- Kigali; 656,000
- 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles)
- Kinyarwanda, French, English, Kiswahili
- Roman Catholic, Protestant, Adventist, Muslim
- Rwandan franc
- Life Expectancy:
- GDP per Capita:
- U.S. $1,200
- Literacy Percent:
Rwanda Facts Flag
Rwanda, just south of the Equator in central Africa, is a mountainous land. This tiny, landlocked country—the continent's most densely populated—gained independence from Belgium in 1962. Conflict and civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis have marked the country's history. In 1994 the genocide of some 800,000 Tutsis by Hutus occurred before Tutsi forces could gain control of Rwanda. Hutu militias fled Rwanda and continued to attack Tutsis from Zaire until Rwandan forces invaded Zaire in 1997—where they remained until 2002, when the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) agreed to help disarm Hutu gunmen.
In 2003, Rwanda's first election in a decade installed Paul Kagame as president. Later that year, multiparty parliamentary elections consolidated Kagame's power, but observers declared voting was marred by irregularities and fraud. In November 2007, Rwanda signed a peace deal with the Democratic Republic of Congo in which the DRC agreed to hand over refugees suspected of involvement in the 1994 genocide.
- Industry: Cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap
- Agriculture: Coffee, tea, pyrethrum, bananas; livestock
- Exports: Coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
National Geographic Traveler presents the New Year's must-see places. From Argentina to Oz, this list reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable-minded, and of course superlative in the world of travel today.
It's time to start planning your adventures for 2012. Here are Traveler magazine's 20 best places in the world to visit, including Virunga Volcanoes.
Beyond the game drive, here are new ways to experience the classic trip.
Travel Photos From Your Shot
Browse Stunning Images of These Natural Marvels
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.