Rwanda Collapse

Matt Burger

Background info

  • Had a genocide which took place in 1994. There were an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 Rwandan's killed.
  • 3 Tribes: Hutu, Tutsi, Twa.
  • Land locked country.
  • Colonized by Belgium and Germany.
  • 1994 dictatorship started the genocide of Rwanda.
  • Unplanned pregnancies resulted because of the increase in rapes.
  • Big coffee export to the US still today(Main Economy Created by exports to US).


Rwanda, because of overpopulation, deforestation, and shortages of food, collapsed which lead to the Genocide of 1994.

Reason 1: Over Population

  • The population of Rwanda Grew incredibly because there was a food surplus. The food created a baby boom, and a higher death age. People, in time learned to eat a healthy amount of food, and there was plenty to share with the whole population. Jared Diamond Predicts that the population will still increase after the food surplus stops. This will lead in a famine, resulting in the failure of the Rwandan country.
  • Over population was a large factor to the collapse of Rwanda because there wasn't enough land for the citizens to live on.
  • Rwanda's population density was,"…triple even that of Africa's third most densely populated country (Nigeria), and 10 times that of neighboring Tanzania"(Collapse 313). Rwanda is so small which creates a hard setting for a country of that size to have such a large population.

Rwanda's Population Growth

Rwanda's Population Density

Reason 2: Food Shortage

  • Overpopulation Was one of the main reasons the food shortage happened. There was soon not enough land for the farmers to use because the land was soon turned into cities, and villages. The collapse was created by the lack of land to farm on, and the surplus of people made it harder to create arable land for the farmers to work on.
  • Additionally, there were many droughts which led to country wide famines. These happened almost every summer.
  • The prices of coffee dropped 50% from 1989-1992 because the coffee exporters were not agreeing on many things, which led to poor exportation. This created less jobs because the exportation of coffee is a very important part of the Rwandan economy. Global issues said, "For Rwanda, the consequences of the collapse of coffee prices meant a 50 percent drop in export earnings between 1989 and 1991"(Global Issues). After a while people stopped producing the coffee because it was making no money, this lead to a famine which ultimately lead to Rwanda's Collapse.
  • In the end, food shortages and decreased coffee prices proved to be a big part of Rwanda's collapse.

Coffee Exports Following the Collapse

Hungry Rwandan's From the Food Shortage

Reason 3: Deforestation

  • Rwanda had to deal with the population growth by, "...clearing forests and draining marshes to gain new farmland, shortening fallow periods, and trying to extract two or three consecutive crops from a field within one year"(Collapse 319). In result of the growing population, the government needed to figure a way to fix their problem of space. They decided to cut down forests to make room which led to deforestation. People needed to make more houses and farms.
  • Deforestation created many problems for Rwanda. The deforestation created a dryer climate which dried up the rivers and lakes. This created a water shortage. The water shortage then led to a large famine which killed many people. Rwanda was an example of a country that did not know what to do without resources like land, and water.

Rwanda's Deforestation Issue

Works Cited

1: Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.

2: Koopmans, Andy. Rwanda. Philadelphia: Mason Crest, 2005. Print.

3: "History - Official Website of the Government of Rwanda." Official Website of the Government of Rwanda. © 2014 Government of the Republic of Rwanda, 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2014. This is a reliable source because it is from the actual website of the country. I would agree that this site might be a little biased, but overall it has valid information. The people who wrote this were there to actually see what occurred. This is a current website because it has been updated for the government every year. After serious evaluation, this is a credible source.

4: Shah, Anup. "Rwanda." Global Issues. Global Issues, 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. This website is a credible source because the author is very good. She uses citations from where the information was from, and also the article is complete, and up to date. It was published in 2013, when the event we had studied occurred over 15 years ago. In conclusion, this site is credible.