-officio members.
Tutsi exiles organize in Uganda and create the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1987. In August 1988 in Burundi, a border country in the south of Rwanda, a week-long ethnic war between Hutus and Tutsis causes the death of 60,000 victims. almost all Hutus. On October 1, 1990, coming from Uganda, the RPF entered in force in the north of Rwanda, thus starting the Rwandan civil war. France, from October 4, 1990, Zaire and Belgium intervened briefly to help evacuate Westerners. Eight to ten thousand Tutsi were imprisoned in October 1990. In disagreement with this policy, Belgium then repatriated its troops from Rwanda. French military support was maintained under the name Operation Noroît until the establishment of UN troops (UNAMIR commanded by General Dallaire) in December 1993. Minister for Cooperation Robert Galley will testify that the French army been used to stop the advance of the RPF. The official number of French soldiers participating in Noroît will reach 688 people. On October 15, 1990, the French Ambassador to Rwanda, Georges Martres, addressed a telegram to the Chief of General Staff of President Mitterrand, in which he mentioned the risk of genocide against the Tutsi. Despite this warning, the French government will continue to help the Habyarimana regime. Various Tutsi groups are executed by Hutu “extremists”. The Rwandan army massacres 1,000 Bahimas (related to Tutsi) in Mutara, and about a thousand from Bagogwe (related to Tutsi) in north-west Rwanda, including 348 Tutsi in the Kibilira region. From its rear bases established in Uganda and with the support of diverted equipment from the Ugandan army, the RPF will gradually establish a bridgehead in the north of Rwanda where fighting will continue until 1994. These are the cause of a large displacements towards the capital of the Hutu population fleeing the fighting and the abuses attributed to the RPF in the ever larger area it occupies in the north of the country.
Following François Mitterrand’s La Baule speech, Juvénal Habyarimana changed the Constitution in 1991 to return to multiparty politics. Under pressure from the international community, the successive agreements of Arusha, negotiated in Tanzania with the RPF and closed in August 1993, provide, after a cease-fire, for the organization of the return of Tutsi exiles, political integration and military of the various internal and external components of the Rwandan nation and the departure of the French soldiers from Operation Noroît in December 1993. UNAMIR, the UN peace mission, will be set up in December 1993 to help achieve this. of these agreements. At the same time, the entourage of Juvénal Habyarimana and his wife Agathe, who also controlled the army and the economy of the country, created in 1992 the Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), the Interahamwe militias and the Free Radio and Television Thousand Hills (RTLM) which will be the main organs of the 1994 genocide and will qualify as Hutu Power. Rwandan government media will play a significant role in anti-Tutsi propaganda before and during the genocide. RTLM called for the murder of Tutsi in 1992. Belgian ambassador Johan Swinnen reported in Brussels that RTLM was broadcasting these calls for the extermination of Tutsi. The Rwandan newspaper Kangura, another organ of the “hate media”, published on December 10, 1990 the “Ten Commandments of the Hutu”, a racist text which called for hatred against Tutsi. During the period 1990-1993, political assassinations, the massacres of certain Tutsi populations by government forces will be considered by an international commission of inquiry conducted in 1993 as the beginnings of genocide.
On the evening of April 6, 1994, the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, the Rwandan chief of staff and a dozen other personalities, died, with the crew of three Frenchmen, in an attack targeting the Rwandan presidential plane. The next day, the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and other Hutu democratic political figures are assassinated. Ten Belgian soldiers from the United Nations Mission (UNAMIR), who were responsible for the protection of Ms. Uwilingiyimana and who were arrested by the presidential guard, are shortly after murdered. At the same time, the genocide of the Tutsi began in several provinces of the country. The death of President Habyarimana is therefore considered to be the initial fact of the Rwandan genocide. The Rwandan interim government, formed a few days later under the aegis of the French Embassy in Kigali, led the genocide inside the country and the war against the army of the RPF, the Rwandan Patriotic Front mainly consisting of exiles Tutsi. Rwandans are also victims of this civil war between the government FAR and the APR. Finally, Hutu, executed without trial as genocidaires, and sometimes their families, are victims of reprisals by RPF soldiers.
The interim government is chaired by Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, who pleaded guilty before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 for the crime of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crime against humanity. The “brain” of the genocide, according to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and many observers, is Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2011, member of Akazu, a “small house” in Kinyarwanda gravitating around the Habyarimana family, thus designating the hard core which, according to many Rwandan witnesses, inspired this genocide. At least 800,000 Tutsi and Hutu Democrats were massacred according to the UN, more than a million according to the Rwandan authorities and even more according to certain authors, who point out that the declaration of civil status at birth was not compulsory in Rwanda. This genocide was one of the four genocides of the twentieth century recognized by international institutions. Following President Paul Kagame’s visit to the Vatican on March 20, 2017, Pope Francis begs God’s Pardon for the role of the Church in the genocide of the Tutsi.
