How developed is Rwanda


Economic situation

According to the Rwandan government (9.4%), the World Bank, GDP growth in the past year 2019 was around 10%, and according to current IMF data (10.1%). The forecasts for the current year were estimated from around 9% to around 3.5% due to the COVI-19 pandemic.

The annual growth rates are mainly based on the agriculture, construction and tourism sectors. The development of the processing industry is noticeably steady, but it remains relatively low.

A crucial weak point in the national economic system is the high trade deficit. The value of the imported products is more than twice as high as the export value. Approaches to solutions in the area of ​​export promotion could show partial successes using the example of mining. With the latest "Made in Rwanda" strategy to increase exports, the government has achieved significant successes in recent years.

As in other areas of Rwanda, the socio-economic development of the last two decades has been strongly shaped by recent tragic history. Pictures of a devastated country in 1994 immediately after the genocide are remembered. For the economy it meant a total collapse and the loss of decades of development.
The country has recovered surprisingly quickly from this economic collapse and is showing a development that was hardly thought possible. Today, Rwanda is - in a continental comparison - exemplary in terms of economic modernization. In the capital Kigali, international luxury hotels, shopping centers and office complexes are emerging, the service sector is booming and the upswing of recent years is continuing in the infrastructure sector (energy and road construction projects). However, major challenges remain. The largest fields of work are in the field of industrial development and agriculture in particular. Feeding the population is one of the greatest challenges of all. The country is extremely densely populated and more than 70% of the population live from their work in agriculture.

In general, the economy of Rwanda has been in a stable growth phase for several years. With annual average growth rates of 7%, economic growth has remained stable at a high level over the past few decades.

There were exceptions in the crisis year 2009, when GDP was, as expected, low at 4.5%. Also in 2013 a comparatively modest GDP growth of 4.6% was registered, which means a strong decrease compared to 8% in 2012 and the lowest value since 2003. The background to this decline was the fact that some donor countries had temporarily frozen their funding commitments due to allegations that Rwanda was supporting the rebel organization M23 fighting in the east of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. This led to delays in budget spending during the second half of 2013. This revealed Rwanda's high level of economic donor dependency, whereupon the government stepped up its efforts to reduce this dependency ratio more quickly.

In addition to the state income from tax revenue, the additional state financing is provided by budget support from the international donor community and borrowing, which in the 2019/2020 fiscal year represents 14 and 18% of the national annual budget, respectively.

Rwanda has a fairly good reputation for responsible use of resources, economic reforms and poverty reduction. On the part of donors, however, uncertainties regarding inflows are to be expected in the future, among other things because Rwanda is accused of playing a negative role in neighboring conflict-ridden countries (Eastern Congo and Burundi).

Economic policy

From 2007 to 2017, the focus was on the implementation of the poverty reduction programs (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy - EDPRS 1 and 2). The government has been following the follow-up program, The National Strategy for Transformation (NST), since 2017. Important economic policy goals include the promotion of foreign and domestic investments, among other things by expanding the infrastructure, the capitalization of the rural economy remains. A land reform law passed in 2005 is intended to provide more incentives for domestic investments than in the system of "customer ownership", since extensive land registration has now taken place and land titles are demonstrably being acquired systematically. The aim is also to increase and diversify exports. The government is trying to promote alternative "cash crops" such as flowers or fruit. Tea and coffee production is also to be intensified. Another source of investment are increasingly remittances from the Rwandan diaspora.

Rwanda's location in the middle of a region with over 140 million inhabitants makes the country potentially a strategic starting point from which one has access to a significant regional market. The government has set itself the goal of making Kigali an important "hub" in the region. In line with this goal, extensive investments are pending in the transport sector. The existing road network has been or is currently being rehabilitated and expanded. The major construction project to extend the railway line from Isaka in Tanzania or from Kampala to Rwanda and Burundi is in the planning stages. In the area of ​​air traffic, in addition to the modernization of Kigali Airport, the long-term planned construction of a new international airport in Bugesera - south of the capital - is under construction. Completion is expected in the course of 2020.

Another measure that is intended to strengthen Rwanda's role as a regional trading center between the markets and ports of East Africa and Eastern Congo or Burundi is the establishment and upcoming expansion of an industrial "Special Economic Zone" (SEZ) near Kigali.

