Unit 5 – Republic of Rwanda – Adopted Country ProjectColonial History During colonial expansion in the late 19th century, Burundi and Rwanda were the final portion of Africa to be attained by European colonists. Count von Götzen, a German colonist, was the first European to enter this territory in 1894. In 1897, the Germans moved in from their territory, Tanzania, in order to claim the area for the Kaiser, as well as Burundi south of Rwanda. The colonists named the whole area as one colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. During the beginning of World War One, as a result of Germany’s invasion of Belgium, the Belgians retaliated against the Germans in central Africa.
In 1916, Ruanda-Urundi was occupied by Belgian troops originating from the Belgian Congo. After the war in 1924, Belgium was granted the right administer the colony by the League of Nations. From 1925, the Belgian Congo is connected to Ruanda-Urundi, however the two territories are each ruled very differently. The Belgian Congo was under the influence of Brussels, while Ruanda-Urundi is ruled by the Tutsi aristocracy. The Hutu were forced into labor that displayed Belgium’s attitude regarding the two ethnic groups by favoring the Tutsis, which set up for violence between the two groups in the future.
In July 1962, Ruanda-Urundi finally reaches independence, and separate despite the pressure from the UN to remain as a single nation. Ruanda becomes a republic and the spelling of its name is changed to Rwanda, but ethnic violence still lingers in the country from 1960 to 1961. Meanwhile, Urundi becomes a constitutional monarchy and changes its name to Burundi.
Political Organization The Republic of Rwanda is a Presidential Republic Rwanda has a multi-party political system that contains three branches including: an executive branch that is led by a chief of state, President Paul Kagame, and a head of government, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, a legislative branch that contains a bicameral Parliament, and a judicial branch that is composed of a multiple court system. Rwanda’s executive branch of government consists of a chief of state, a head of government, and a cabinet. The current chief of state is Paul Kagame who has served in office since April 22, 2000. The president is elected through a simple majority vote to serve a seven year term, and can also serve a second term if elected once more.
However, a constitutional amendment passed in December 2016 modified the amount of time a president can serve from seven to five years. Furthermore, President Kagame was given an exception to this amendment and thus, in 2017, has been allowed to to serve another seven year term. The prime minister, Edouard Ngirente, was appointed by the president and has served in office since August 30, 2017. The cabinet is composed of a Council of Ministers that are appointed by the president.
The nation’s legislative branch of government is composed of a bicameral parliament: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate contains 26 seats where 12 members are indirectly elected by local councils, 8 who are appointed by the president, 4 members appointed by the Political Organizations Forum, and 2 members that are appointed by institutions of higher learning, where each member of the senate serves an eight year term. On the other hand, the Chamber of Deputies has 80 seats where 53 of the members are directly elected by a proportional representation vote, 24 female members elected by special interest groups, and 3 member who are selected by youth and disability organizations where each member serves a five year term.The country’s judicial branch of government consist of a multiple court system. The highest court composed of 15 judges and the chief and deputy chief justices is the Supreme Court that is usually organized into three judge panels.
These Supreme Court judges are nominated by the president after the approval of the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary, as well as the approval of the Senate. The chief and deputy chief justices are appointed for eight year terms that are nonrenewable. The next court is the High Court that consists of the court president, vice president, and a minimum of 24 judges, and it is usually organized into 5 chambers. The High Court president and vice president are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate, and the judges are appointed by the Supreme Court chief justice upon approval of the Superior Council of the Judiciary.Shape & Boundary Type Rwanda is a landlocked country located in East Africa between latitudes 10 and 30 South, and longitudes 290 and 310 East.
The nation is bordered to its north by Uganda, to its east by Tanzania, to its south by Burundi, and to its west by Zaire for an approximate total of 555 miles. Ever since European colonists drew the Rwanda’s borders in 1910, the borders have remained relatively unchanged. Its Northern boundary with Uganda extends 105 miles to the east from the point where Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo connect in the Virunga Mountains, at Sabino Peak, and ends where the Kakitumba and Kagera Rivers intersect. In Eastern Rwanda, the border that separates Tanzania and Rwanda extends for 135 miles from northeastern Rwanda southward through Kagera Valley and its swamps and lakes.
In the south, between Burundi and Rwanda, a de facto boundary was present in the era of German control up to World War I. After Rwanda and Burundi gained their independence in 1962, the 180-mile boundary was accepted as it was clearly defined. Rwanda’s boundary with the Congo was also established and defined during these European agreements in 1910.
The boundary extends across Rwanda’s western region for 135 miles, and also crosses Lake Kivu.International Trade Rwanda holds the title of the 101st largest export economy throughout the world. The nation’s top exports include: refined petroleum that produces $108M, gold that produces $79.7M, tea that produces $73.5M, coffee that produces $59.4M as well as niobium, Tantalum, Vanadium and Zirconium Ore that together account for $39.
6M. On the other hand, Rwanda’s highest imports include: packaged medicaments that account for $73.8M, broadcasting equipment that account for $59.7M, cement that account for $56.
8M, cars that account for $56M, and raw sugar that account for $53.3M. In addition, the country’s five largest export destinations include: the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounting for $197M, Kenya accounting for $99M, the United Arab Emirates accounting for $87M, Switzerland accounting for $54.
9M, and Burundi accounting for $35.9M. Furthermore, the country’s five largest import nations include: France which make up $264M, China which make up $108M, India which make up $87.5M, the United States which make up $74.7M, and Belgium which make up $66.8M.International OrganizationsInternational organizations that Rwanda participates in include: the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)Capital Building This photograph conveys Rwanda’s bicameral Parliament Building, that consists of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.Primary Export CommodityIn 2002, tea became Rwanda’s largest export item at 15,000 tons, which is equal to US$18 million.