Pastor Bizimungu resigned in 2000. Paul Kagame was elected President of the Republic by the National Assembly. Rwanda has to face a need for justice that clogs the courts and leads to the rehabilitation of traditional justice, Gacaca. Furthermore, the country’s march towards democracy is difficult. In 2002, the former president of the Republic Pastor Bizimungu, was arrested and put in prison. The Republican Democratic Movement is dissolved by the deputies. Law No. 33 bis / 2003 was enacted on 06/09/2003 and punishes the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, this law is not limited to repressing acts of denial of the genocide but is also used to suppress critical spirits (willingly qualified as “divisionists”), to control the press or the opposition. In particular, the terms of this law relating to the offense of “sectarianism” or “divisionism” are too vague, which makes it possible to prosecute several opponents of the regime by accusing them of wanting to recreate a division between Hutu and Tutsi, while any distinction between these two categories of population is now prohibited in civic or political matters.
2003 electoral consultations The constitution adopted by referendum – May 26, 2003 Presidential election by universal suffrage – August 25, 2003 Paul Kagame is elected President of the Republic. Legislative elections by universal suffrage – October 2, 2003 The deputies favorable to Paul Kagame obtain the majority of the seats. 49% of the deputies are women, as well as a very high proportion of senators and ministers, which makes Rwanda the country with the highest participation of women in political power in the world.
Rwanda sends Rwandan peacekeepers to Darfur. A Rwandan has responsibilities within the African Union. Rwanda is trying to interest other nations in solving the problem posed by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Minister of Economy of Rwanda, Donald Kaberuka, became President of the African Development Bank in 2005. Rwanda is one of the countries which benefited from a significant debt forgiveness in July 2005 by the G8. Rwanda benefits from a favorable current within international diplomacy which is due to the observation of good governance of the Rwandan State: the money of the donors is used optimally for the benefit of the programs concerned; open fight against embezzlement and public property and against corruption. The Gacaca enter their operational phase in January 2005. Little by little, Rwandans realize that they must fear this reorganized popular justice and six thousand of them flee to Burundi from where they are sent back to Rwanda, by having vainly tried to pit the international community and the NGOs on their fate.
At the end of November 2006, the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguière launched international arrest warrants against 9 relatives of President Kagame whom he suspected of being involved in the destruction of the presidential plane in 1994, this judge being charged of the file concerning the death of the French crew which piloted the apparatus. In response, the Rwandan government broke off diplomatic relations with France, expelled Dominique Decherf, the French ambassador to Kigali, as well as all diplomatic staff and 25,000 people demonstrating against the French government in the African capital. On April 6, 2007 the former president of the Republic Pastor Bizimungu was pardoned by Paul Kagame and left prison.
On November 29, 2009, following a meeting in Kigali between the Secretary General of the French Presidency, Claude Guéant, and Paul Kagame, the two countries decided to renew the diplomatic relations that had been broken for three years. This event follows a gradual improvement in the situation, with an acceleration since mid-November 2009, when two French judges went to Rwanda to investigate the case of people suspected of being responsible for the genocide refugees in France ( these include the cases of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, but also the case of the widow of the former president, Agathe Habyarimana). This renewal of relations between France and Rwanda comes only a few hours after the accession of Rwanda to the Commonwealth, when, since the Belgian supervision, Rwanda belonged to the French-speaking nations. In 2010, Paul Kagame was re-elected president of the Republic. In October 2015, he had the assembly adopt a revision of the constitution, approved two months later by referendum. This revision allows him to serve more than two presidential terms. He was re-elected to this function in 2017. Under the Kagame presidency, Rwanda experienced a remarkable economic boom, but at the cost of limiting press freedom and oppressing political opponents, many of them being victims of disappearances, assassinations (such as Patrick Karegeya or Jean-Léonard Rugambage) or attempted assassinations (such as Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa). Relations with neighboring countries are peaceful. In 2019, an agreement was signed with Uganda after a long period of tension, but the improvement of relations was slow. Rwanda is also approaching the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose military forces killed, in 2019, Sylvestre Mudacumura, head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Rwanda is a presidential-type republic. The President is elected by universal suffrage; the Parliament of Rwanda is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The political parties, independently of their usual activities, meet in a Concertation Forum, whose decisions are taken by consensus. The judiciary is made up of the Supreme Court, the High Court of the Republic, Provincial Courts, District and City Courts, and specialized courts: Gacaca (traditional village justice), soldiers, etc. Rwanda’s policy is strongly imbued with the consequences of the 1994 Tutsi genocide, the context of underdevelopment, and the instability of the Africa of the Great Lakes (Burundi, Uganda, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo). On June 8, 2007, the National Assembly of Rwanda abolished the death penalty for all types of convicted. This measure came into force on July 25, 2007, and will have the direct effect of seeing 600 death row inmates having their sentence converted to life imprisonment. The abolition of the death penalty was one of the requirements of the international community for the judicial proceedings against the genocidaires whose case is dealt with by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to be transferred to national jurisdiction. Rwandan in anticipation of the dissolution of the ICTR in 2008. The Portuguese Presidency of the European Union hailed the abolition of the death penalty as “a fundamental step towards the promotion of human rights and reflects the unshakable determination of ensuring justice and reconciliation in Rwanda 13 years after the genocide. The Parliament of Rwanda became, in 2008, the first in the world to display a majority of women (in 2016, 64% of deputies). In 2015, Rwanda was in 6th position in the world for gender equality, according to the report of the “Global Gender Gap Report”.