The government's ongoing, market-oriented reform measures for the economy are also setting the tone. A policy that helps Rwanda to gain special recognition from international donors and partner countries. This shows, among other things, the relatively top ranking in the annual "Doing Business Report", a report published by the World Bank that analyzes reforms to improve the business climate worldwide. In the current report, Rwanda was ranked 38th out of 190 countries in a global comparison and is second behind Mauritius (13th) on the African continent. The report is a highly regarded indicator and guide for foreign investors.

As in other African countries, the partnership with China plays an important role in Rwanda's economic development. China's main interest in Rwanda is not - as is often the case in other countries - in the exploitation of natural resources (minerals and land), but in other activities. Most of the larger infrastructure projects in Rwanda, for example, are carried out by Chinese construction companies, but the otherwise accompanying deployment of Chinese manpower is restricted by restriction measures. Chinese companies are also investing in manufacturing and service industries in addition to retailing. China obviously sees the country as a starting point for expanding its presence in the region. China's long-term investment plans in Rwanda were made clear by the selection of Kigali as one of three stops by China's President, Xi Jinping, on his most recent trip to Africa in July 2018.


The agricultural landscape that characterizes the entire country is characterized by terraced green slopes, scattered settlements, heavily parceled cultivation areas and a variety of cultivated plants.

Agriculture is the basis of the Rwandan economy. About 75% of the population lives directly from agriculture and from the processing and marketing of agricultural products. The primary sector contributes 39% to the gross domestic product, most jobs depend largely on it. Around 50% of the export revenues are achieved through agricultural products such as coffee and tea, as well as pyrethrum (flowers for the production of insecticides), flowers and cinchona bark in small quantities. However, this takes place under extremely difficult conditions:

  • The fertility of the soil varies from region to region, with poor, acidic and tropical soils predominating. The volcanic soils in the north of the country, on the other hand, are very fertile. The mild annual temperatures and the low temperature fluctuations during the year usually allow two harvests per year.
  • The advancing climate change increases the pressure and calls for acute solutions. Temperatures are already rising and rainfall patterns are changing in Rwanda. Increasing extreme events such as floods and landslides, which often leave deaths and general devastation, are the order of the day.
  • The extremely high settlement as well as the likewise high annual population growth result in a scarcity of land and limited land reserves, which continue to decline. Smallholder families on average only have less than one hectare of usable agricultural area. About two thirds of the total area of ​​the country is used for agriculture.
  • In addition, there is the difficult arable farming on steep slopes in the "land of a thousand hills". This hilly nature, which is typical of the country, leads to heavy soil erosion with frequent, for this geographical location (between 1 ° and 3 ° south of the equator), typical heavy rainfall. Progressive soil degradation is another consequence that is accelerated by a lack of periodic fallow land.

In order to counteract the acute situation, some efforts are being initiated by the government, such as erosion control with the help of nationwide terracing measures, the utilization of swamp areas, the introduction of efficient seeds and the use of fertilizers.

Furthermore, the capitalization of agriculture is advanced. For this purpose, farmer cooperatives are intensively promoted, financial means are made available, in addition to private investments, e.g. through targeted channeling of development aid. A regionalization of individual cultures that has already been decided is currently only being implemented to a limited extent.

The government's contribution is aimed at increasing yields. Agriculture is thus strengthened as the engine of the internal economy as a whole, which has gradually achieved successes, but which have remained far below the necessary level. Since 2008 the government has assumed that food production in most parts of the country is in principle sufficient to ensure the basic supply of local food for the population. However, this requires a favorable seasonal change. Food security is not given according to FAO data (approx. 30% of the population suffers from malnutrition according to FAO statistics).

As before, however, subsistence farming predominates, which takes up a large part of the agricultural land. More than two thirds of the production is used to feed the family, so that hardly any surplus is left for regional marketing.

In terms of quantity and value, bananas are the most important crop for the domestic market. Other crops are beans, sorghum (millet), corn, cassava, sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, kale, peanuts and tropical fruits such as papaya, avocado, passion fruit, mango, pineapple, etc.

In order to increase exports, the state (since 2002) has promoted the revitalization of tea and coffee cultivation with the help of cooperation partners.
Coffee is mostly grown in smallholdings and is traditionally the only source of income for many farmers. Due to the sharp drop in world market prices at the end of the 1980s, coffee trees were considered unproductive and some of them were destroyed in favor of other crops.

