Year
Rwanda
x

    Rwanda

    Capital

    Kigali

    Population

    12,626,950

    Area

    26,340 km²

    Geography type

    Landlocked

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 10,354.42 million

    GDP per capita

    $820.00

    Income group

    Low income

    3.680.34

    Criminality Score

    51st of 54 African countries

    10th of 11 Central Africa countries

    Criminal market

    4.100.30

    Human Trafficking

    5.000.00

    Human Smuggling

    2.50-0.50

    Arms Trafficking

    5.000.50

    Flora Crimes

    3.000.00

    Fauna Crimes

    5.000.00

    Non-Renewable Resource Crimes

    8.002.00

    Heroin Trade

    3.000.00

    Cocaine Trade

    2.501.00

    Cannabis Trade

    4.000.00

    Synthetic Drug Trade

    3.000.00

    Criminal Actors

    3.250.37

    Mafia-Style Groups

    1.000.00

    Criminal Networks

    3.000.50

    State-Embedded Actors

    5.000.00

    Foreign Actors

    4.001.00

    5.50-0.25

    Resilience Score

    6th of 54 African countries

    1st of 11 Central Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    5.50-1.00

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    5.50-0.50

    International Cooperation

    5.00-1.00

    National Policies and Laws

    6.00-0.50

    Judicial System and Detention

    5.000.00

    Law Enforcement

    7.000.00

    Territorial Integrity

    6.00-1.50

    Anti-Money Laundering

    6.000.00

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    6.000.00

    Victim and Witness Support

    5.500.00

    Prevention

    5.000.00

    Non-State Actors

    3.501.50

    5.5 3.25 4.1 5.5 3.25 4.1

    5.50-0.25

    Resilience Score

    6th of 54 African countries

    1st of 11 Central Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    5.50-1.00

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    5.50-0.50

    International Cooperation

    5.00-1.00

    National Policies and Laws

    6.00-0.50

    Judicial System and Detention

    5.000.00

    Law Enforcement

    7.000.00

    Territorial Integrity

    6.00-1.50

    Anti-Money Laundering

    6.000.00

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    6.000.00

    Victim and Witness Support

    5.500.00

    Prevention

    5.000.00

    Non-State Actors

    3.501.50

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

    People

    Rwanda is a country of origin, a waypoint and, although to a lesser extent, a destination market for victims of human trafficking, subjected to combat trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labour. For those fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries, Rwanda’s relative political and economic stability make it a destination or transit point for many irregular migrants and refugees. The country is not always a safe haven for refugees, however, and some people fleeing conflict and political violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi become exposed to exploitation in Rwanda. There are allegations of female, and child refugees being subjected to sex trafficking in Congolese refugee camps, and of children being drafted into militias fighting in Burundi and the DRC. Most accounts describe Rwandan migrants travelling on their own rather than using the help of local smugglers. Nevertheless, reports also hint at various criminal networks supporting the migrant flows. Regional conflicts and Rwanda's conflict legacy mean that smuggling networks are active and established but operate with minimal violence or state attention.

    Trade

    Due to the legacy of the civil war (1990–1994), regional instability and porous borders, a high number of unregulated small arms and light weapons are in circulation in Rwanda. While these weapons are allegedly used in local robberies and grenade attacks, violence rates are low.

    Environment

    Although Rwanda has taken steps to improve governance in the extractive sector, the country is still engaged in the illegal and illicit exploitation of Congolese resources, especially gold, tin and tantalum. The illicit trade and laundering of illegally mined non-renewables are significant for Rwanda, and commonly believed to be one of the drivers of the country’s growth. Moreover, while it does not occur on a major scale, wildlife trafficking, including that of ivory and rhino horn, remains a concern. Poaching is limited, but illicit products such as ivory, rhino horn, and other endangered species have been recorded as being transported through Rwanda in relatively high amounts. These often originate in Burundi and the DRC. Furthermore, Rwanda is a source and transit country for birds traded on the exotic pet market such as the grey crowned crane, which has had a significant reduction in population. A high degree of deforestation can be observed in Rwanda, as people exploit bamboo or firewood for fuel. However, this does not appear to be linked to organized criminal activity. Wood and charcoal are reportedly trafficked from the DRC to Rwanda, albeit to a limited extent.

    Drugs

    Rwanda’s role in global drug markets is minor. Cannabis is the most consumed and trafficked illegal drug in the country, and Rwanda is a transshipment point for regionally produced cannabis, as well as a minor destination market. The criminal market for heroin is limited in scale and scope. Driven primarily by wealthier young people in the cities, consumption rates are low. However, as the country becomes a regional economic hub and the national airline expands, Rwanda’s role in the transnational drug trade could potentially increase, and it could become a growing overland transshipment point for heroin arriving in East Africa destined for markets and transshipment points elsewhere in southern and Central Africa.

    The criminal market for cocaine is also believed to be limited in size, but there is evidence of trafficking and local use in Rwanda, with cocaine-related arrests taking place in Kigali. Cocaine is expected to arrive mainly via west and Central African airports. Little is known about the production, consumption and transportation of synthetic drugs in the country. The Gicumbi District in the north, has been identified as one of the main transit routes for the crude distilled gin known as kanyanga. This contraband is classified as a psychotropic substance due to its high alcohol content.

