Provinces of Rwanda

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Sorin Cosoveanu provided a file containing Ministry of Local Government codes for provinces, districts, and sectors.

In 2006, the twelve provinces of Rwanda were abolished and replaced with five provinces, subdivided into thirty districts. Among the reasons given for the change were the reduction of ethnic divisions and the suppression of reminders of the 1994 genocide. The five new provinces are shown in FIPS 10-4 Change Notice 11, dated 2006-07-11, and in ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-8, published on 2007-04-17.

Country overview: 

Short nameRWANDA
ISO codeRW
LanguageKinyarwanda (rw), French (fr)
Time zone+2


Rwanda was part of German East Africa in 1900. In 1919, as Germany's colonies were being divided up, Ruanda-Urundi was mandated to Belgium. It consisted of the counties of Ruanda and Urundi. It came under the administration of the Belgian Congo on 1926-03-01. The two counties became résidences (residencies). In 1960, the Belgian Congo became independent; Ruanda-Urundi remained a colony until 1962-07-01. On that date, the two counties became the countries of Rwanda and Burundi.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Rwanda
  2. Dutch: Rwanda, Republiek Rwanda (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Rwanda (formal)
  4. Finnish: Ruanda
  5. French: Rwanda m
  6. German: Ruanda n
  7. Icelandic: Rúanda
  8. Italian: Ruanda m
  9. Kinyarwanda: Republika y'u Rwanda (formal)
  10. Norwegian: Rwanda, Republikken Rwanda (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Ruanda, Rwanda, República f do Ruanda m (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Руанда (formal)
  13. Spanish: Ruanda, República Rwandesa (formal), República f de Rwanda (formal)
  14. Swedish: Rwanda
  15. Turkish: Ruanda Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

from name of language, Kinyarwanda

Primary subdivisions: 

Rwanda is divided into four intara (provinces) and one city.

EasternRW.ES02RW11052,595,7039,4393,644RwamaganaUmutara, Kibungo, Kigali-Rural (part)
Kigali CityRW.KV01RW12011,132,686728281KigaliKigali-Ville
NorthernRW.NO03RW13041,726,3703,2701,262ByumbaByumba, Kigali-Rural (part), Ruhengeri
SouthernRW.SU05RW15022,589,9755,9542,299NyanzaButare, Gikongoro, Gitarama
WesternRW.OU04RW14032,471,2395,8702,266KibuyeCyangugu, Gisenyi, Kibuye
Total 10,515,97325,2609,752
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • Cd: Ministry of Local Government codes.
  • Population: 2012-08-16 census (source [14]).
  • Area: Computed using population densities.
  • Former: Corresponding pre-2006 provinces (approx.).

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Rwanda page.

The provinces are divided into thirty uturere (districts), which are subdivided into 418 imirenge (administrative sectors, Fr. secteurs administratifs); source [14] lists just 415 sectors. The sectors are further subdivided into 9,165 utugari (cells, Fr. cellules). The cells are probably unchanged from the pre-2006 partition. Before 2006, Rwanda was divided into 12 provinces, which were divided into akarere (districts) and umujyi (municipalities), which in turn were divided into imirenge (sectors), which were divided into utugari (cells), which, finally, were divided into akagari (probably villages). Before 2002, Rwanda was divided into prefectures, which were subdivided into communes. The constitution allowed the formation of sub-prefectures on a level between the prefecture and the commune, but this was probably not done.

Source [10] says, "The Republic of Rwanda is divided into intara (provinces), uturere (districts), imirenge (sectors) and utugari (cells). The akarere (district) is the basic political-administrative unit of the country." (Apparently uturere is the plural of akarere.)

