U.S. Relations With Rwanda

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
June 20, 2016

More information about Rwanda is available on the Rwanda Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Rwanda in 1962, following its independence from a Belgian-administered trusteeship. From 1990 to 1994, the country saw civil war and genocide. The United States seeks to help Rwanda meet the needs of its population, including increased social cohesion in a peaceful, democratic, and inclusive Rwanda that provides good governance and an economically enabling environment. The United States supports Rwandan efforts to increase democratic participation, enhance respect for civil and political rights, and improve the quality and outcomes of health care and basic education. Rwanda is one of the world’s poorest countries, but it has made progress in developing national and local government institutions, economic development, maintaining security, promoting reconciliation, achieving Millennium Development Goals, and strengthening the justice system.

U.S. Assistance to Rwanda

The United States assists Rwanda in providing basic health services for the populace; expanding economic opportunities in rural areas, particularly through a strengthened agricultural production and food security program; protecting and promoting the country’s unique biodiversity; strengthening democracy engagement between civil society and government; expanding access to electricity; and improving the foundational educational system and skills (literacy, numeracy, and workforce readiness) that prepare Rwandan youth for a modern service-based economy. These goals are carried out through various presidential initiatives: Feed the Future; Global Climate Change; Power Africa; Trade Africa; and the Global Health Initiative, including the President’s Malaria Initiative and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). U.S. assistance in Rwanda also supports regional economic integration to spur business development, entrepreneurship, and increased employment opportunities.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Rwanda is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The United States and Rwanda have a trade and investment framework agreement (signed in 2006) and a bilateral investment treaty (signed in 2011). The United States also has signed trade and investment framework agreements with the East African Community and with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Rwanda is a member of both regional organizations.

U.S. business interests in Rwanda have been modest, with private U.S. investment in tea, coffee, energy, mining, water treatment, banking, franchising, and small holdings in services and manufacturing. U.S. exports to Rwanda include aircraft, pharmaceutical products, machinery, optic and medical instruments, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Rwanda include coffee, basketwork, tungsten ore, and apparel and accessories.

Rwanda's Membership in International Organizations

Rwanda and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and World Intellectual Property Organization. Rwanda is also a member of a number of regional organizations, including the African Union, East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda is Erica J. Barks-Ruggles; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Rwanda maintains an embassy in the United States at 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-232-2882).

More information about Rwanda is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Rwanda Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Rwanda Page
U.S. Embassy: Rwanda
USAID Rwanda Page
History of U.S. Relations With Rwanda
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Travel and Business Information