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Democratic Republic of the Congo vs. Rwanda

Introduction

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
BackgroundEstablished as an official Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. KABILA renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006.
In 2009, following a resurgence of conflict in the eastern DRC, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a primarily Tutsi rebel group. An attempt to integrate CNDP members into the Congolese military failed, prompting their defection in 2012 and the formation of the M23 armed group - named after the 23 March 2009 peace agreements. Renewed conflict led to large population displacements and significant human rights abuses before the M23 was pushed out of DRC to Uganda and Rwanda in late 2013 by a joint DRC and UN offensive. In addition, the DRC continues to experience violence committed by other armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Allied Democratic Forces, and assorted Mai Mai militias. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency. The DRC Constitution bars President KABILA from running for a third term, but the DRC Government has delayed national elections originally slated for November 2016. The failure to hold elections as scheduled has fueled sporadic street protests by KABILA’s opponents. In late December 2016, government officials and opposition leaders struck a last-minute deal that will require KABILA to step down after elections to be held by the end of 2017.
In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in a state-orchestrated genocide, in which Rwandans killed up to a million of their fellow citizens, including approximately three-quarters of the Tutsi population. The genocide ended later that same year when the predominantly Tutsi RPF, operating out of Uganda and northern Rwanda, defeated the national army and Hutu militias, and established an RPF-led government of national unity. Approximately 2 million Hutu refugees - many fearing Tutsi retribution - fled to neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and former Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF did in 1990. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda in 2009 staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in DRC to rout out the Hutu extremist insurgency there, and Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009 and assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

Geography

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
LocationCentral Africa, northeast of Angola
Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi
Geographic coordinates0 00 N, 25 00 E
2 00 S, 30 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 2,344,858 sq km
land: 2,267,048 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km
total: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 10,481 km
border countries (9): Angola 2,646 km (of which 225 km is the boundary of Angola's discontiguous Cabinda Province), Burundi 236 km, Central African Republic 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Rwanda 221 km, South Sudan 714 km, Tanzania 479 km, Uganda 877 km, Zambia 2,332 km
total: 930 km
border countries (4): Burundi 315 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 221 km, Tanzania 222 km, Uganda 172 km
Coastline37 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: since 2011 the DRC has a Common Interest Zone agreement with Angola for the mutual development of off-shore resources
none (landlocked)
Climatetropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October)
temperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
Terrainvast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 726 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
mean elevation: 1,598 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m
Natural resourcescobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 11.4%
arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 8%
forest: 67.9%
other: 20.7% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 74.5%
arable land 47%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 17.4%
forest: 18%
other: 7.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land110 sq km (2012)
96 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsperiodic droughts in south; Congo River floods (seasonal); active volcanoes in the east along the Great Rift Valley
volcanism: Nyiragongo (elev. 3,470 m), which erupted in 2002 and is experiencing ongoing activity, poses a major threat to the city of Goma, home to a quarter million people; the volcano produces unusually fast-moving lava, known to travel up to 100 km /hr; Nyiragongo has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; its neighbor, Nyamuragira, which erupted in 2010, is Africa's most active volcano; Visoke is the only other historically active volcano
periodic droughts; the volcanic Virunga Mountains are in the northwest along the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo
volcanism: Visoke (elev. 3,711 m), located on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the country's only historically active volcano
Environment - current issuespoaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; soil erosion; mining (diamonds, gold, coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors for electronic devices) causing environmental damage
deforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - notesecond largest country in Africa (after Algeria) and largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa; straddles the equator; has narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands
landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural

