Collapse of Rwanda

Brian Hall and Kylie Schaffer

Thesis Statement

Although the genocide in Rwanda severely damaged the economy and caused the government to lose control, Rwanda has already made large strides towards becoming a stable country and rebuild the economy.

The Genocide

The most prominent factor of the collapse of Rwanda is definitely the genocide. The massacre really damaged economy and caused some major political problems. Rwanda's main income comes from farming crops like coffee and tea, but during the genocide the Tutsis could not leave the protection of their homes without getting attacked. Not to mention, the Tutsis that died couldn't work, thus causing less crops to be farmed which meant less money. Although the genocide ended, the memories did not fade and the surviving Tutsis find it hard to live alongside the people who may have killed their family members. One Tutsi actually committed suicide after seeing the man who killed her father walking freely on the street.

Government Struggles

Conflicts between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda first began in around 1959 when Mwami Matara III, a Tutsi leader died. Although his death was not caused by Hutu revolt, Tutsi people responded to his death by slaughtering many Hutu leaders. Because Hutu people had been serving for Tutsis for many years the slaughter of their people upset them very much. Hutus responded to this with a massacre of 100,000 Tutsis. Hutu extremists within Rwanda’s political elite blamed the entire Tutsi minority population for the country’s increasing social, economic, and political pressures. The conflict between the two ethnicities resulted in thousands of deaths of innocent people including women and children. On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down. This created more tension between the Hutu and Tutsi people, angering the Hutu people even more. All of these events were the causes behind the Tutsi genocide, resulting in 75% of the Tutsi people being killed.


Although Rwanda has come very close to political collapse, they have managed to avoid it and even begin to improve their system after many tragic events. Shortly after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu people tried to take political power. They were not in power for very long because of Tutsi-dominated groups like the RPF knocked down Hutu power and President Paul Kagame took control. Although the Rwandans are fully responsible for the genocide, governments elsewhere share the shame of the crime because they failed to prevent it. Policymakers in France, Belgium, and the United States and at the United Nations were aware of the preparations for massive slaughter and failed to take the steps needed to prevent it. Although there are not many positive things that came after the genocide, Rwanda has done a great job beginning to recover. The nation’s economy, based largely on coffee, tea, and tourism, has been able to strengthen since the genocide. Rwanda joined The Commonwealth of Nations in 2009. The country is also currently a member of the United Nations and the African Union. Even though Rwanda came very close to collapse, they managed to avoid it and have started to rebuild themselves strong.

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Work Cited

Works Cited

Bouchard, Jen Westmoreland. "Country Guides." AtoZ the World Home Page. World Trade Press, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

"Economy of Rwanda." Princeton University. Princeton, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

McGreal, Chris. "Rwanda Genocide 20 Years On: 'We Live with Those Who Killed Our Families. We Are Told They're Sorry, but Are They?'"