Rwanda Country Report
Rwanda is working to attract foreign direct investment by improving, for example, the ICT sector and creating a more conducive business environment, including through targeted tax holidays and reduced corporate tax rates. Although corruption exists, Rwanda is among the least corrupt countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in both the public and private sectors. Infrastructural challenges, including being landlocked and poor roads away from population centres and major routes, present an impediment to investment. However, the government is trying to overcome such challenges, including through its membership of the East African Community (EAC) bloc.
Vigilant security forces will likely continue to limit militant raids to brief cross-border attacks in the northwest (particularly Rubavu and Musanze districts) and along the southern border (particularly Rusizi, Nyaruguru, and Nyamagabe districts). The MRCD-FNL established a presence in Nyungwe forest during March–April 2019, but this has likely been disrupted by subsequent military operations. Raids will most likely target remote government assets, but security forces will provide effective protection to towns, major commercial projects, and tourist sites. Grenade attacks, which have decreased significantly since 2013, will likely remain rare, but are most probable in peripheral urban areas (with lower security) in Kigali, in Rwanda's northwest, and along the Burundian border.
Although relatively safe by regional standards, crime has become a growing problem in Rwanda. Petty theft, including pick-pocketing, is still the most common type of crime, and will likely increase slightly in frequency following prisoner releases to decongest jails during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such crimes are rarely accompanied by violence or use of firearms. More violent types of crimes, such as robbery and home invasion, also occur. Other types of crime that affect foreign business personnel include deceptions such as currency counterfeiting. Instances of criminal collaboration by Rwandan police or local patrol (Irondo) personnel also occur particularly in Kigali’s informal settlements but mostly affect local residents. Rwanda has been accused of being a transshipment point and destination for illicit minerals and timber smuggled from neighbouring DRC, including in previous UN reports. More frequent incidents of Rwanda-based armed criminals raiding DRC's Idjwi Island (Lake Kivu) likely reflects DRC's deteriorated security situation, posing only low risks in Rwanda itself.
The efficacy of Rwandan security and intelligence services means that civil war is unlikely. This is despite slowly growing opposition in the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and among the public to President Paul Kagame continuing in office, which constitutional changes allow him to do until 2034. Despite deteriorated relations with Uganda and Burundi, and the presence of (Burundi- and Uganda-sponsored) anti-RPF militants in eastern DRC, escalation to interstate war with any of Rwanda's neighbours is unlikely. Instead, Rwanda will more likely seek to counter these threats by continuing and selectively increasing its support to its armed proxies in eastern DRC and Burundi.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over one year of age entering the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Storms and severe floods can impact the country during the rainy season, which are known to cause landslides, especially in rural areas.
Rwanda's infrastructure is vulnerable to seismic and volcanic activity. The most significant concern is Mount Nyiragongo volcano, and active volcano located within the DRC, near the Rwandan border. In January 2002, eruptions killed 47 people and destroying much of Goma (DRC). Violent eruptions may occur, and those in the region should monitor the situation.
Most recently, in August 2015, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered in Bukavu, eastern DRC, was felt as far as western provinces of Rwanda, though no casualties were reported.
The national road network is generally kept in good condition, especially roads from Kigali to all major towns. Despite the upkeep of the roads, driving after dark should be avoided as the roads are unlit and driving standards in the country are poor; serious collisions, often involving overtaking vehicles, are common.
Travel using 4x4 vehicles is recommended on rural and dirt roads, especially during the rainy seasons (main wet season March-June; low wet season October-November), during which some roads become impassable.
Police checkpoints are common throughout the country; vehicles and luggage may be searched. Speed limits should be respected to avoid getting fined. The national speed limit is 70 to 90 km/h (19 to 25 mi).
All drivers must have valid vehicle insurance. If responsible for an accident, a prison sentence from three to six months may be imposed.
It is advisable to avoid travel using taxi-bikes ("motos") due to the relatively high number of serious accidents. Mini bus services are somewhat safer, though they are still prone to accidents. Orange-stripped taxis are generally safe.
Rwanda has made a concerted effort to open itself to foreign investment and tourism, and as a result the country's infrastructure is undergoing significant development. A number of quality hotels have opened in Kigali as well as other tourist areas (e.g. in and around Ruhengeri for visitors wishing to see gorillas in Virunga National Park, in Nyungwe Forest National Park, and in Akagera National Park). Infrastructure remains more limited in rural and isolated areas.
The power grid is in poor condition and blackouts occur frequently, including in the capital (though most high-end hotels will have a generator). Kigali also suffers from water shortages, especially during the dry season, when water access is often cut.
Rwanda has an equatorial climate but temperatures are tempered by high elevations. Kigali, the capital, is situated at 1500 m above sea level. There are two rainy seasons: from February to April and again from November to January. Heavy rains are common during these two periods. During the dry season, temperatures are pleasant.
There are no emergency services in Rwanda.
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz