Rwanda, in east-central Africa, is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi. It is slightly smaller than Maryland. Steep mountains and deep valleys cover most of the country. Lake Kivu in the northwest, at an altitude of 4,829 ft (1,472 m), is the highest lake in Africa. Extending north of it are the Virunga Mountains, which include the volcano Karisimbi (14,187 ft; 4,324 m), Rwanda's highest point.
Rwanda is striving to rebuild its economy, with coffee and tea production among its main exports. The World Bank has praised Rwanda's "remarkable development successes", which have helped reduce poverty and inequality.
But Paul Kagame, who became president in 2000 and has effectively run Rwanda since 1994, faces criticism at home and abroad over his political and human-rights record.
When Paul Kagame became Rwanda's president in 2000, he inherited a country that had been torn apart by genocide. To rebuild it, he had to rely on mostly uneducated guerrilla fighters and a handful of ill-trained cadres. Even the most optimistic of analysts doubted his chances.
But 19 years later, the country is stable, prosperous, unified and, in large part, reconciled. Social services, such as education, healthcare, housing and livestock are provided to the needy, with no distinction of ethnicity or region of origin - two forms of discrimination that characterised the governments leading up to the genocide against the Tutsi, which Kagame, as leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), brought to an end.
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