Introduction to Country Context

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Rwanda is located in Central, East Africa, approximately 1,416 kilometres from the Indian Ocean to the east and 2,012 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean to the west (1). It lies between latitude 1°4' and latitude 2°51' south and longitude 28°63' and longitude 30°54' east. The surface area is 26,338 square kilometres; and the country shares borders with Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Burundi to the south (1). Rwanda is divided into four provinces (Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western) and the City of Kigali (2). The provinces are further subdivided into 30 districts, 416 sectors, 2148 cells and 14837 villages (2).

Figure 1 Administrative map Page1.JPG

The country enjoys a temperate, sub-equatorial climate with average yearly temperatures of about 18.5°C (3). In 2017, the population was estimated at 11,809,295 (4), with a population density of 467 inhabitants per km2, which makes the country the second most densely populated country in Africa (5).

The population of Rwanda has steadily and rapidly increased from more than 2,000,000 in 1952, to 7,666,000 in 1996, 8,128,553 in 2002 (3) and 10,515,973 in 2012 (6). This increase is essentially due to the rapid demographic growth rate, which is estimated at 2.6% (3).

Figure 2 Evolution of the total population page15.JPG

The country’s economy has been growing steadily, with an average of an 8% annual growth rate since 2001 (8). Also, from 2001 to 2016, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has more than tripled, increasing from $211 to $738.6, respectively (9).

Currently, the majority of the population (81.3%) lives in rural areas, and about 70% of working individuals aged 16 years and above are currently employed in the agriculture sector (10). However, strategies for economic development and poverty reduction are being implemented. These strategies will aid in the development of the economy and significant reduction in the number of people depending on the agricultural sector (8).