Demographics

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Population81,331,050
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
12,988,423
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 42.2% (male 17,300,707/female 17,024,082)
15-24 years: 21.44% (male 8,747,038/female 8,694,000)
25-54 years: 30.13% (male 12,227,971/female 12,273,304)
55-64 years: 3.58% (male 1,374,050/female 1,535,973)
65 years and over: 2.65% (male 910,456/female 1,243,469) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 41.53% (male 2,719,248/female 2,674,688)
15-24 years: 18.87% (male 1,226,141/female 1,225,009)
25-54 years: 32.93% (male 2,142,936/female 2,134,064)
55-64 years: 4.09% (male 249,447/female 282,225)
65 years and over: 2.58% (male 138,834/female 195,831) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.4 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
total: 19 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19.2 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.42% (2016 est.)
2.53% (2016 est.)
Birth rate34.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
33.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
8.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 69.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 73.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 56.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 57.3 years
male: 55.8 years
female: 58.9 years (2016 est.)
total population: 60.1 years
male: 58.5 years
female: 61.7 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.53 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.46 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.85% (2015 est.)
2.89% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
noun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
Ethnic groupsover 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
Hutu (Bantu), Tutsi (Hamitic), Twa (Pygmy)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS374,100 (2015 est.)
201,900 (2015 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
Roman Catholic 49.5%, Protestant 39.4% (includes Adventist 12.2% and other Protestant 27.2%), other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 1.8%, animist 0.1%, other 0.6%, none 3.6% (2001), unspecified 0.5% (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths21,700 (2015 est.)
2,900 (2015 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Kinyarwanda only (official, universal Bantu vernacular) 93.2%, Kinyarwanda and other language(s) 6.2%, French (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, English (official) and other language(s) 0.1%, Swahili (or Kiswahili, used in commercial centers) 0.02%, other 0.03%, unspecified 0.3% (2002 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 63.8%
male: 78.1%
female: 50% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.5%
male: 73.2%
female: 68% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and trypanosomiasis-gambiense (African sleeping sickness)
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2013)
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2013)
Education expenditures2.2% of GDP (2013)
5% of GDP (2013)
Urbanizationurban population: 42.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 28.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 6.43% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 81.1% of population
rural: 31.2% of population
total: 52.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 18.9% of population
rural: 68.8% of population
total: 47.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 86.6% of population
rural: 71.9% of population
total: 76.1% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13.4% of population
rural: 28.1% of population
total: 23.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 28.5% of population
rural: 28.7% of population
total: 28.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 71.5% of population
rural: 71.3% of population
total: 71.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 58.5% of population
rural: 62.9% of population
total: 61.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 41.5% of population
rural: 37.1% of population
total: 38.4% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationKINSHASA (capital) 11.587 million; Lubumbashi 2.015 million; Mbuji-Mayi 2.007 million; Kananga 1.169 million; Kisangani 1.04 million; Bukavu 832,000 (2015)
KIGALI (capital) 1.257 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate693 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
290 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight23.4% (2014)
11.7% (2011)
Health expenditures4.3% of GDP (2014)
7.5% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density0.8 beds/1,000 population (2006)
1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate3.7% (2014)
3.3% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth19.9 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013/14 est.)
23 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014/15 est.)
Demographic profileDespite a wealth of fertile soil, hydroelectric power potential, and mineral resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) struggles with many socioeconomic problems, including high infant and maternal mortality rates, malnutrition, poor vaccination coverage, lack of access to improved water sources and sanitation, and frequent and early fertility. Ongoing conflict, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of investment have resulted in food insecurity; almost 30 percent of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. The overall coverage of basic public services – education, health, sanitation, and potable water – is very limited and piecemeal, with substantial regional and rural/urban disparities. Fertility remains high at almost 5 children per woman and is likely to remain high because of the low use of contraception and the cultural preference for larger families.
The DRC is a source and host country for refugees. Between 2012 and 2014, more than 119,000 Congolese refugees returned from the Republic of Congo to the relative stability of northwest DRC, but more than 540,000 Congolese refugees remained abroad as of year-end 2015. In addition, more than 1.7 million Congolese are internally displaced, the vast majority fleeing violence in the DRC’s eastern provinces between rebel group and Congolese armed forces. Thousands of refugees have come to the DRC from neighboring countries, including Rwanda, the Central African Republic, and Burundi.
Rwanda’s fertility rate declined sharply during the last decade, as a result of the government’s commitment to family planning, the increased use of contraceptives, and a downward trend in ideal family size. Increases in educational attainment, particularly among girls, and exposure to social media also contributed to the reduction in the birth rate. The average number of births per woman decreased from a 5.6 in 2005 to 4.5 in 2016. Despite these significant strides in reducing fertility, Rwanda’s birth rate remains very high and will continue to for an extended period of time because of its large population entering reproductive age. Because Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, its persistent high population growth and increasingly small agricultural landholdings will put additional strain on families’ ability to raise foodstuffs and access potable water. These conditions will also hinder the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and prevent environmental degradation.
The UNHCR recommended that effective 30 June 2013 countries invoke a cessation of refugee status for those Rwandans who fled their homeland between 1959 and 1998, including the 1994 genocide, on the grounds that the conditions that drove them to seek protection abroad no longer exist. The UNHCR’s decision is controversial because many Rwandan refugees still fear persecution if they return home, concerns that are supported by the number of Rwandans granted asylum since 1998 and by the number exempted from the cessation. Rwandan refugees can still seek an exemption or local integration, but host countries are anxious to send the refugees back to Rwanda and are likely to avoid options that enable them to stay. Conversely, Rwanda itself hosts almost 160,000 refugees as of 2017; virtually all of them fleeing conflict in neighboring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Contraceptive prevalence rate20.4% (2013)
53.2% (2014/15)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 95.9
youth dependency ratio: 90.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8
potential support ratio: 17.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 78.1
youth dependency ratio: 73.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5
potential support ratio: 20.1 (2015 est.)

