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Rwanda

Rwanda

Summary

One of the most densely populated nations in Africa, Rwanda has a tainted history. The government-organized Rwandan genocide of 1994 left over 800,000 people dead, and the country has slowly been recovering since.1 Poverty, HIV/AIDs, and poor governance still hold Rwanda back from having a higher standard of living, but it has made significant progress to create jobs, educate children, and boost the economy.2 1 https://www.britannica.com/place/Rwanda
2 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rw.html

Demographics

Nationality
Rwandan
Population
12,012,589 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Rwanda Subcases

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Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Some of the primary environmental concerns facing Rwanda are overgrazing, degradation, and erosion of soil. Due to its heavy reliance on the agricultural industry, soil has been largely depleted of nutrients and fertility. Deforestation also presents a threat to the wellbeing of the environment due to wood’s widespread use as a fuel source.1 The Rwanda Environment Management Agency (REMA) is active in promoting environmental concerns and reporting on environmental action in Rwanda. It is one of the only African nations that has been able to adequately prepare itself for the climate change effects of floods and droughts.2

Family

Modern families in Rwanda still grapple with the ramifications of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 1994 genocide.1 Families in Rwanda tend to be large, as the number of children a family contains is considered to be a symbol of wealth and prosperity.The average family has nearly five children.2 Rwanda also has a rampant problem with domestic violence, but the culture highly stigmatizes this which causes nearly all cases to go unreported.3

Human Rights

Historically, Rwanda has had a horrific human rights record, the most notable human rights violation being the 1994 genocide. Freedom of press and political association are also very restricted in Rwanda. Opposition political parties face discrimination, arrests, and unfair trials.1 Furthermore, aid and human rights organizations sometimes experience difficulty registering with the government if they have been critical of the government’s policies.2 Rwanda has received international criticism for its military support of an armed group responsible for serious abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.1

Education

Rwanda has the highest primary school enrollment rate in all of Africa at 96%. Even with this high enrollment rate, there are concerns over the quality of education and duration.1 Only 41% of children continue on to secondary school, and there are large attendance discrepancies between urban and rural areas. Many teachers are not qualified and there is not sufficient infrastructure for students to have individual help.2 The national literacy rate is at 70%.3

Poverty

Nearly 40% of Rwanda’s population live below the poverty line.1 With many people dependent on agriculture, resolutions to the poverty crisis are difficult to formulate and implement without improving the economic outlook.1 At the root of the country’s poverty problem is the lingering effects of the 1994 genocide. This began the cycle of social and economic devastation.2

Religion

Rwanda’s constitution provides for religious freedom, and this is generally enforced. Individuals or institutions that limit another’s ability to practice religion freely are subject to fines and imprisonment of up to five years.1 The population is approximately 49% Roman Catholic, 39% Protestant, 4.5% other Christian, and 1.8% Muslim.2

Clean Water

A mere 71% of Rwanda’s population has access to improved drinking water, and only 61.3% of the population has access to sanitation facilities.1 Compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, this is a very high percentage. Difficulties in water access, particularly where agriculture sustains the majority of the population, is a significant problem and can often trap people in cycles of poverty. Diarrhea from drinking from unclean water sources is one of the leading causes of death for children under 5 years old.2

Economy

Rwanda is largely regarded as an economic development success story because of their structural changes and a good entrepreneurial environment. Government reforms and reconciliation efforts have mitigated the influence of corruption and inspired free market practices.1 Even with these improvements, Rwanda still depends heavily on foreign aid, and governmental weaknesses prevent further private expansion. The unemployment rate is under 5%, but many people still rely on subsistence farming as their job.2

Government

Rwanda is a presidential republic with a multiparty system. Despite largely successful reconciliation efforts, political repression and corruption continue to plague society.1 One of the largest obstacles hindering political progress is the lack of a well-functioning legal system. Although the government has made significant changes towards reforming the judicial system to become fully independent from the executive branch, corruption and favoritism are still a common part of the legal process.2

Health

Over 140,000 adults in Rwanda suffer from HIV/AIDS, and this epidemic has left thousands of children without one or both parents.1 In a nation plagued by poverty, much of the population, particularly children, suffers from malnutrition. Roughly half of Rwandan children experience stunted growth due to malnourishment and approximately 20% are underweight. The life expectancy is 65.2

Children

50% of the country’s population is under the age of 18, and 86% of these children live in rural areas.1 Since the horrific genocide at the end of the twentieth century, Rwanda has made significant strides in reducing the infant and child mortality rates and the overall quality of life for children. Now, only 46 children out of 1,000 children will die before their fifth birthday.2

Animals

The mountain gorilla is the crown jewel of Rwanda and each year this unique animal attracts thousands of tourists. There are other rare animals like zebras, lions, hippopotamuses, buffalo, and warthogs.1 As the human population rapidly increases, some animals are poached more often and their habitats are destroyed.2

Rwanda

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