The economy of Rwanda is mainly marked by its strong dependence on agriculture (40% of the GDP, 87% of the national activity, the arable lands represent 45.6% of the surface of the country), an annual growth of more by 6%, development of services, low industrialization and a very high population density (> 400 inhabitants / km2). Inflation is around 4%, and if GDP per capita is around € 200 per year, the average annual PPP GDP (weighted by purchasing power) per capita is $ 945. Its human development index was 0.460 in 2007 and the change in this index compared to the previous year is +0.005. In December 2004, one euro was worth 740 Rwandan francs; in July 2014, one euro was worth 994 Rwandan francs, a modest monetary erosion compared to the euro over eleven years. There is no longer any “black” exchange, the government has structured the profession, after having imprisoned some recalcitrants. An economist in an administration can receive 100,000 francs per month, or 135 euros. A university lecturer can earn around 175,000 francs a month, or 235 euros. Administrative salaries are effectively paid. In Kigali, a driver for a day requests 5,000 francs, or 6.76 euros. An individual taxi ride for around 5 km in Kigali costs 2,000 francs, or 2.70 euros, a men’s haircut at the hairdresser around 700 francs, an hour of internet in a cyber center 500 francs, a brick of half a liter of UHT milk 450 francs, a 33 cl bottle of spring water 250 francs, a skewer of goat cheese and fries around 600 francs (variable), one hour of parking in the center of Kigali 100 francs.
Rwanda has some mineral resources, such as tin, columbo-tantalite (niobium and tantalum ore, often called coltan), gold, tungsten and beryl. Apart from the issue of running water, which is lacking for many, one of the major problems of Rwanda is that of energy. In 2005, less than 4% of Rwandans were connected to the electricity network (30% in 2018), and this network is far from covering the needs of its subscribers who suffer frequent and long outages. The possibilities for local development of energy production are subject to agreements with neighboring countries, in a region marked by great political instability which plagues possible projects. The building sector is doing well. Kigali has grown in twenty years from a few tens of thousands of inhabitants to almost a million. The government has a global perspective qualified under the name of “Vision 2020”. This master plan expects growth of 7%, development of the private sector, modernization of agriculture and wants to make Rwanda a regional service center for Africa of the Great Lakes.
The Rwandan government has approached the initiators of the NEPAD project and shares their vision. Since 2001, Rwanda has constantly reformed its trade laws and institutions. In 2008, Rwanda introduced a new company law that simplifies business creation and strengthens protections for minority shareholders. Entrepreneurs can now start a business in two procedures and three days. Transactions between parties are subject to more stringent approval and disclosure requirements. The legal provisions governing the liability of company directors in the event of harmful transactions between the parties concerned have also been strengthened. Rwanda has improved its regulations to facilitate access to credit through the adoption of two new laws. The new security law facilitates secured loans by allowing a wider range of assets to be used as bank collateral. The law also allows extra-judicial collateral security arrangements for secured creditors and gives them absolute priority in bankruptcy. The adoption of the new insolvency law in Rwanda has simplified the reorganization procedures. The reforms also included measures to speed up cross-border trade and the registration of land holdings. Delays at borders have been reduced thanks to longer opening hours and simpler documentation requirements. The reforms removed bottlenecks that existed in the property register and the Revenue Authority, reducing the time required to register a property by 255 days.
This allowed, for the first time in a sub-Saharan African country, Rwanda, to lead in the reforms according to the report of the world bank “Doing Business 2010” and to make a giant leap (76 places ) in the general classification by rising to 67th place out of 183 countries evaluated; he was ranked 143rd the year before. In 2015, it moved to 3rd place on the African continent. GDP by sector: agriculture: 42.6%; industries: 22.2%; services: 35.2%. Main export partners: Kenya: 30.1%; China: 9.1%; Thailand: 8.6%; Germany: 7.3%; United States: 4.5%; Belgium: 4.1%.
