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Rwanda vs. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Introduction

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
BackgroundIn 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.
Established 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.

Geography

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
LocationCentral Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of Burundi
Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Geographic coordinates2 00 S, 30 00 E
0 00 N, 25 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 26,338 sq km
land: 24,668 sq km
water: 1,670 sq km
total: 2,344,858 sq km
land: 2,267,048 sq km
water: 77,810 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than Maryland
slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 930 km
border countries (4): Burundi 315 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 221 km, Tanzania 222 km, Uganda 172 km
total: 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
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
37 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial 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
Climatetemperate; two rainy seasons (February to April, November to January); mild in mountains with frost and snow possible
tropical; 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)
Terrainmostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,598 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Rusizi River 950 m
highest point: Volcan Karisimbi 4,519 m
mean elevation: 726 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic Marguerite on Mont Ngaliema (Mount Stanley) 5,110 m
Natural resourcesgold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land
cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Land useagricultural land: 74.5%
arable land 47%; permanent crops 10.1%; permanent pasture 17.4%
forest: 18%
other: 7.5% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 11.4%
arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 8%
forest: 67.9%
other: 20.7% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land96 sq km (2012)
110 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsperiodic 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
periodic 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
Environment - current issuesdeforestation results from uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel; overgrazing; soil exhaustion; soil erosion; widespread poaching
poaching threatens wildlife populations; water pollution; deforestation; soil erosion; mining (diamonds, gold, coltan - a mineral used in creating capacitors for electronic devices) causing environmental damage
Environment - international agreementsparty 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
party 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
Geography - notelandlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
second 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

Demographics

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Population12,988,423
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.)
81,331,050
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.)
Age structure0-14 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.)
0-14 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.)
Median agetotal: 19 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 18.4 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.53% (2016 est.)
2.42% (2016 est.)
Birth rate33.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
34.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.2 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 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.)
at 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.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 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.)
total: 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.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 60.1 years
male: 58.5 years
female: 61.7 years (2016 est.)
total population: 57.3 years
male: 55.8 years
female: 58.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.46 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.53 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate2.89% (2015 est.)
0.85% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Rwandan(s)
adjective: Rwandan
noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groupsHutu (Bantu), Tutsi (Hamitic), Twa (Pygmy)
over 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
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS201,900 (2015 est.)
374,100 (2015 est.)
ReligionsRoman 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.)
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
HIV/AIDS - deaths2,900 (2015 est.)
21,700 (2015 est.)
LanguagesKinyarwanda 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.)
French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.5%
male: 73.2%
female: 68% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write French, Lingala, Kingwana, or Tshiluba
total population: 63.8%
male: 78.1%
female: 50% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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)
degree 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)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2013)
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2013)
Education expenditures5% of GDP (2013)
2.2% of GDP (2013)
Urbanizationurban population: 28.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 6.43% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 42.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.96% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
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.)
improved:
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.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
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.)
improved:
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.)
Major cities - populationKIGALI (capital) 1.257 million (2015)
KINSHASA (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)
Maternal mortality rate290 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
693 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11.7% (2011)
23.4% (2014)
Health expenditures7.5% of GDP (2014)
4.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
9 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density1.6 beds/1,000 population (2007)
0.8 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate3.3% (2014)
3.7% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth23 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2014/15 est.)
19.9 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013/14 est.)
Demographic profileRwanda’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.
Despite 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.
Contraceptive prevalence rate53.2% (2014/15)
20.4% (2013)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 78.1
youth dependency ratio: 73.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5
potential support ratio: 20.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 95.9
youth dependency ratio: 90.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8
potential support ratio: 17.2 (2015 est.)

Government

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Country name"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
"
"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""
"
Government typepresidential republic
semi-presidential republic
Capitalname: Kigali
geographic coordinates: 1 57 S, 30 03 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Kinshasa
geographic coordinates: 4 19 S, 15 18 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions4 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)
26 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
Independence1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
National holidayIndependence Day, 1 July (1962)
Independence Day, 30 June (1960)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest adopted by referendum 26 May 2003, effective 4 June 2003; amended several times, last in 2016 (2017)
several previous; latest adopted 13 May 2005, approved by referendum 18-19 December 2005, promulgated 18 February 2006; amended 2011 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of civil law, based on German and Belgian models, and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
civil law system primarily based on Belgian law, but also customary, and tribal law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief 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%
chief 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
Legislative branchdescription: 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
description: 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
Judicial branchhighest 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
highest 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
Political parties and leadersLiberal 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]
Christian 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]
Political pressure groups and leadersIBUKA (association of genocide survivors)
Allied 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)
International organization participationACP, 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
ACP, 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
Diplomatic representation in the USchief 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
chief 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
Diplomatic representation from the USchief 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
chief 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
Flag descriptionthree 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
sky 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
National anthem"name: ""Rwanda nziza"" (Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country)
lyrics/music: Faustin MURIGO/Jean-Bosco HASHAKAIMANA
note: adopted 2001
"
"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
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)traditional woven basket with peaked lid; national colors: blue, yellow, green
leopard; national colors: sky blue, red, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship 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
citizenship 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

