Official Language:
French, Kinyarwanda, English, Swahili

Largest City:
Kigali

Major Religion(s):
Roman Catholic 56.5%, Protestant 26%, Adventists 11.1%, Islam 4.6%, indigenous beliefs 0.1%, none 1.7%

Date of Independence:
Rwanda gained independence on July 1, 1962 from Belgium.

Main Export(s):
Coffee, tea, hides and tin ore.

Economy:
Per capita GDP of $1,400 (2011). Rwanda is a rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in mainly subsistence agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa; is landlocked; has few natural resources and minimal industry. The 1994 genocide destroyed Rwanda’s fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and eroded the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made significant progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy.

Cultural Highlight:
Rwanda is an African nation with a long history of folk music. Because of socio-military unrest and violence, many Rwandans have moved overseas in recent years, bringing their country’s music to cities like Brussels. The ikinimba is probably the most revered musical tradition in Rwanda. It is a dance that tells the stories of Rwandan heroes and kings, accompanied by instruments like ingoma (drum), ikembe (thumb piano), iningiri, umuduri (a bow-shaped instrument with one string), and inanga. The inanga, a lyre-like string instrument, has produced many of Rwanda’s best-know performers internationally.

Famous Citizen(s):
Cecile Kayirebwa (a Rwandan-Belgian musician)

Favorite Dish:
Isombe with dried fish is a typical Rwandan recipe usually served at feast but as an everyday dish for most Rwandans. “Isombe” are the green leaves from the manioe plant. The leaves get finely mashed and look a bit like spinach. From the roots of the manioc plant Rwandans make a kind of flour that they cook with water. This is called “bugali”.

Main Tourist Attraction(s):
The Rwanda Mountains is home to the mountain gorillas that can be seen on nature walks. Also, a fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valley.

Flag Description:
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.

Geography:
Landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural.