Portal:Rwanda

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Introduction

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Rwanda (/ruˈɑːndə, -ˈæn-/ (About this soundlisten); Kinyarwanda: U Rwanda [u.ɾɡwaː.nda] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Republic of Rwanda (Kinyarwanda: Repubulika y'u Rwanda; Swahili: Jamhuri ya Rwanda; French: République du Rwanda), is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages. The sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.

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Maraba coffee (Kinyarwanda: Ikawa ya Maraba; French: Café de Maraba) is grown in the Maraba area of southern Rwanda.

Maraba's coffee plants are the Bourbon variety of the Coffea arabica species and are grown on fertile volcanic soils on high-altitude hills. The fruit is handpicked, mostly during the rainy season between March and May, and brought to a washing station in Maraba, where the coffee beans are extracted and dried. At several stages, the beans are sorted according to quality. The farmers receive credits based on the amount and quality of the beans they provide.

The beans are sold to various roasting companies, with the best beans going to Union Coffee Roasters of the United Kingdom, who produce a produce a Fairtrade-certified brand and Community Coffee of the United States. Rwanda Specialty Coffee Roasters buys from Maraba and sells to the domestic market. Maraba coffee is also brewed into a beer.

About 2,000 smallholder farmers grow the coffee plants under the Abahuzamugambi cooperative, founded in 1999. Since 2000, the cooperative has been supported by the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and the PEARL. The cooperative has improved coffee quality and penetrated the specialty market. (Read more...)

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GahingaMuhabura.png
Credit: Steve Holt

Mount Gahinga and Mount Muhabura, on the border between Rwanda and Uganda.

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Paul Kagame (born October 23, 1957) is the current President of the Republic of Rwanda. He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose victory over the incumbent government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide. Under his leadership, Rwanda has been called Africa's "biggest success story" and Kagame has become a public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become self-reliant though questions linger about whether or not he had a role in civilian massacres in Rwanda around the time of the 1994 genocide, and his country's occupation, plunder and killings of civilians in the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Second Congo War, in which an estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998.

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