Government

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Country name"conventional long form: Democratic Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: DRC
local long form: Republique Democratique du Congo
local short form: RDC
former: Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire
abbreviation: DRC
etymology: named for the Congo River, most of which lies within the DRC; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning ""hunters""
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Rwanda
conventional short form: Rwanda
local long form: Republika y'u Rwanda
local short form: Rwanda
former: Ruanda, German East Africa
etymology: the name translates as ""domain"" in the native Kinyarwanda language
"
Government typesemi-presidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Kinshasa
geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 03 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions26 provinces (provinces, singular - province); Bas-Uele (Lower Uele), Equateur, Haut-Katanga (Upper Katanga), Haut-Lomami (Upper Lomami), Haut-Uele (Upper Uele), Ituri, Kasai, Kasai-Central, Kasai-Oriental (East Kasai), Kinshasa, Kongo Central, Kwango, Kwilu, Lomami, Lualaba, Mai-Ndombe, Maniema, Mongala, Nord-Kivu (North Kivu), Nord-Ubangi (North Ubangi), Sankuru, Sud-Kivu (South Kivu), Sud-Ubangi (South Ubangi), Tanganyika, Tshopo, Tshuapa
4 provinces (in French - provinces, singular - province; in Kinyarwanda - intara for singular and plural) and 1 city* (in French - ville; in Kinyarwanda - umujyi); Est (Eastern), Kigali*, Nord (Northern), Ouest (Western), Sud (Southern)
Independence30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
National holidayIndependence Day, 30 June (1960)
Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest adopted 13 May 2005, approved by referendum 18-19 December 2005, promulgated 18 February 2006; amended 2011 (2016)
several previous; latest adopted by referendum 26 May 2003, effective 4 June 2003; amended several times, last in 2016 (2017)
Legal systemcivil law system primarily based on Belgian law, but also customary, and tribal law
mixed legal system of civil law, based on German and Belgian models, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Joseph KABILA (since 17 January 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Bruno TSHIBALA (since 7 April 2017); Deputy Prime Ministers Jose MAKILA, Leonard She OKITUNDU, Emmanuel RAMAZANI Shadary (since December 2016)
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 November 2011 (next originally scheduled for 27 November 2016 but expected by end of 2017 per agreement between the government and opposition); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Joseph KABILA reelected president; percent of vote - Joseph KABILA (PPRD) 49%, Etienne TSHISEKEDI (UDPS) 32.3%, other 18.7%; note - election marred by serious voting irregularities
chief of state: President Paul KAGAME (since 22 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Anastase MUREKEZI (since 24 July 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); note - constitutional amendments approved in December 2016, included one that reduces the presidential term from 7 to 5 years, but includes an exception that allows President KAGAME to serve another 7-year term in 2017, potentially followed by two additional 5-year terms; election last held on 9 August 2010 (next to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Paul KAGAME reelected president; Paul KAGAME (RPF) 93.1%, Jean NTAWUKURIRYAYO (PSD) 5.1%, other 1.8%
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Senate (108 seats; members indirectly elected by provincial assemblies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms) and the National Assembly (500 seats; 439 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 61 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 19 January 2007 (follow-on elections have been delayed); National Assembly - last held on 28 November 2011 (next originally scheduled for 27 November 2016, postponed until April 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 22, MLC 14, FR 7, RCD 7, PDC 6, CDC 3, MSR 3, PALU 2, independent 26, other 18; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPRD 62, UDPS 41, PPPD 29, MSR 27, MLC 22, PALU 19, UNC 17, ARC 16, AFDC 15, ECT 11, RRC 11, independent 16, other 214 (includes numerous political parties that won 10 or fewer seats and 2 constituencies where voting was halted); note - the November 2011 election was marred by violence including the destruction of ballots in two constituencies resulting in the closure of polling sites; election results were delayed three months, strongly contested, and continue to be unresolved
description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate or Senat (26 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by local councils, 8 appointed by the president, 4 appointed by the Political Organizations Forum - a body of registered political parties, and 2 selected by institutions of higher learning; members serve 8-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Chambre des Deputes (80 seats; 53 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 24 women elected by special interest groups, and 3 selected by youth and disability organizations; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - NA; Chamber of Deputies - last held on 16-18 September 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Chamber of Deputies percent of vote by party - Rwndan Front Coalition 76.2%, PSD 13%, PL 9.3%, other 1.5%; seats by party - Rwandan Front Coalition 41, PSD 7, PL 5, 27 members indirectly elected
