Intercultural Dialogue

Global Index (ICDI): Rwanda


Rwanda is a multicultural county with three main ethnicities Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium in 1962 and was engulfed into ethnic conflict that led to a civil war in 1990. In 1994, the Rwandan civil war exacerbated ethnic tensions across the country and culminated in one of the worst genocides (CIA Factbook 2021).

In post-genocide Rwanda, the state strove to foster reconciliation, and focused attention on promoting a new national identity that emphasized unity and ignored ethnic differences. The educational sector acted as the main implementation arm through its civic education curriculum (Russell 2008). In 2015, Rwanda launched its “National Cultural Heritage Policy” which aimed at emphasizing a collective “Rwandan culture, identity and values” and linking cultural promotion as a tool to drive forward the country’s development efforts. While such efforts aim to prevent hate speech and further conflicts, it may deter platforms and interactions to promote interculturalism.


Rwanda has attained an overall ICDI score of 0.43. A score of 0.79 in the component of intercultural attitudes indicates a relatively positive global social tolerance index and moderate levels of racist attitudes towards different ethnic groups. A score of 0.70 in the component of inclusion signals the presence of minority representation in the form of inclusion and relatively positive intergroup relations. In stark contrast, a score of 0.00 in the component of social contact reflects that there is no presence of cultural participation, indigenous or immigrant living languages. Furthermore, a score of -0.04 in the component of inequality indicates negative levels of economic inequality.

Current Situation and Outlook

Compared to its moderately positive situation pertaining to its opportunities dimension, Rwanda achieves lower than average scores in some components of its legislative and structural dimensions. A lower score in the structural dimension can be attributed to the components of social contact, (in)equality and access to communication. Rwanda’s ICDI score could improve if opportunities for social contact and avenues for communication to take place are created and sustained. Additionally, Rwanda can enhance its legislative dimension further by promoting migrant integration measures, creating, and sustaining anti-discrimination acts / policies.

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