Economy

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Economy - overviewRwanda 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.
The 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$21.97 billion (2016 est.)
$20.73 billion (2015 est.)
$19.39 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$65.04 billion (2016 est.)
$63.51 billion (2015 est.)
$59.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate6% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
7% (2014 est.)
2.4% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
9.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,900 (2016 est.)
$1,800 (2015 est.)
$1,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$800 (2016 est.)
$800 (2015 est.)
$700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 34.6%
industry: 15.1%
services: 50.3% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 20.1%
industry: 31.7%
services: 48.1% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line39.1% (2015 est.)
63% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 43.2% (2011 est.)
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 34.7% (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.6% (2016 est.)
2.5% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
Labor force6.03 million (2016 est.)
31.08 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 75.3%
industry: 6.7%
services: 18% (2012 est.)
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rateNA%
NA%
Budgetrevenues: $1.865 billion
expenditures: $2.279 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $5.448 billion
expenditures: $5.837 billion (2016 est.)
Industriescement, agricultural products, small-scale beverages, soap, furniture, shoes, plastic goods, textiles, cigarettes
mining (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
Industrial production growth rate6.9% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, tea, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), bananas, beans, sorghum, potatoes; livestock
coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, plantains, peanuts, root crops, corn, fruits; wood products
Exports$674.9 million (2016 est.)
$683.7 million (2015 est.)
$9.316 billion (2016 est.)
$10.35 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescoffee, tea, hides, tin ore
diamonds, copper, gold, cobalt, wood products, crude oil, coffee
Exports - partnersDemocratic 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)
China 48%, Zambia 17.2%, South Korea 5.4%, Belgium 5.2% (2015)
Imports$1.961 billion (2016 est.)
$1.917 billion (2015 est.)
$10.2 billion (2016 est.)
$10.46 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement and construction material
foodstuffs, mining and other machinery, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partnersUganda 15.8%, Kenya 11.8%, India 8.7%, China 8.7%, UAE 8.6%, Russia 6.6%, Tanzania 5.1% (2015)
China 22.2%, South Africa 16.1%, Zambia 8.3%, Belgium 7.5%, Zimbabwe 5.6%, India 5.1%, France 4.3% (2015)
Debt - external$2.442 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.178 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.331 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.106 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesRwandan 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.)
Congolese 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.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt36.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$756.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.03 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$774 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.216 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.216 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.105 billion (2015 est.)
-$1.83 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.504 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$8.341 billion (2016 est.)
$39.82 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate7.75% (31 December 2010)
11.25% (31 December 2008)
4% (31 December 2012)
20% (31 December 2011)
Commercial bank prime lending rate17.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
17.33% (31 December 2015 est.)
19.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
19.37% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.891 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.337 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.701 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.381 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$957.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.013 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.212 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.213 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$1.817 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.64 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.018 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.402 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues22.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5% of GDP (2016 est.)
-1% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold 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.)
household 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.)
Gross national saving12.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
15.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
14.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Electricity - production500 million kWh (2014 est.)
8.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption500 million kWh (2014 est.)
9.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports3 million kWh (2014 est.)
69 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports95 million kWh (2014 est.)
1.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
20,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
20,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
180 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves56.63 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
991.1 million cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
8.495 million cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
8.495 million cu m (2011 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 capacity100,000 kW (2014 est.)
2.6 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels34.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
1.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants65.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
98.6% 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 - consumption6,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
24,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports5,979 bbl/day (2013 est.)
22,250 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy800,000 Mt (2013 est.)
1.4 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 9,300,000
electrification - total population: 21%
electrification - urban areas: 67%
electrification - rural areas: 5% (2013)
population without electricity: 61,400,000
electrification - total population: 9%
electrification - urban areas: 19%
electrification - rural areas: 2% (2013)

Telecommunications

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 16,983
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 59,534
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (July 2012 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 8.76 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2015 est.)
total: 37.753 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral 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)
general 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)
Internet country code.rw
.cd
Internet userstotal: 2.279 million
percent of population: 18% (July 2015 est.)
total: 3.016 million
percent of population: 3.8% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediagovernment 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)
state-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)

Transportation

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Roadwaystotal: 4,700 km
paved: 1,207 km
unpaved: 3,493 km (2012)
total: 153,497 km
paved: 2,794 km
unpaved: 150,703 km (2004)
Waterways(Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2011)
15,000 km (including the Congo, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2011)
Ports and terminalslake port(s): Cyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye (Lake Kivu)
major seaport(s): Banana
river or lake port(s): Boma, Bumba, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Matadi, Mbandaka (Congo); Kindu (Lualaba); Bukavu, Goma (Lake Kivu); Kalemie (Lake Tanganyika)
Airports7 (2013)
198 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 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)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 172
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 87
under 914 m: 65 (2013)

Military

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Military branchesRwanda Defense Force (RDF): Rwanda Army (Rwanda Land Force), Rwanda Air Force (Force Aerienne Rwandaise, FAR) (2013)
Armed 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)
Military service age and obligation18 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)
18-45 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.16% of GDP (2015)
1.15% of GDP (2014)
1.1% of GDP (2013)
1.11% of GDP (2012)
1.18% of GDP (2011)
1.39% of GDP (2015)
1.04% of GDP (2014)
1.25% of GDP (2013)
1.21% of GDP (2012)
1% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

RwandaDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Disputes - internationalBurundi 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
heads 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
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (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)
refugees (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)

Source: CIA Factbook