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Rwanda lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

Kigali: Kinyarwanda for big mountain

Change history: 

  1. 1946: Under the colonial administration, Ruanda was divided into eight territoires (territories): Astrida, Biumba, Kibungu, Kigali, Kîsenyi, Nyanza, Ruhengeri, and Shangugu.
  2. 1959: Gitarama prefecture formed.
  3. ~1996: Kigali prefecture (former HASC code RW.KL) split into Kigali-Ville and Kigali-Rural. Kigali-Ville was completely surrounded by Kigali-Rural.
  4. 1996-04-19: Divisions of Rwanda reorganized. Umutara formed from parts of Byumba and Kibungo. (In reports of the change, the spellings Mutara and Umutara were both used, with Umutara in the majority.) Many prefecture boundaries were modified. The resulting set of prefectures is shown in this table.
12 prefectures8,162,7157,157,5514,819,31724,2999,382
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Cen: Codes from National Census Service.
  • Pop-2002: 2002-08-16 census.
  • Pop-1991: 1991-08-15 census.
  • Pop-1978: 1978-08-15 census.
  • Capitals have the same names as their prefectures.
  1. 2001-02-15: Laws governing the functions of provinces and of Kigali-Ville took effect (sources [11], [12]).
  2. 2002-01-01: Status of divisions changed from prefegitura (French: préfectures; prefectures) to intara (provinces). At the same time, the communes were replaced by a new set of divisions called districts and municipalities (akarere and umujyi, respectively). (Source [6].)
  3. 2006-01-01: Rwanda reorganized from twelve provinces into five.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Eastern: Intara Y'iburasirazuba (Kinyarwanda)
  2. Kigali City: Umujyi wa Kigali (Kinyarwanda)
  3. Northern: Intara Y'amajyaruguru (Kinyarwanda)
  4. Southern: Intara Y'amajyepfo (Kinyarwanda)
  5. Western: Intara Y'iburengerazuba (Kinyarwanda)
  6. Butare: Astrida (obsolete)
  7. Cyangugu: Shangugu (obsolete)
  8. Gisenyi: Kisenyi (obsolete)
  9. Kigali-Rural: Kigali Ngali, Kigali Ngari (Kinyarwanda)
  10. Umutara: Mutara (variant)


  1. [1] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  2. [2] L'Évaluation des effectifs de la population des pays Africains, Tome I. Groupe de Démographie Africaine, Paris, 1982.
  3. [3] "Länderinformationsblatt: Ruanda" (Rwanda Country Information Sheet, in German), Federal Office for Refugees, Bern, Switzerland. Says that Umutara was created on 1996-04-19, and implies that Kigali-Ville was created earlier. (, dead link, dated 1997-10, retrieved 2001-06-01).
  4. [4] "FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Rwanda" has 1997-06 population estimates. (, dead link, dated 1997-07-01, retrieved 2001-06-01).
  5. [5] World Food Program profile. A map shows that Kigali-Ville is completely surrounded by Kigali-Rural, and Umutara contains areas formerly in both Byumba and Kibungo prefectures. (, page 20; dead link, retrieved 2001-06-01).
  6. [6] Rwanda's government Web site has a list  of the new set of divisions called districts and municipalities (akarere and umujyi, respectively). (retrieved 2002-11-08).
  7. [7] "General Census of Population and Housing, Rwanda: 16-30 August 2002: Report on the Preliminary Results," National Census Service. (, dead link, retrieved 2005-04-06).
  8. [8] "Rwanda Reduces Number of Provinces," Mouvement Démocratique Républicain website. Had maps, a little inaccurate, showing the new divisions as compared with the old. (, dead link, retrieved 2006-02-01).
  9. [9] Ministry of Local Government  (Minaloc) has a map of the districts, linked to a list of them. (retrieved 2006-02-01).
  10. [10] "Administrative Units," Ministry of Local Government, shows the organizational structure of local government units. (, dead link, retrieved 2006-02-01).
  11. [11] "Loi n° 07/2001 du 19.01.2001 portant organisation et fonctionnement de la ville de Kigali telle que modifiée et complétée à ce jour" (, dead link, retrieved 2006-02-01).
  12. [12] "Law Nº 43/2002 of 29/12/2000 Establishing the Organisation and Functioning of Province As Modified and Completed up to Date" (, dead link, retrieved 2006-02-01).
  13. [13] "La République Rwandaise," European Union mission of election observers. Some data in this report don't quite jibe with mine. (, dead link, retrieved 2006-02-01).
  14. [14] Fourth Population and Housing Census, Rwanda, 2012: Final Results: Publication tables  Table 2.1. (National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda) (dated 2014-01, retrieved 2016-04-26).
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