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (consists of 26 justices and organized into legislative and judiciary sections); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges nominated by the Judicial Service Council, an independent body of public prosecutors and selected judges of the lower courts; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by the president, 3 by the Judicial Service Council, and 3 by the legislature; judges appointed by the president to serve 9-year non-renewable terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: State Security Court; Court of Appeals (organized into administrative and judiciary sections); Tribunal de Grande; magistrates' courts; customary courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 15 judges; normally organized into 3-judge panels); High Court (consists of the court president, vice-president, and a minimum of 24 judges and organized into 5 chambers
note: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president of the republic after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary or SCJ (a 27-member body of judges, other judicial officials, and legal professionals), and approved by the Senate; chief and deputy chief justices appointed for 8-year nonrenewable terms; tenure of judges NA; High Court president and vice-president appointed by the president of the republic upon approval by the Senate; judges appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice upon approval of the SCJ; judge tenure NA
judge selection and term of office: High Court of the Republic; commercial courts including the High Commercial Court; intermediate courts; primary courts; Gacaca and military specialized courts
subordinate courts: High Court of the Republic; commercial courts including the High Commercial Court; intermediate courts; primary courts; Gacaca and military specialized courts
Political parties and leadersChristian Democrat Party or PDC [Jose ENDUNDO]
Congolese Rally for Democracy or RCD [Azarias RUBERWA]
Convention of Christian Democrats or CDC
Forces of Renewal or FR [Mbusa NYAMWISI]
Movement for the Liberation of the Congo or MLC [Jean-Pierre BEMBA]
People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy or PPRD [Henri MOVA]
Social Movement for Renewal or MSR [Pierre LUMBI]
Unified Lumumbist Party or PALU [Antoine GIZENGA]
Union for the Congolese Nation or UNC [Vital KAMERHE]
Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Felix TSHISEKEDI]
Liberal Party or PL [Protais MITALI]
Party for Progress and Concord or PPC [Christian MARARA]
Rwandan Patriotic Front or RPF [Prosper HIGIRO]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Vincent BIRUTA]
Political pressure groups and leadersAllied Democratic Forces or ADF (anti-Ugandan government rebel groups]
Forces Arm?es de la R?publique D?mocratique du Congo (Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) or FARDC
Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda or FDLR (Rwandan militia group made up of some of the perpetrators of Rwanda's genocide in 1994)
Le Rassemblement (established in 2016 as a coalition of members from several political parties)
IBUKA (association of genocide survivors)
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, CEMAC, CEPGL, COMESA, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Francois Nkuna BALUMUENE (since 23 September 2015)
chancery: 1726 M Street, NW, Suite 601, Washington, DC, 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 234-7690 through 7691
FAX: [1] (202) 234-2609
representative office: New York New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Mathilde MUKANTABANA (since 5 July 2013)
chancery: 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 418, Washington, DC, 2000
telephone: [1] (202) 232-2882
FAX: [1] (202) 232-4544
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert WHITEHEAD (since January 2016)
embassy: 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, Kinshasa, Gombe
mailing address: Unit 2220, DPO AE 09828
telephone: [243] (081) 556-0151
FAX: [243] (081) 556-0175
chief of mission: Ambassador Erica BARKS-RUGGLES (since 26 January 2015)
embassy: 2657 Avenue de la Gendarmerie, Kigali
mailing address: B.P. 28, Kigali
telephone: [250] 252 596-400
FAX: [250] 252 580 325
Flag descriptionsky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner; blue represents peace and hope, red the blood of the country's martyrs, and yellow the country's wealth and prosperity; the star symbolizes unity and the brilliant future for the country
three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double width), yellow, and green, with a golden sun with 24 rays near the fly end of the blue band; blue represents happiness and peace, yellow economic development and mineral wealth, green hope of prosperity and natural resources; the sun symbolizes unity, as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance
National anthem"name: ""Debout Congolaise"" (Arise Congolese)
lyrics/music: Joseph LUTUMBA/Simon-Pierre BOKA di Mpasi Londi
note: adopted 1960; replaced when the country was known as Zaire; but readopted in 1997
"
"name: ""Rwanda nziza"" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA
note: adopted 2001
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)leopard; national colors: sky blue, red, yellow
traditional woven basket with peaked lid; national colors: blue, yellow, green
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Rwanda; if the father is stateless or unknown, the mother must be a citizen
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Economy - overviewThe economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast natural resource wealth - continues to struggle.

