Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The Republic of Rwanda is a unitary state, the administrative division includes 4 provinces (and the capital Kigali), the lower administrative units are districts (30 in total).
Under the 2003 constitution, the president, who is also the head of state, was directly elected for a seven-year term renewable once. In 2015, a constitutional reform was adopted that allowed President P. Kagame/him to run for a third consecutive seven-year term in 2017; the constitutional amendment was approved in a referendum. President Kagame won the 2017 presidential election with 98.79% of the vote.
Rwanda has had a bicameral parliament since 2003. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 80 deputies. Of these, 53 are elected in direct general secret elections using the system of proportional representation, i.e. from candidate lists proposed by political parties, or they may be independent candidates; 24 female MPs are elected by special electoral committees according to the administrative division of the country; 2 MPs are elected by the National Youth Council and 1 MP is elected by the National Council of Persons with Disabilities. The term of office of the Chamber of Deputies is five years. Check cancermatters to learn more about Rwanda political system.
The Senate consists of 26 senators. Of these, 12 senators are elected by special electoral committees according to the administrative division of the country; 8 senators are appointed by the president of the republic in order to ensure the representation of historically marginalized groups of the population; 4 senators are appointed by the National Forum of Political Organizations; 1 senator is elected by teachers and researchers of public universities and higher education institutions; and finally 1 senator is elected by teachers and researchers of private universities and colleges. The term of office of the Senate was shortened from 8 to 5 years as of 2019.
The executive power consists of the president of the republic together with the prime minister and ministers. Rwanda uses a semi-presidential system, the prime minister and ministers are appointed by the president. The president has broad powers that include, in addition to routine political decision-making, the approval of presidential decrees, the negotiation and ratification of international treaties, the command of the armed forces, and the declaration of war or a state of emergency.
The political system is formally based on pluralistic democracy. Opposition parties are allowed, but the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), led by President Paul Kagame, has long been the dominant political party. In the 2018 elections, the coalition led by the RPF won 74% of the vote (a total of 40 mandates in the Chamber of Deputies out of 53 directly elected); the second strongest representation was obtained by the Social Democratic Party (8.8% of votes, 5 mandates).
After his re-election in 2017, the President appointed the independent economist Édouard Ngirente as Prime Minister. The Rwandan government has 19 ministers.
Foreign policy of the country
The main theme of Rwanda’s foreign policy has long been ensuring its own security and the security of the region, and in recent years, regional and pan-African economic and security cooperation has been increasing. As a small landlocked country, Rwanda is vitally dependent on its neighbours. The main trade routes to the Indian Ocean go through either Tanzania or Uganda to Kenya. Apart from Tanzania, relations with all neighbors are negatively affected by the reverberations of the ethnic conflict in 1994 – in these countries there are political and military groups that have not accepted defeat even after years and are trying to make life difficult for the Rwandan government at least as much as possible, when their chances of enforcement of regime change scant. Check prozipcodes for Rwanda defense and foreign policy.
In recent years, relations with Uganda have been marked by a serious crisis that has not yet been resolved despite international mediation. The two states continue to accuse each other of hostilities and espionage, with Rwanda pointing to the Ugandan government’s alleged support for dissident groups aiming to topple Kagame’s regime and the illegal detention of Rwandan citizens; Instead, Kampala blames Rwanda for infiltrating its security forces. In January 2021, just after the Ugandan elections, President Y. Museveni indirectly accused Rwanda of interfering in the internal affairs of the UG and trying to influence the electoral process.
Relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo have improved significantly since the inauguration of President F. Tshisekedi in January 2019, and although long-standing problems with military groups in the east of the DRC have still not been resolved, there have been no recent public recriminations. Rwanda is a strong supporter of DRC’s admission as a member of the East African Community (EAC).
Relations with Burundi have not fundamentally improved even after the sudden death of President P. Nkurunziza in June 2020 and the accession of E. Ndayishimye/ho. The two countries continue to accuse each other of supporting armed opposition groups on their neighbor’s territory, and the two presidents exchange conditions for a possible reconciliation remotely. Some progress was made with the start of the return of Burundian refugees from Rwanda, as well as a personal meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in October 2020.
Tanzania is the only neighboring country with which Rwanda does not have political or security problems. The cooperation is mainly concentrated in the economic and business area. 80% of goods are imported into Rwanda through the port of Dar es Salaam. After the crisis between RW and UG broke out, Rwanda became more interested in the possibility of redirecting most of the trade through Tanzania and in particular the project of a standard gauge railway from the port of Dar es Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria with an extension to Kigali and possibly further to the DRC.
Of the world powers, the most important for Rwanda is undoubtedly the USA, which has supported Kagame since his political beginnings and was one of the main sponsors of the revived state after the RPF came to power.
Even in relation to China, Kagame tries to maintain a pragmatic line and not slip into excessive dependence or, on the contrary, a general rejection of everything Chinese.
Relations with France were marked for a long time by the events of 1994. They saw a significant improvement only after the accession of President E. Macron. During Kagame’s visit to Paris in May 2018, Macron promised to launch an initiative to clarify France’s role during the genocide, a process that culminated in Macron’s visit to Rwanda in May 2021, where he symbolically asked for forgiveness.
The main multilateral priorities of RW include cooperation within the framework of the African Union and the East African Community. RW is one of the biggest promoters of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which officially entered into force on January 1, 2021.
Density per km2: 420 inhabitants.
Share of economically active population: 87%
Average annual population growth: 2.63%
Demographic composition: 48% men 52% women
Ethnic composition Hutu 84% Tutsi 15% Twa 1%
Religious composition 49.5% Catholics 39.4 Protestants 5% Muslims