    Criminal Actors

    Politically-motivated, armed non-state actors and militias involved in the conflict in the DRC continue to play primary roles in criminal markets and war economies of the Great Lakes region. This is largely due to the nature of the complex conflict in eastern DRC, where Rwanda has played an important role ever since The First Congo War (1996–1997). In addition to direct military involvement until 2003, Rwanda has backed several proxies in the DRC, including the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), the March 23 Movement as well as other Tutsi and non-Tutsi groups. Rwanda has also been heavily engaged in the conflict in Burundi, possibly recruiting fighters and smuggling weapons. Alternatively, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is a predominantly Hutu rebel group that comprises ex-soldiers and supporters of the Rwandan regime behind the 1994 genocide. Operating out of eastern DRC, the FDLR continues to make incursions into Rwanda and from the Kigali perspective, remains a major national security threat. Foreign criminal actors and networks exist in Rwanda and are involved in a variety of smuggling activities. The country's porous borders allow for various smugglers and militias from the DRC and Burundi to pass into Rwanda, facilitating the smuggling of different illicit goods such as weapons and drugs.

    Along with criminal networks and foreign actors, state-embedded actors also engage in criminality. Reports have indicated that members of Rwanda's military are primarily involved in the smuggling of weapons. Conversely, there is no evidence to suggest the existence of domestic mafia-style groups in the country.

    Leadership and governance

    Rwanda is considered among the safest and most stable states on the continent. This stability, however, is underpinned by repression and has not led to democratic consolidation or expanded civil freedoms which are extremely limited. The government has prioritized the fight against crime, and crime prevention has become an increasingly significant part of the national strategy for public safety and security. However, Rwanda continues to face some fragility with pervasive group grievance and deep involvement in larger geopolitical struggles affecting the region. Levels of perceived corruption are moderate, but that may be due to the strong technocratic management of the state rather than a result of accountability or transparency. While Rwanda has implemented strict penalties for corruption by officials, petty corruption among police and government officials is a problem and cronyism is rampant. Large-scale corruption tends to gravitate around the ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

    Rwanda has shown a relatively high level of commitment to international cooperation against organized crime. The country has ratified most relevant international treaties, including the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It has been an active member of the East African Community and African Union, often supporting institutional reforms and regional instruments to help meet security challenges and threats. In addition, INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) for Rwanda is located at the Kigali national police headquarters. Still, Rwanda generally lacks cooperation mechanisms with other countries on matters such as human trafficking. In 2018, the Rwandan Parliament amended various articles of its penal code pertaining to organized crime, increasing the sentences for drug-related crimes substantially. The penal code also covers criminal fauna markets and stipulates the sentences for a variety of fauna crimes. The government passed its first-ever law relating to human trafficking in 2018, making trafficking in persons a criminal offence.

    Criminal justice and security

    Rwanda’s judiciary is not free from political interference and due process is far from guaranteed in cases with political significance. Rwandan courts lack efficiency. Nevertheless, the government has initiated reform of its justice system, seeking to modernize its judiciary and improve processing times for legal cases. Aside from corruption-related units, there are no judiciary-related specialized units in force with the aim of countering organized crime. Rwanda has at least two law enforcement units within the national police force tasked with countering organized crime, specifically financial and economic, and narcotics crimes. The Rwanda National Police lack specialized skills and have limited resources. However, community watch groups and other more informal crime prevention and law enforcement mechanisms often supplement police efforts and have become a source of resilience. While the Rwandan army actively patrols and secures borders, incursions by armed groups occur. Reports of rebel groups at the borders with the DRC and Burundi persist, and evidence suggests that these groups may cross over into Rwanda.

    Economic and financial environment

    Subsistence agriculture underpins the country’s economy, with tea and coffee being some of Rwanda’s biggest exports, as well as some manufacturing. Rwanda enjoys relative macroeconomic stability and a regulatory framework that, while far from perfect, is becoming increasingly conducive to investment and private sector development.

    The financial sector in Rwanda is modest and primarily dominated by banks. The country was assessed by the Financial Action Task Force in 2014, and significant scope for improvement was identified. Since then, Rwanda has taken considerable steps to establish a national AML/CFT framework and has made progress in modernizing the financial sector. While money-laundering and terrorist financing does not appear to be a major concern in Rwanda as of now, the laundering of proceeds from the DRC is a concern.

    Civil society and social protection

    The government has demonstrated increased efforts to provide treatment and victim support, evident in establishing a facility for short-term victim care, continuing the practice of anti-human trafficking awareness-raising and supporting the rehabilitation of victims of crime as well as drug users. However, the government could implement many more mechanisms to help victims of organized crime, and human trafficking in particular. A large number of civil-society organizations are emerging to address social needs. However, the space for independent civil-society organizations is limited and many NGOs face serious restrictions. Rwanda’s track record of respecting the freedom of the press has not been positive, and independent media in Rwanda face significant limitations.

    Analyses

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.