Rwanda’s inflation: 5.5% (2011) In 2011, the amount of exports was 293 million dollars, while this amount of imports amounted to 1.307 billion dollars. Rwanda is now one of the safest and most stable countries in this part of Africa. The roads are paved, the landscape is tidy, and the government has launched an ambitious campaign to preserve the little remaining forest in Rwanda. In 2008, before Paul Kagame’s re-election, hundreds of thousands of hectares belonging to wealthy landowners in the country’s eastern province were bluntly redistributed to citizens – although the president and some of his influential friends still own immense properties. Rwanda is, since 2012, considered one of the good students of the continent, posting an economic growth of 8%.
On January 1, 2016, Rwanda stood out in particular for the following performances: – it occupies 1st place in terms of Human Development Progress over the last 20 years, according to the latest United Nations report (December 14, 2015); – the “World Economic Forum”, in its latest report on good global governance, estimates that Rwanda is the 7th best managed country on the planet. Beyond these international recognitions, Rwanda has succeeded in the difficult gamble of national reconciliation when it was the victim of a genocide which still strikes every family. In addition, Rwandans benefit, in addition to social security, paid maternity leave, modern medical infrastructure, an anti-corruption fight in constant progression, absolute security throughout the country, ” greater cleanliness than most European cities, more than 90% paved and maintained road network, 4G Internet network and fiber optics, etc. With a high fertility rate, 5 children per woman, the demographic pressure turns into a handicap: to deforestation is added soil erosion caused by intensive agriculture. Many pilot projects of German and Belgian cooperation, in particular, help the country in terms of agroforestry.
Thanks to its dynamic peasantry, Rwanda was sixth on the list of African tea producers at the beginning of the decade 2010, dominated by Kenya. Tourism is growing: in 2011, there were 723,000 entries to the territory recorded (up 3% compared to 2010), and this figure rose to 932,000 in 2016, notably due to the positioning on ecotourism, encouraged by the authorities.
In recent years, Rwanda has been waging war on non-recyclable bags. Long before European regulations, Rwanda hunted for plastic and polyethylene bags. The importation, sale and use of these non-recyclable bags is prohibited and any offender faces a fine and prison sentence (up to one year). Merchants violating this rule also owe a public apology. In order to combat plastic waste, a real scourge on the African continent, the country also plans to extend this ban to reusable plastic bottles and bags. The country also constitutes a “model” in terms of cleanliness, like its capital Kigali considered as the cleanest city on the African continent, and recognized as such by UN Habitat which awarded it this distinction for the third consecutive year in 2016. These results were obtained thanks to the involvement of its inhabitants in the framework in particular of “Umuganda”, day of community works of general interest, compulsory, organized every last Saturday of the month, to which no absence is justified. is not tolerated under penalty of a fine of up to approximately 5 euros. Umuganda, which is part of the ancient Rwandan culture of mutual aid, was institutionalized in February 1974 by former President Juvénal Habyarimana.
Rwanda is the most densely populated country in mainland Africa (430 inhabitants per km2 of arable land). According to the World Refugee Survey 2008 published by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Rwanda was home to approximately 54,200 refugees and asylum seekers in 2007, including 51,300 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa), more than 2,900 from Burundi, and some from other countries. In 2001, the population living below the poverty line was estimated at 60%. In this densely populated country, of which four fifths of the population depend on agriculture, the rapid increase in population can lead to overpopulation, a factor of conflict in several African countries. In 2014, when three out of five inhabitants are under 25 and the average age of the population is 19, there is hardly any fallow land. With the still high birth rate, the United Nations predicts that in the absence of a significant increase in emigration, density will double by 2050. The country must already import food.
Between 2000 and 2007, the government spent 19% of its budget on education. In 2011, the literacy rate of the population aged 15 and over was 70.4%. Women aged 15 and over are literate at 64.7% and men at 76.3%. Education is compulsory until the age of 18. Since 2000, universities and university faculties have multiplied, mainly in Kigali, like the African Leadership University. Several belong to the private sector, in association with Anglo-Saxon foreign universities. Since 2010, public education has been provided exclusively in English, which has caused some criticism. Access to education increased from 7.5 to 96%.
Kinyarwanda is the language spoken by the vast majority of the population, in 2002 it was the language spoken by 99% of the population. French and Kinyarwanda have been the official languages of Rwanda since the Belgian presence at the beginning of the 20th century. President Juvenal Habyarimana had eliminated the teaching of French in primary schools, but it was restored after the genocide of the Tutsi by the government of national unity. Nevertheless, the tense relations between the new government and France since the genocide of 1994, the return of many Tutsi who grew up in Uganda (whose English is the official language with Swahili) as well as the alignment of the country with the United States, lead the government to want to replace French with English. English then became an official language in 2003 alongside Kinyarwanda and French.
Gulf Airline Qatar Airways is reportedly in talks to buy a 49% stake in Rwanda’s state carrier, RwandAir, reported Reuters.…