Rwanda Today


Rwanda struggles to heal and rebuild, showing signs of rapid economic development but with growing international concern about the decline of human rights within the country.

Economically, the major markets for Rwandan exports are Belgium, Germany, and People’s Republic of China. In April 2007, an investment and trade agreement, four years in the making, was worked out between Belgium and Rwanda. Belgium contributes €25-35 million per year to Rwanda. Belgian co-operation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry continues to develop and rebuild agricultural practices in the country. It has distributed agricultural tools and seed to help rebuild the country. Belgium also helped in re-launching fisheries in Lake Kivu, at a value of US$470,000, in 2001.

In Eastern Rwanda, ‘’The Clinton Hunter Development Initiative’’, along with Partners in Health, are helping to improve agricultural productivity, improve water and sanitation and health services, and help cultivate international markets for agricultural products. Since 2000, the Rwandan government has expressed interest in transforming the country from agricultural subsistence to a knowledge-based economy, and plans to provide high-speed broadband across the entire country.

Rwanda applied to join the Commonwealth of Nations in 2007 and 2009, a sign that is trying to distance itself from French foreign policy. In 2007, it applied unsuccessfully to join at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Kampala in Uganda, but was accepted into membership in 2009 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith publicly stated this would help “entrench the rule of law and support the Rwandan Government’s efforts towards democracy and economic growth.” Rwanda also joined the East African Community in 2009 at the same time as its neighbor Burundi.

However, since then Freedom House rates Rwanda as “not free”, with political rights and civil liberties trending downwards. In 2010 Amnesty International “strongly condemned a worrying attack on a Rwandan opposition group” in the lead-up to presidential elections, citing the case of Victoire Ingabire, president of the FDU-Inkingi (United Democratic Forces) and her aide Joseph Ntawangundi, attacked in February 2010 while collecting party registration documents from a government building in Kigali. In April, Rwandan Immigration proceeded to reject a work visa re-application by the Rwanda-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. The sole new opposition party to secure registration, PS-Imberakuri, had its presidential candidate Bernard Ntaganda arrested on June 24, charged with “genocide ideology” and “divisionism”.

Rwandan Green Party President, Frank Habineza also reported threats. In October 2009 a Rwandan Green Party meeting was violently broken up by police, with authorities placing preventing the registration of the party or allowing it to run a candidate in the presidential election. Only weeks before the election, on 14 July 2009, André Kagwa Rwisereka, the vice president of the opposition Democratic Green Party was found dead, with his head severed almost entirely, in Butare, southern Rwanda.

Public scrutiny of the government’s policies and practices has been limited by press freedom. In June 2009 journalist for Umuvugizi newspaper Jean-Leonard Rugambage was shot dead outside his home in Kigali. Umuvugizi at the time was supporting a critical investigation into the attempted murder of former Rwandan general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, in exile in South Africa. In July 2009 Agnes Nkusi Uwimana, editor of the “Umurabyo” newspaper, charged with “genocide ideology.” As the presidential election got closer, two other newspaper editors left Rwanda.

The United Nations, European Union, the United States, France and Spain publicly expressed concerns.

The new group of Rwanda led by INGABO became the new leaders of Rwanda. They are divided in two groups; The Rwanda-EACU group of most KIGA and the Banyamulenge of Rwanda Kazembe. In 2011 war broke out in Libya, the African Military Contingent will be part of the new settlement that happens in Libya, Rwanda will be part of it, with particular cooperation between Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan to the Libyan Conflict.