Rwanda (RW)

1.  Language information / Données sur les langues

1.1  Languages spoken / Langues parlées

a) Official / Officielle(s) :

Kinyarwanda, French, English

b) National, indigenous / Nationale(s), indigène(s) :

Almost the entire population speaks Kinyarwanda.

Ethnologue's list includes Kinyarwanda, French and English. See

c) Relevant pages in the Major Languages section of this report / Pages appropriées dans la section de ce rapport sur les Langues principales :


1.2  Language policy / Politique de langue

a) Laws/legislation / Lois/législation :

The site L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde has a page on Rwanda at

b) Agencies / Agences :

Four institutions "involved in or responsible for African Language research" in Rwanda (UNESCO 1985). Updated information is needed:

  • Académie rwandaise de culture - KIGALI
  • Institut de Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (IRST) (included the former Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) as of 1989)
  • Institut pédagogique national (IPN) - BUTARE
  • Faculté des Lettres, Université nationale du Rwanda, B.P. 117 -BUTARE

c) Languages in education/literacy / Langues dans l'éducation/l'alphabétisation :

The language of instruction in grades 1-3 is Kinyarwanda; afterwards it is French or English. (Wikipedia)

UNDP (2006) gives a literacy figure (without reference to which language[s]) of: 64.9%

1.3  Writing in national/indigenous languages / Ecriture en langues nationales/indigènes

a) Orthographies / Orthographes :

The Latin alphabet is used.

b) Print publications / Editions imprimées :

UNESCO (1985) reported the following periodicals (name, frequency of publication, circulation, language). Updated information is needed:

  • Imwaho, weekly, 20,000, Kinyarwanda
  • Kinyamateka, fortnightly, 12,500, Kinyarwanda
  • Hobe, monthly, 95,000, Kinyarwanda
  • Umunyamuryango/Le Cooperateur/Trafipro, monthly, 12,000, French/Kinyarwanda/Kiswahili

1.4  Other comments / Autre commentaire

Rwanda is one of the few countries in Africa where virtually all the population has the same mother tongue - Kinyarwanda. Kinyarwanda and Kirundi (language of neighboring Burundi) are very similar.

2.  ICT situation / Situation des TIC

2.1  Infrastructure / Infrastructure

a) Telephones / Téléphones :

  • Fixed lines: Telephone mainlines: 3 per 1000 people (APC)
  • Mobile subscriptions: 134,000 (1.6 per 100 people) (ITU 2004 cited in Vodafone 2005)

"There has been a significant extension of mobile services [and] fixed services ... in Rwanda in the past three years" (Towards an African e-Index, published in 2005)

b) Radio stations / Stations de radio :

c) Connectivity / Connectivité :

  • International internet bandwidth / Bande passante internationale d'internet :
  • ISPs / FSI :
  • Geographic coverage / Couverture géographique :

2.2  Computer & internet access / Accès aux ordinateurs et à l'internet

a) Computers & points of access / Ordinateurs et lieux d'accès :

  • Number of computers / Nombre d'ordinateurs:
  • Cybercafés / Cybercafés:
  • Project telecentres / Télécentres de projets:

b) Internet / Internet :

  • Dial-up subscribers / Abonnés par ligne téléphonique :
  • Internet users / Utilisateurs de l'internet : 38,000 Internet users as of Sept/05, 0.4% of the population, per ITU (Internet World Stats)

"Internet access and penetration is increasing rapidly, especially in the capital city of Kigali and the other major urban areas. This is the only service where competition has played a key role in terms of lowering the cost of access and usage, increasing access, especially through cyber cafés, as many Rwandans cannot afford computers and the Internet in their households. A number of Internet access technologies with higher bandwidth, including ISDN, frame relay, VSAT and wireless options, are available for corporate and educational institutions." (Nsengiyumva & Stork, "Rwanda," in Towards an African e-Index)

c) Other / Autre :

  • Digital Opportunity Index (DOI): 0.08 (ITU 2006)

2.3  ICT policy / Politique de TIC

Rwanda's first Integrated Socio-Economic Policy and Plan (2001-2005) "is anchored on eight pillars, namely human resources, ICT infrastructure, e-government, community access, ICT in education, legal and regulatory provisions, private sector facilitation and foreign direct investment, all which aim at promoting ICT." (Nsengiyumva & Stork, "Rwanda," in Towards an African e-Index)

RITA, the Rwanda Information Technology Authority, apparently plays a key role in ICT.

The APC page, "ICT Policy in Rwanda" has some information and links:

2.4  ICT4D/E & ICT training / TIC pour le développement/éducation, et formation en TIC

"... the Ministry of Education is planning to acquire a significant number of computers, including 4,000 assembled computers for secondary and primary schools with an average of 10 computers per school and Internet access for each school with an average of 128 kbps bandwidth." (Nsengiyumva & Stork, "Rwanda," in Towards an African e-Index)

2.5  Resources / Ressources

3.  Localisation situation / Situation de localisation

3.1  Country web content / Contenu web du pays

3.2  Web content in indigenous languages / Contenu web en langues indigènes

(See also specific language pages.)

3.3  Software localisation / Localisation de logiciel

(See also specific language pages.)

3.4  Projects & organisations / Projets et organisations

3.5  Localisation policy / Politique de localisation

No comprehensive ICT localisation policy is known of, however projects by RITA for localisation of and by IRST for an online Kinyarwanda dictionary seem to indicate a commitment to localisation.

4.  References / Références

APC, "ICT Policy in Rwanda," Africa ICT Policy Monitor,

Balancing Act Africa. 2005. African Internet Country Profiles, Part 2, East Africa. London: Balancing Act.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU). 2006. World Information Society Report 2006. Geneva: ITU.

______. 2004. African Telecommunication Indicators 2004. Geneva: ITU.

Internet World Stats: Africa. 2006.

Leclerc, Jacques. L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde, "Rwanda,"

Nsengiyumva, Albert, and Christoph Stork,. 2005. "Rwanda." In Gillwald, Alison (ed.), Towards an African e-Index: Household and individual ICT Access and Usage Across 10 African Countries. (Research ICT Africa!, ; direct link to the article in PDF: )

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Languages of Rwanda,"

UNDP. 2006. ''Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. Human Development Report 2006.'' New York: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). [Human development index Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) (HDI) ]

UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa. 1985. African Community Languages and Their Use in Literacy and Education: A Regional Survey. Dakar: UNESCO.

Vodafone. 2005. "Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones." The Vodafone Policy Paper Series, Number 3, March 2005.

Wikipedia, "Education in Rwanda,"

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