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GIZ has been working in Rwanda for more than 40 years. We have maintained an office in Rwanda since 1999. Currently 99 national and 32 international employees, 6 integrated specialists and 28 development workers are working in the country (as of 31.12.2017).

Rwanda is one of the smallest states in Africa and the continent’s most densely populated country. Located in the heart of Africa, Rwanda gained independence from Belgium in 1962. During colonial rule, divisions between the country’s ethnic communities – the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa peoples – were deepened. Rwanda’s history has therefore been one defined by conflicts. From 1959, periodic outbreaks of violence against the Tutsi flared up, resulting in deaths and the expulsion of refugees with no right of return. The October 1990 attack by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a rebel group of exiled Rwandans, must be seen in this context. A civil war and massacres then ensued, culminating in the genocide of the Tutsis in 1994, in which approximately one million people – Tutsis, Twa and moderate Hutus – were brutally murdered over a period of one hundred days. The genocide ended when the RPF came to power. The years that followed were difficult: almost four million internally displaced persons and refugees returned home from other parts of Rwanda or abroad to a difficult internal security situation. Internal unrest and regional conflict continued for some time before the Government and military were able to restore security and order within Rwanda‘s borders.

The transitional government formed after the genocide introduced numerous reforms that managed to stabilise the country. Elections have taken place since 2003. More than half of Rwanda’s members of parliament are women. Although resource-poor, Rwanda is projected to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Notable successes are being achieved in the fields of health care, food security and primary education. Thanks to its zero-tolerance strategy in the fight against corruption, Transparency International ranks Rwanda fourth best performer in Africa and 49th in the world. Despite progress in many areas, however, 56.9 per cent of the Rwandan population still survive on less than a dollar a day, and life expectancy is just 51 years. Annual population growth remains high at 2.7 per cent.

Immediately after the genocide, GIZ’s two predecessor organisations were among the first international organisations to resume their activities in Rwanda as of September 1994. Since 2000, Rwanda has been a priority country for German bilateral cooperation, focusing on two priority areas: 

  • Good governance
  • Sustainable economic development

We support economic development, human capacity building, the consolidation of democratic structures, and efforts to achieve a lasting peace. Our services mainly focus on improving skills, resources and performance (capacity development).