Systemic corruption since independence in 1960, combined with countrywide instability and conflict that began in the early-90s, has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue and increased external debt. With the installation of a transitional government in 2003 after peace accords, economic conditions slowly began to improve as the transitional government reopened relations with international financial institutions and international donors, and President KABILA began implementing reforms.

Renewed activity in the mining sector, the source of most export income, boosted Kinshasa's fiscal position and GDP growth, but low commodity prices are leading to slower growth, rising inflation, and a growing fiscal deficit. An uncertain legal framework, corruption, and a lack of transparency in government policy are long-term problems for the large mining sector and for the economy as a whole.

Much economic activity still occurs in the informal sector and is not reflected in GDP data. The DRC signed a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF in 2009 and received $12 billion in multilateral and bilateral debt relief in 2010, but, at the end of 2012, the IMF suspended the last three payments under the loan facility - worth $240 million - because of concerns about the lack of transparency in mining contracts. In 2012, the DRC updated its business laws by adhering to OHADA, the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa. The price of copper – the DRC’s primary export - plummeted in 2015 and remained at record lows during 2016, reducing government revenues, expenditures, and foreign exchange reserves.
Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with about 35% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture, and with some mineral and agro-processing. Population density is high but not concentrated in large metropolises – its 13 million people are spread out on a small amount of land (about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined). Tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with demand, requiring food imports. Energy shortages, instability in neighboring states, and lack of adequate transportation linkages to other countries continue to handicap private sector growth.

The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and temporarily stalled the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy beyond pre-1994 levels. GDP has rebounded with an average annual growth of 6%-8% since 2003 and inflation has been reduced to single digits. In 2015, 39% of the population lived below the poverty line, according to government statistics, compared to 57% in 2006. Mining profits in 2015 were reduced by almost half, owing to the drop in global demand for minerals.

Africa's most densely populated country is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade; Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners. The government has embraced an expansionary fiscal policy to reduce poverty by improving education, infrastructure, and foreign and domestic investment. In recognition of Rwanda's successful management of its macro economy, in 2010, the IMF graduated Rwanda to a Policy Support Instrument.

