Rwanda, located in East Africa, is regarded as the fastest growing economy and most advanced country in Africa. With an economy advancing 8.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, Rwanda is considered to be on the right path to development.
Despite its blossoming economy in recent times, Rwanda has suffered from a brutal genocide in 1994 which led to a mass slaughter of between 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu.
The country has since moved on from its dark past and embraced growth and development. Here are some interesting facts about Rwanda you probably never knew.
First country to ban plastic bags
Plastic has become a global nuisance as tonnes of these indisposable items keep polluting our water bodies. Rwanda was the first country in the world to ban plastic bags. They did so in 2006, and you can see the impact if you travel around the country today. The countryside and cities are remarkably and refreshingly trash- and plastic bag-free.
Changed its national language from French to English overnight
Kinyarwanda is the language spoken the most in Rwanda. As a former Belgian colony, it was also a Francophone country. French was the language of education, business transactions, and government affairs. English was later added as a third official language in the 1990s just after the genocide, but French remained the language of education, in classes and at school.
The change came about because English is arguably a more universal business language and Rwanda is surrounded by English-speaking neighbours. Sharing a spoken language helps to promote trade and exchange both within Africa and across the world.
60% of parliament members are women – a world record
In 2013, the Rwandan parliamentary elections ushered in a record-breaking 64 per cent of seats for women candidate making it the world record for women in politics. The number went up in 2017. Despite holding their seats for many years now, many women leaders in Rwanda still find their competency and capabilities questioned.
Rwanda has 5 volcanoes
Rwanda is a unique country with 5 major volcanoes. These are Karisimbi, Muhabura, Bisoke, Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Karisimbi which is the highest volcano among the others sitting at 4507m above sea level.
Has the oldest national park in Africa
Rwanda has four national parks. Volcanoes National Park is one of them and turns out to be the most visited of all. Volcanoes National Park is the oldest national park in Africa. It was gazetted into a national park as early as 1925.
Introduced use of drone to facilitate emergency medical services delivery
Rwanda is the first country to pilot blood delivery services in Africa and according to Silicon Valley-based company, Zipline, it now supplies 20 per cent of Rwanda’s blood supplies outside the capital Kigali.