Country FilesEast & HornCountry Profile: RWANDA


Posted on Friday, 12 November 2010 00:00

Country Profile: RWANDA

This country profile was published in November 2010 in our annual 'Africa in 2011' issue. The next edition, 'Africa in 2012' will be on sale in November 2011.


CountryProfile StatsRwanda

contents :

Country Profile

Top Rwandan Companies

Top Rwandan Banks


A one-man show

President Paul Kagame’s re-election in August to another seven-year term drew unprecedented criticism from inside and outside Rwanda as his political opponents were sidelined and political debate and journalists silenced. Economic growth is slowing and the government faces growing dissent. Its choice is between alleviating pressure with more political freedom or stifling it, risking the ire of the donors who pay half the government’s budget.

Rwanda’s donors have largely been supportive of Kigali’s policy of Singaporean-style development: political authoritarianism and a focus on infrastructure and ?economic performance.?Domestic criticism is easier to stifle than criticism from abroad.
In September, the UN presented evidence that Rwandan forces committed crimes against humanity against Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the late 1990s.

President Joseph Kabila of the DRC and President Kagame reached an understanding about the threat posed by rebels in eastern DRC in 2009, but that has not brought an end to the instability in the region.?A number of arrests in the military hierarchy and the flight into exile of former chief of staff Kayumba Nyamwasa have exposed the fragility of political consensus within the government and ruling party. A series of grenade attacks before the 9 August elections, which gave Kagame 93.1% of the vote, also showed the tensions under the surface.

?Having enjoyed international acclaim for revitalising a broken country, Kagame’s policy of peace through unity and reconciliation suffers from his refusal to prosecute members of the ruling party for crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. Opponents accuse him of applying victor’s justice, and the political climate remains tense as Kagame, who has been president since 2000, remains the sole political force in the country. Under the 2003 constitution, which governed his election that same year, the head of state can only be elected to two terms.

?Internal security minister Sheikh Mussa Fazil Harelimana said in September that term limits were unfair; by the end of the year there was a motion before Parliament to remove them.? Rwanda had an average GDP growth rate of 10% since 2003, but the IMF predicts that growth will fall to 5.4% in 2010 due to the global crisis and lower coffee prices and production. Minerals such as cobalt and coltan overtook coffee and tea as the major foreign-exchange earners in 2008 and 2009, but are now affected by US legislation that requires all minerals from the region to be checked to ensure that they are not from war-torn areas of the DRC.

The government has awarded mining permits to Kivu Gold Rwanda (Canada), Rogi Mining (Russia) and Xiamen Tungsten Corporation (China).?Tea production rose from 20,000tn in 2008 to 24,600tn in 2009, with 28,000tn predicted for 2010, according to the Rwanda Tea Office. Privatisation has led to increased cultivation and the building of new factories. The government’s goal is to grow 35,000tn per year by 2012, with potential earnings of $70m.

Tourism has some promise for economic growth, following the approval of projects such as cruises on Lake Kivu and a cultural village in Kigali, but the potential is in the long term. ?Population and economic growth are exacerbating Rwanda’s energy crisis: the government predicts that the current peak load of 55MW needs to reach at least 130MW by 2015, but few projects are planned to meet the shortfall. The government is preparing some micro-hydroelectric projects, and the dam at Rusumo could generate 60-80MW by 2014, but it will be split between Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.




Rwanda's Top Companies


No Rwandan companies featured in The Africa's Report's Top 500 Companies in Africa 2009.



Rwanda's Top Banks


No Rwandan banks featured in The Africa's Report's Top 200 Banks in Africa 2008.



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