The Rwandan Government is seeking to become a regional leader in information and communication technologies. In 2012, Rwanda completed the first modern Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Kigali. The SEZ seeks to attract investment in all sectors, but specifically in agribusiness, information and communications, trade and logistics, mining, and construction. In 2016, the government launched an online system to give investors information about public land and its suitability for agricultural development.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$65.04 billion (2016 est.)
$63.51 billion (2015 est.)
$59.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$21.97 billion (2016 est.)
$20.73 billion (2015 est.)
$19.39 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.4% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
9.5% (2014 est.)
6% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
7% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$800 (2016 est.)
$800 (2015 est.)
$700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$1,900 (2016 est.)
$1,800 (2015 est.)
$1,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 20.1%
industry: 31.7%
services: 48.1% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 34.6%
industry: 15.1%
services: 50.3% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line63% (2012 est.)
39.1% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 34.7% (2006)
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.6% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
4.6% (2016 est.)
2.5% (2015 est.)
Labor force31.08 million (2016 est.)
6.03 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
agriculture: 75.3%
industry: 6.7%
services: 18% (2012 est.)
Unemployment rateNA%
NA%
Budgetrevenues: $5.448 billion
expenditures: $5.837 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $1.865 billion
expenditures: $2.279 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesmining (copper, cobalt, gold, diamonds, coltan, zinc, tin, tungsten), mineral processing, consumer products (textiles, plastics, footwear, cigarettes), metal products, processed foods and beverages, timber, cement, commercial ship repair
cement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
Industrial production growth rate1.2% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
coffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
Exports$9.316 billion (2016 est.)
$10.35 billion (2015 est.)
$674.9 million (2016 est.)
$683.7 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, copper, gold, cobalt, wood products, crude oil, coffee
coffee, tea, hides, tin ore
Exports - partnersChina 48%, Zambia 17.2%, South Korea 5.4%, Belgium 5.2% (2015)
Democratic Republic of the Congo 19.8%, US 10.8%, China 10.3%, Swaziland 7.9%, Malaysia 7%, Pakistan 6.2%, Germany 5.9%, Thailand 5.5% (2015)
Imports$10.2 billion (2016 est.)
$10.46 billion (2015 est.)
$1.961 billion (2016 est.)
$1.917 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
Imports - partnersChina 22.2%, South Africa 16.1%, Zambia 8.3%, Belgium 7.5%, Zimbabwe 5.6%, India 5.1%, France 4.3% (2015)
Uganda 15.8%, Kenya 11.8%, India 8.7%, China 8.7%, UAE 8.6%, Russia 6.6%, Tanzania 5.1% (2015)
Debt - external$5.331 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.106 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.442 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.178 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCongolese francs (CDF) per US dollar -
971.6 (2016 est.)
925.99 (2015 est.)
925.99 (2014 est.)
925.23 (2013 est.)
920.25 (2012 est.)
Rwandan francs (RWF) per US dollar -
787.9 (2016 est.)
720.54 (2015 est.)
720.54 (2014 est.)
680.95 (2013 est.)
616.6 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt18.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
36.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$774 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.216 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$756.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.03 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.83 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.504 billion (2015 est.)
-$1.216 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.105 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$39.82 billion (2016 est.)
$8.341 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate4% (31 December 2012)
20% (31 December 2011)
7.75% (31 December 2010)
11.25% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate19.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
19.37% (31 December 2015 est.)
17.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
17.33% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$3.701 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.381 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.891 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.337 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.212 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.213 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$957.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.013 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$5.018 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.402 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.817 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.64 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues13.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
22.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1% of GDP (2016 est.)
-5% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 73.6%
government consumption: 13.9%
investment in fixed capital: 21%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 23.7%
imports of goods and services: -32.3% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 77.8%
government consumption: 11.4%
investment in fixed capital: 26.4%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 13.6%
imports of goods and services: -29.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving14.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
12.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
15.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Electricity - production8.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
500 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption9.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
500 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports69 million kWh (2014 est.)
3 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports1.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
95 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production20,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports20,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves180 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves991.1 million cu m (1 January 2016 es)
56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production8.495 million cu m (2011 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption8.495 million cu m (2011 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity2.6 million kW (2014 est.)
100,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels1.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
34.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants98.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
65.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption24,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
6,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports22,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
5,979 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy1.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
800,000 Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 61,400,000
electrification - total population: 9%
electrification - urban areas: 19%
electrification - rural areas: 2% (2013)
population without electricity: 9,300,000
electrification - total population: 21%
electrification - urban areas: 67%
electrification - rural areas: 5% (2013)