New impulses put the focus on added value through further processing of the cultivated products on site. The nationwide initiated formation of cooperatives plays an important role. The aim is to enable investments, among other things, in coffee washing systems that individual farmers would not be able to finance. In the area of ​​these cooperative operations, positive developments can be recorded. One advantage is the joint direct marketing, which leads to higher revenues for the farmers.

In the past, tea was mainly produced in state-owned plantations, where the tea was also processed. A small proportion was grown in cooperative and rural businesses. In the meantime, tea companies have largely been privatized or are being advertised for privatization.


In Rwanda, livestock farming has been known for a long time. Cattle in particular are given a very high level of importance, which used to be less in the economic than in the social area. The number of animals determined the social rank of a family. The value of the cattle was expressed, among other things, in the size of the horns. The meat and milk yields were and will remain in some cases very low. These poor yields can be explained on the one hand by the cattle breed, on the other hand by the malnutrition of the cattle due to the overgrazing of the few remaining pastures.

Specific reform strategies have been in place since 2004, the implementation of which has already achieved some success. It is hoped that an improvement in cattle breeding will be achieved through a more profitable cattle breed, which is preferred today, as well as through integrated semi-intensive cattle husbandry with field forage and stables. The keeping of livestock on free pasture is now prohibited by state regulation. "Girinka", also known as the "one cow per poor family program", is a government initiative that aims to support families in need by owning a cow. This is a so-called "home grown" initiative to improve agricultural yields and the nutritional basis of the recipient families. In addition, the beneficiaries experience social appreciation, as the cow is traditionally considered a valuable gift and status symbol.

The keeping of poultry and rabbits, but also goats, pigs and sheep, is becoming increasingly important due to the relatively undemanding feeding and care.

Despite some advances in cattle breeding, the production of milk and meat is insufficient to meet the protein needs of the population. Very few Rwandans can afford a regular meat supply. Most of the protein supply comes from legumes and grains.

Industry and mining

Rwanda's industrial development still has a long way to go. Rapid development is hampered by a number of factors: the lack of capital and skilled workers, the lack of a sufficiently receptive internal market, the inadequate expansion of the infrastructure, e.g. the transport network and electricity production, and the remote internal location, which results in very high transport costs.

Rwanda's industry is mainly focused on the processing of domestic agricultural products, other branches of industry are the production of simple agricultural implements such as hoes and machetes, the production of building materials such as cement, building blocks, pipes, etc. as well as the production of everyday items such as hygiene articles and textiles , Furniture etc ...

The largest industrial employer is a brewery (Bralirwa) in Rubabu, a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational "Heineken", which held a monopoly for years. With the entry of Skol International ltd. In 2012, there is a second provider on the market. Both companies play an important role in everyday life in Rwanda and contribute significantly to the state budget through taxes.

Mining plays an important role with the extraction and processing of tin ore, coltan ore and tungsten ore, especially for export.

Contrary to the widespread information in the media that Rwanda is enriched by the export of conflict minerals from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda has its own raw material resources. Strategic metal ores with high global market demand - such as tin, wolframite and tantalite (coltan) - are not available on a large scale as in neighboring DR Congo, but are available in economically viable quantities. With the support of German development cooperation, certification methods were developed to ensure the origin of the traded ores. A certificate of origin is required by law for the export of minerals. The export of mineral raw materials also generates the second highest income in the country after the tourism sector, ahead of the sale of agricultural products such as coffee and tea.

Energy-and water supply

The energy sector remains the most worrying bottleneck for the country's economic development. A large part of the energy requirement, which is mainly used for cooking purposes in rural households, is covered by the traditional fuels wood and charcoal.

Around 50% of the population has access to electricity, but for the most part it is only enough for lighting purposes. The country's entire electricity production is insufficient at just 225 MW (as of early 2019). This is mainly generated from hydropower, both by medium-sized state-owned companies and by micro-systems, some of which are privately operated. Approx. 15 MW are imported from the joint hydropower plants (Rusizi I and II), which in addition to Rwanda also supply the neighboring states of Burundi and Congo with electricity. In order to counteract the energy shortage, the company responsible for electricity and water supply, Rwanda Energy Group "REG" (formerly EWASA or even earlier Electrogaz) has also purchased emergency diesel generators - a short-term solution, because the oil products required for operation are over long distances and bad roads from the Indian Ocean and are therefore very expensive (a liter of petrol or diesel costs the equivalent of just under 1 EUR).

