The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is highly elevated, giving it the nickname “land of a thousand hills”. Rwanda has a population of over 12.6 million living on 26,338 km2 (10,169 sq mi) of land, and is the most densely populated mainland African country. A million people live in the capital and largest city Kigali.
The population is young and predominantly rural; Rwanda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with the average age being 19 years. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda. However, within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people and are often considered descendants of Rwanda’s earliest inhabitants.
Rwanda’s developing economy suffered heavily in the wake of the 1994 genocide, but has since strengthened. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country’s leading foreign exchange earner. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture, particularly drums and the highly choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art.