With its 12 million inhabitants, the small landlocked country of Rwanda is the most densely populated nation in Africa. Rwanda's official languages are Kinyarwanda (a Bantu language), French and English. Although Kinyarwanda is the most widely spoken, most official administration is conducted in English. Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in late 2009 and is also a member of La Francophonie, the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Rwanda contributes to a number of UN peacekeeping missions in Africa and is recognised as a model for gender equality and political representation of women.
Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide in 1994, in which 800,000 Rwandans were massacred. Since recovering from this period of deep instability, Rwanda has enjoyed consistent economic growth and is in the top five fastest growing economies in Africa (2016). Prudent fiscal and monetary policies geared towards maintaining macroeconomic stability, coupled with an emphasis on building institutional capacity, promoting good governance, and creating a business-friendly environment, contributed to low inflation and average annual economic growth in excess of 8 percent over the last decade.
Despite this growth, and receiving significant amounts of foreign aid, poverty remains widespread. Ninety percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and some mineral and agro-processing, yet food production often fails to meet demand, necessitating food imports. Rwanda has committed to reducing its aid dependency by attracting foreign investment though a diversified export base and improved infrastructure, including transport links with neighbouring countries.
Australia's diplomatic representation to Rwanda is from the High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya. Rwanda's diplomatic representation to Australia is from an Honorary Consulate in Melbourne.
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