Telecommunications

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 59,534
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (July 2012 est.)
total subscriptions: 16,983
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 37.753 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (July 2015 est.)
total: 8.76 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: barely adequate wire and microwave radio relay service in and between urban areas; domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations; inadequate fixed-line infrastructure
domestic: state-owned operator providing less than 1 fixed-line connection per 100 persons; given the backdrop of a wholly inadequate fixed-line infrastructure, the use of mobile-cellular services has surged and mobile teledensity is over 45 per 100 persons
international: country code - 243; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: small, inadequate telephone system primarily serves business, education, and government
domestic: the capital, Kigali, is connected to provincial centers by microwave radio relay and, recently, by cellular telephone service; much of the network depends on wire and HF radiotelephone; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone density has increased and now exceeds 65 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 250; international connections employ microwave radio relay to neighboring countries and satellite communications to more distant countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) in Kigali (includes telex and telefax service) (2015)
Internet country code.cd
.rw
Internet userstotal: 3.016 million
percent of population: 3.8% (July 2015 est.)
total: 2.279 million
percent of population: 18% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate-owned TV broadcast station with near national coverage; more than a dozen privately owned TV stations - 2 with near national coverage; 2 state-owned radio stations are supplemented by more than 100 private radio stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are available (2007)
government owns and operates the only TV station; government-owned and operated Radio Rwanda has a national reach; 9 private radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Roadwaystotal: 153,497 km
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)
total: 4,700 km
paved: 1,207 km
unpaved: 3,493 km (2012)
Waterways15,000 km (including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2011)
(Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2011)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Banana
river or lake port(s): Boma, Bumba, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka (Congo); Kindu (Lualaba); Bukavu, Goma (Lake Kivu); Kalemie (Lake Tanganyika)
lake port(s): Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye (Lake Kivu)
Airports198 (2013)
7 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 26
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 172
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 87
under 914 m: 65 (2013)
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Military

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Military branchesArmed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Forces d'Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo, FARDC): Army, National Navy (La Marine Nationale), Congolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Congolaise, FAC) (2011)
Rwanda Defense Force (RDF): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR) (2013)
Military service age and obligation18-45 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2012)
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; Rwandan citizenship is required, as is a 9th-grade education for enlisted recruits and an A-level certificate for officer candidates; enlistment is either as contract (5-years, renewable twice) or career; retirement (for officers and senior NCOs) after 20 years of service or at 40-60 years of age (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.39% of GDP (2015)
1.04% of GDP (2014)
1.25% of GDP (2013)
1.21% of GDP (2012)
1% of GDP (2011)
1.16% of GDP (2015)
1.15% of GDP (2014)
1.1% of GDP (2013)
1.11% of GDP (2012)
1.18% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda
Disputes - internationalheads of the Great Lakes states and UN pledged in 2004 to abate tribal, rebel, and militia fighting in the region, including northeast Congo, where the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), organized in 1999, maintains over 16,500 uniformed peacekeepers; members of Uganda's Lords Resistance Army forces continue to seek refuge in Congo's Garamba National Park as peace talks with the Uganda Government evolve; the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area; Uganda and DRC dispute Rukwanzi Island in Lake Albert and other areas on the Semliki River with hydrocarbon potential; boundary commission continues discussions over Congolese-administered triangle of land on the right bank of the Lunkinda River claimed by Zambia near the DRC village of Pweto; DRC accuses Angola of shifting monuments
Burundi and Rwanda dispute two sq km (0.8 sq mi) of Sabanerwa, a farmed area in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965; fighting among ethnic groups - loosely associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces in Great Lakes region transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), Rwanda, and Uganda - abated substantially from a decade ago due largely to UN peacekeeping, international mediation, and efforts by local governments to create civil societies; nonetheless, 57,000 Rwandan refugees still reside in 21 African states, including Zambia, Gabon, and 20,000 who fled to Burundi in 2005 and 2006 to escape drought and recriminations from traditional courts investigating the 1994 massacres; the 2005 DROC and Rwanda border verification mechanism to stem rebel actions on both sides of the border remains in place
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 245,052 (Rwanda) (2016); 102,802 (Central African Republic); 79,495 (South Sudan); 39,919 (Burundi) (2017)
IDPs: 2.2 million (fighting between government forces and rebels since mid-1990s; most IDPs are in eastern provinces) (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 86,702 (Burundi); 73,357 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2017)
IDPs: undetermined (fighting between government and insurgency in 1998-99; returning refugees) (2012)

Source: CIA Factbook