A further complicating factor is the fact that the lake water level at the production sites (Kivu Lake, Bulera-Ruhondo) fluctuates due to excessive use and / or climatic changes. At the same time, the demand for energy is growing due to the growth of cities and the economic upturn. Electricity is therefore switched off alternately in network areas from time to time.

The government has made energy generation a priority and is proceeding with a correspondingly aggressive strategy. The highly ambitious goal is to increase the current total capacity to 560 MW by the end of 2020, which means more than doubling the capacity in just two years.

The methane gas contained in Lake Kivu from volcanic activity represents a potential. The available reserves are estimated at 60 billion cubic meters. This natural gas has been used since 1983 as part of a pilot project to generate energy for the BRALIRWA brewery in Rubavu (formerly Gisenyi). A first 2 MW power plant operated by methane gas has been running since 2010. Another 25 MW power plant was officially inaugurated in May 2015 in Karongi (formerly Kibuye). The globally unique methane gas project KivuWatt, which - in cooperation with the American company ContourGlobal - carried out pioneering work, took around seven years to develop. Further plants of this type are to follow after consultation with the neighboring state of the DR Congo, which is also bordering Lake Kivu.

In addition to methane gas, other energy projects, in addition to the construction of new hydropower plants, rely on various existing potentials such as geothermal energy, solar energy, peat deposits and biogas.

Access to drinking water supplies is also inadequate. Due to the high rainfall, the country has sufficient water reserves, but the construction of drinking water pipes for the rural population is difficult and expensive because of the hilly terrain of the country. Public sewage disposal is only available in a few new development areas. Only a very small proportion of households have regulated private sewage disposal.


Due to the lack of industrialization in Rwanda and insufficient agricultural land, local handicrafts play an important role in providing jobs. In the cities as well as in rural areas there are already a large number of small craft businesses, especially carpenters, locksmiths, bricklayers and tailors, who produce at a very low technical level. The reasons for this are the still insufficient level of training and the lack of capital for the procurement of high-quality handicraft tools.

Another problem for the Rwandan handicrafts is the limited local market. The purchasing power of the Rwandan population is too low to stimulate the handicraft sector through high domestic demand. The export of craft and industrial products is often not profitable because of the high transport costs.


Tourism has increasingly become a motor for Rwanda's economy. For example, the tourism sector topped the foreign exchange income stream for the first time, ahead of coffee and tea, with revenues of US $ 42.3 million in 2007. In 2014, the state authority for tourism and nature conservation counted more than one million visitors for the first time. The income generated here increased by 14%. The tourism sector currently expects total annual revenues of over US $ 400 million.

The main attraction for tourists are the mountain gorillas that live in the region of the Virunga volcanoes on the border between Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Not least because of the movie "Gorillas in the Fog" they have become famous around the world. Since then, attention to these critically endangered primates has steadily increased. The government relies on tourism as an economic engine and promotes intensive industry expansion. However, there are various reasons against developing the natural potential more quickly. The competition from neighboring countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is fierce. The accommodation establishments - measured by international standards - predominantly have a low standard. However, the government relies less on the high number of visitors and more on high-priced ecotourism. Hotels with a higher or luxury standard were built in Kigali, on Lake Kivu and near the national parks. Furthermore, exclusive lodges can be found in the volcano national park in the north of the country.

The road network is only partially developed; it does not allow year-round traffic outside of the main connecting routes.

There has been a growing number of visitors over the past few years. This is due, among other things, to the strong growth in investments in hotel construction. A lot has also happened with flight connections. KLM has now joined the former only airline, Brussels Airlines, with direct flights from Europe. With South African Airways, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, Rwanda's capital Kigali has had additional international providers since the beginning of 2012.

