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Country Facts

Geography

Rwanda's Location: Central Africa, 2 00 S, 30 00 E. Uganda is to the north, Tanzania to the East, Burundi to the south and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west

Land area: 26,340 square kilometres: water covers 1,390 sq km and land covers 24,948 sq km

Capital city: Kigali

Rainfall: Rainy seasons: March-May and October-November (Average of 110-200 mm. Per month)

Average temperature: 24.6 – 27.6ºc. Hottest months: August, September

Altitude: Ranges from 950-4500m above sea level

Main water bodies: Lake Kivu, Lake Muhazi, Lake Ihema, Lake Bulera, Lake Ruhondo, Lake Mugesera

Vegetation: Ranges from high altitude rain forest in the north-west and south-west of the country to savannah in the east

National parks/animal reserves: Akagera National Park and Virunga Volcanoes National Park

Highest point: Karisimbi mountain volcano, 4,507m

Lowest point: Rusizi River, 950 m

Provinces and Districts:Rwanda is divided into twelve (12) Provinces and one hundred and six (106) Districts

 

The People

Population: 8.128 million, (4.249m female, 3.879m male) (Source: National Census, 2002)

Main Faiths:Roman Catholic 56.5%, Episcopal 26%, Adventist 11.1%, Muslim 4.6%

Langauges: Kinyarwanda (official), French (official), English (official); Kiswahili used only in commercial centers

 

Governance

Rwanda is a republic with a democratic and multi-party system of government, headed by a President. All regions, communities and religions are represented in the Government. Women are required by law to be represented at all levels of government, including the cabinet, the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and the civil service. The new constitution as the backbone of the new governance structures and procedures, which underline national inclusiveness and address the core principles democracy and good governance

The executive arm of the State is headed by the President. The President is the Head of State. He also heads the cabinet. The cabinet is the body of ministers responsible for the conduct of national affairs. Ministers are appointed by the President upon consultation with leaders of political parties.

Presidential elections are held every seven years. The last elections were held in August 2003. The election results were:

Paul KAGAME (RPF) 95.05%;

Faustin TWAGIRAMUNGU 3.62%;

Jean-Nepomuscene NAYINZIRA 1.33%

The Legislature comprises two houses of parliament; The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

History of Rwanda

2000 March - President Pasteur Bizimungu resigns from office.

April - Paul Kagame is sworn in as the fifth President of Rwanda.

2001 March – Decentralisation process reaches completion. Elections take place at the District level; District and municipality Mayors, District and Municipality Councils and Executive Councils are elected for the first time in the nation’s history.

2003 May – A draft new constitution is voted on by the people of Rwanda in a referendum, receiving 93% endorsement. The constitution is promulgated. This is the first time the people of Rwanda have the opportunity to draft their own constitution and to vote on it in a referendum.

August – Presidential elections result in a landslide victory for Paul Kagame, who receives over 95.5% percent of the vote. The elections are conducted on the principal of universal adult suffrage.

September – Elections take place for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

2004 January – Rwanda hosts the first forum of Heads of State and Government on the African Peer Review Mechanism under the framework of NEPAD.