Rwanda is a small east-central African country but with a growing population of over 11 million. It is a country of great beauty, with steep green mountains, deep valleys, lush vegetation and a temperate climate. The population is young and predominately rural, with a density among the highest in Africa.
Rwanda is a mostly Christian country, with roughly 50% of the country Roman Catholic, 30% Protestant, 11% Adventists and 4-5% Islam. Anglican, Baptist and Assembly of God are among the largest Protestant denominations.
The three primary languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French and English. In late 2008, the government announced a major initiative to make English the language of the country, and began to promote its usage in the educational system and in business.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY
Agriculture currently represents about 90% of the economy, with industry services at 10%. Coffee and tea are the major cash export crops, followed by bananas, beans, sorghum and potatoes. Livestock in the country includes cattle, goats and chickens. Tourism is a fast growing sector of the economy. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely and observed.
The country of Rwanda is a republic, and the president, since 2000, is Paul Kagame. In the colonial days of Africa, the area of Rwanda was under the control of Belgium. Rwanda became an independent nation in 1962. Ongoing political and ethnic unrest resulted in increasing violence, culminating in a tragic genocide in the country that began in April 1994. Over a period of of about 100 days, an estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed. In May of 2003, Rwandans voted to approve a new constitution that instituted a balance of political power between Tutsi and Hutu. No party can hold more than half the seats in their Parliament, and the constitution also outlawed the incitement of ethnic/tribal hatred. Major success in programs of reconciliation has occurred, and Rwanda is now one of the most peaceful and stable countries in Africa.