To accelerate growth in the tourism sector, the government has expanded its strategy and placed an additional focus on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE). The intention is to make the country an attractive destination for international conferences and other events. The income generated in this specific area, which was around US $ 49 million in 2013, is expected to triple in the future.
In order to create appropriate framework conditions, significant investments were made in necessary infrastructure measures. With the “Kigali Convention Center” an iconic conference center was completed in June 2016. In combination with a five-star hotel of the well-known hotel chain “Radisson Blue”, the new infrastructure complex offers good conditions for top-class events of all kinds. The 27th African Summit was the first major event for the institution from 11 to 18 July 2016 Union house.

Hotel capacities have increased overall, for example the hotel chain Marriott in Kigali has opened its first hotel in sub-Saharan Africa in the upscale hotel category.
In addition, the Bugesera International Airport - a new, modern airport already under construction - will offer additional capacities for passenger and freight transport.

Foreign trade

Rwanda's foreign trade shows a high import surplus. The export products include, in addition to the traditional export goods coffee and tea, also the mining products cassiterite, tungsten and colombo tantalite (coltan). Despite increasing exports, there is regularly an enormous trade deficit, which according to various estimates is around 1500 million US $ annually.

Imports to Rwanda are dominated by capital goods, machinery and vehicles, followed by food, chemical and intermediate products. Significant trade barriers exist, on the one hand, in import duties (from 25% for various finished goods to 100% for luxury products (exceptions apply to COMESA countries), no import duties are levied on certain capital goods. On the other hand, there are severe technical deficiencies in the logistics of border clearance (no cold stores at customs etc.).

The inland location in central East Africa and the lack of a railroad are major economic obstacles for Rwanda. 9/10 of foreign trade is carried out by truck. The two transport corridors via Kampala in Uganda to Mombasa and through Tanzania to the port of Dar es Salaam are the only accesses to the Indian Ocean. The resulting high transport costs make the prices for the import and export products significantly more expensive.

In order to counteract the trade deficit, the government is trying to initiate new export promotion measures in addition to promoting existing export products. The plan originally developed for this purpose to set up a classic free trade zone turned out to be flawed. Instead, the focus has been on the establishment of a "Special Economic Zone" (SEZ). This involves a specific commercial area that is equipped with modern infrastructure and, overall, with the best possible framework conditions. These efforts are aimed at promoting investments, whereby The focus is on manufacturing industries that process local products for the regional market. The project is financed through a joint venture between the government, which has a 30% stake, and private companies.

Rwanda's main trading partners are China, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and the USA.

Rwanda's membership of the East African Community (EAC), which has existed since 2007, is increasingly having an impact on the regional exchange of goods. Above all, increasing imports from member countries with stronger industry can be observed, especially from Kenya.

Foreign exchange regulation is largely liberalized. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, the export is possible up to high limit amounts.

Development and development policy

Poverty Reduction, Millennium Development Goals

Based on the "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" of the UN, Rwanda worked out its first long-term strategic development plan "Vision 2020" in 2000. Its elementary goals were - in addition to the creation of a modern IT-supported and knowledge-based society - the modernization of agriculture, including the creation of non-agricultural jobs in the countryside. The government wanted to raise per capita income to the level of middle-income countries. In the period from 2017 to 2024, the current national strategy plan, "National Strategy for Transformation (NST1)", will create a bridge to the next long-term vision (Vision 2050).

The National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) formulated for the first time in 2002, as well as the successor plans, were both embedded in Vision 2020. The successor papers EDPRS and EDPRS II, with a strong emphasis on economic development, were implemented from 2007 to 2012 and 2013 to 2018, respectively. The current development phase has been based - in accordance with the current government program - on NST1 since 2017. The focus is on strengthening the private sector, which will play a central role in the future. Associated with this is the effort to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) and the expansion of the export sector.

The efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which should be implemented by the end of 2015, were positive in Rwanda. The Rwandan government was correspondingly positive about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), the global follow-up project that has been running from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2030. The competent council of the United Nations has decided to set up the regional center for Africa to support the implementation of the SDGs in the region in Rwanda. This can be seen as recognition of the special commitment of the Rwandan government with regard to the implementation of the MDGs and SDGs that have already taken place as well as the future.

