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Rwanda

Yearbook 2018

Rwanda. At the September parliamentary elections, the ruling party Rwanda's Patriotic Front (FPR) maintained its strong grip on power. President Paul Kagame's party won 40 of the 53 directly elected seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Two other parties supporting the government, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Liberal Party (PL), received 5 and 4 seats respectively. The only allowed opposition party The Democratic Green Party got two seats, the party's first. Two mandates trick the Social Party Imberakuri (PSI). A further 27 members were elected indirectly. They represent women, young people and people with disabilities. The quota system means that women are in the majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

2018 Rwanda

According to Countryaah.com, the International Monetary Fund anticipated that the country's growth in 2018 would be 7.2%, up one percentage point compared to 2017. Investments in the public sector as well as the construction and agricultural sectors boosted growth.

Rwanda, chairing the African Union (AU), hosted a summit in March when 44 African countries signed a free trade agreement, AfCFTA. However, the agreement must be approved by each country's parliament.

Both China's President Xi Jinping and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi made historic visits to Rwanda in July on their way to a summit in South Africa with the emerging economies of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa). Both Asian giants promised loans and investment.

Women accounted for 50% of the new government Kagame appointed in October. Several ministers were replaced, including the Minister of Defense who has been sitting since 2010. Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo left the post after nine years when she became Secretary-General of the Organization de la Francophonie (OIF). It is a cultural, scientific and economic cooperation organization for French-speaking countries and regions.

This was preceded by a certain icing with France. Kagame visited Paris in May and was then promised by President Emmanuel Macron on French support for Rwanda to lead the OIF. Relations between the two countries have at times been strained when Rwanda blamed French officials for aiding the 1994 genocide.

In September, opposition politician Victoire Ingabire was pardoned, who in 2013 was sentenced to 15 years in prison for threatening security and impairing genocide in 1994. She was released together with over 2,000 prisoners.

Human rights groups maintained that the media and government opponents are under pressure and demanded that arbitrary imprisonment and torture be stopped.

Activist Diane Shima Rwigara was indicted in November for rioting. Prosecutors requested that she be sentenced to 22 years in prison. She was released to bail in October after more than a year in prison. Rwigara was barred from running for the 2017 presidential election.

In June, the Stockholm District Court sentenced a 49-year-old Rwandan-born man to life for genocide and international law. It was the third case of its kind tried in Sweden. The man has appealed to Svea Court of Appeal.

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