National development efforts

The Rwandan government, which was well aware of the economic effects of the negative image abroad due to the well-known genocide, has for many years been following a reform agenda aimed at removing restrictions on private investment. With the establishment of an export and investment agency in 2004 (Riepa), today RDB, combined with a so-called "one-stop center" for investors, the formalities have been greatly simplified. Since 1994 the country has made significant progress in rebuilding its economic and social infrastructure. His achievements in guaranteeing security across the country and a well-functioning administration for the region are recognized by international organizations and bilateral partners, but also increasingly by private investors. The comparatively low level of corruption that the country has recorded in recent years also plays an important role in the good investment climate. In its annual ranking of the last few years, Transparency International ranks Rwanda around 50th place (currently 51st place) out of around 180 countries examined. Rwanda is thus significantly better placed than all neighboring countries and in third place in Africa after Botswana and the island state of Cape Verde .

The government has sought to privatize all state-owned companies. The largest privatization projects in 2005 included the Rwandan telephone company Rwandatel, the state cultivation and processing of tea, and majority stakes in the commercial banks BACAR and BCR. According to the government's privatization plan, this is 35 of the former 70 companies, including the energy monopoly EESC (formerly Electrogaz).

Foreign development efforts

Budget funding in Rwanda is donor-dependent. The Rwandan government works very closely with the multilateral institutions IMF, World Bank and related agencies and banks (IDA, AfDB). With regard to "aid effectiveness", the state is clearly making efforts to implement the requirements, even if this leads to problems in terms of social policy.

The most visible measures were the tightening of the budget, the reform of the territorial structure, the reduction in the number of public employees, but also the cut in public expenditure for management costs (e.g. sale of almost the entire public vehicle fleet in 2005).
The IMF and the budget support donors oriented towards it honor this. Rwanda reached the HIPC "completion point" in April 2005, the IMF again awarded a so-called Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and the share of budget support in total development aid increased.

Other important multilateral donors are the EU and the UN programs, including the UNDP and the World Food Program (WFP).

At the bilateral level, the most important donor countries are the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Numerous NGOs are also present in Rwanda with a wide variety of projects.

German economic, development and aid organizations in the country

Since 2001, Rwanda has been one of the priority partner countries of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Numerous projects were implemented during this time. Rwandan-German development cooperation currently focuses on the priority areas of decentralization and sustainable economic development (private sector promotion and vocational training).

At the beginning of June 2013, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, paid an official visit to Rwanda.

In addition to the implementing organizations GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) and CIM, the KfW development bank is now constantly represented on site. GIZ is also active in the work of the Civil Peace Service on site. The Sparkassenstiftung is also active in microfinance.

Economic relations between Rwanda and Germany have long played a subordinate role. The few German commercial enterprises that have been active on the Rwandan market up to now have limited themselves to the trade sector or have carried out infrastructure projects. The main trading products are machines from Germany to Rwanda and coffee and tea are delivered in the opposite direction. The contribution to the respective total volume remains negligibly small.

At the beginning of 2018, the car group Volkswagen, the first major German company to register in Rwanda. The company presented investment plans that represent a vision for the future in the African context. VW is currently building a plant in the capital, Kigali, in which small vehicles and medium-sized SUVs will be built in the future. In the long term, VW intends to produce electric vehicles in Rwanda. Furthermore, the activities are to be extended to the "Mobility" business area (car rental, car sharing, etc.).

In this context, the cross-divisional initiative "Moving Rwanda" was created. In cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), Rwandan partners, as well as with the other major German companies Siemens and SAP as well as the medium-sized company Inros Lackner, a digital traffic concept with a focus on the mobility and training of skilled workers in Rwanda. The starting signal for the initiative was given on February 28, 2018.

In the field of cultural cooperation, Deutsche Welle (DW) operated one of its few shortwave relay stations in Kigali for almost 40 years until March 2015. The colonial residence of the first German General Resident (Kandt House), Richard Kandt, was renovated and officially opened as a small museum for visitors in April 2004. The Goethe Institute is present in the capital Kigali with a small team.

The partnership between Rhineland-Palatinate and Rwanda has existed since 1982. The unique form of decentralized, citizen-oriented development cooperation geared to the basic needs of people creates a framework for citizens, communities, church institutions, associations and other social groups in both countries to meet.

Today over 450 initiatives and Rwanda groups in municipalities, cities and counties as well as over 240 schools and universities have established relationships with partners in Rwanda. Since the beginning of the partnership, more than a thousand grass-roots small projects have been carried out in Rwanda to help people help themselves, to provide basic education and to fight poverty.

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