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Flags, Symbols & Currency of Rwanda

The National Flag of Rwanda was officially adopted on October 25, 2001. The flag has been designed by a local artist - Alphonse Kirimobenecyo. It represents heroism, confidence, national unity, and respect for work.

The National Flag of Rwanda is a tricolor featuring three horizontal bands of sky blue (top, double-width), yellow, and green. A golden sun with 24 rays is placed near the fly end of the blue band. The blue color symbolizes peace and happiness. The yellow color of the flag represents economic development and mineral wealth. The green color epitomizes the hope for the country's prosperity and natural resources. The golden yellow sun is a symbol of unity as well as enlightenment and transparency from ignorance. The flag has a width-to-length ratio of 1:2.

History of the Flag of Rwanda

In 1891, Rwanda became a German colony and adopted the flag of German East Africa. This flag featured a white background with a black cross and the top red portion of the flag is colored red with five white-pointed stars. During the First World War in 1916, Belgium invaded and colonized Rwanda and the area was renamed as Rwanda-Burundi under Belgian rule. The flag that was used during this time was a vertical tricolor of black-yellow-red. In 1961, Belgium abolished the monarchy in Rwanda, and the country separated from Burundi and emerged as an independent nation on July 1, 1962. Rwanda, during this time, adopted a red-yellow-green vertical tricolor flag with a large black “R” placed in the central yellow band. This flag was discarded since it became associated with the brutal 1994 genocide. The new flag designed by Alphonse Kirimobenecyo was adopted on October 25, 2001.

Historical flags of Rwanda

Flag of German East Africa

Black, White, and Red horizontal bands with seal at the center
Black, White, and Red horizontal bands with seal at the center

Flag of Ruanda-Urundi

Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium

Flag of the Kingdom of Rwanda

Red, yellow, and green vertical stripes
Red, yellow, and green vertical stripes

Flag of Rwanda

Red, yellow, and green vertical stripes with black letter
Red, yellow, and green vertical stripes with black letter

Symbols of Rwanda

The National Coat of Arms of Rwanda

The current National Coat of Arms/Seal of Rwanda was adopted in 2001. It contains tribal devices, a sorghum stem, a coffee tree branch along a traditional basket all of which are placed in the central part of the shield. Below these are a cogwheel. A Sun is placed above and two Rwandan shields that are protecting the elements are placed on either side of the central elements. A yellow banner displaying the country name (Repubulika Y’U Rwanda) is placed above the sun. The coat of arms is encircled by a square knot and is attached with a yellow banner displaying the national motto: "Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugu" ("Unity, Work, Patriotism")

National Motto

"Ubumwe, Umurimo, Gukunda Igihugu" ("Unity, Work, Patriotism")

National Anthem

  • Anthem Title: "Rwanda Nziza" ("Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country")
  • Music Composer: Jean-Bosco Hashakaimana
  • Lyricist: Faustin Murigo
  • Date of Adoption: December 31, 2001

"Rwanda Nziza" ("Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country") is the national anthem of Rwanda. The music of the anthem have been composed by Jean-Bosco Hashakaimana. The lyrics of the anthem have been written by Faustin Murigo. The anthem was officially adopted on December 31, 2001. 

"Rwanda Nziza" (Kinyarwanda)


Rwanda nziza gihugu cyacu

Wuje imisozi, ibiyaga n’ibirunga

Ngobyi iduhetse gahorane ishya.

Rekatukurate tukuvuge ibigwi

Wowe utubumbiye hamwe twese

Abanyarwanda uko watubyaye

Berwa, sugira, singizwa iteka.


Horana Imana murage mwiza

Ibyo tugukesha ntibishyikirwa:

Umuco dusangiye uraturanga

Ururimi rwacu rukaduhuza

Ubwenge, umutima, amaboko yacu

Nibigukungahaze bikwiye

Nuko utere imbere ubutitsa.


Abakurambere b’intwari

Bitanze batizigama

Baraguhanga uvamo ubukombe

Utsinda ubukoroni na mpatsebihugu

Byayogoje Afurika yose

None uraganje mu bwigenge

Tubikomeyeho uko turi twese.


Komeza imihigo rwanda dukunda

Duhagurukiye kukwitangira

Ngo amahoro asabe mu bagutuye

Wishyire wizane muri byose

Urangwe n’ishyaka, utere imbere

Uhamye umubano n’amahanga yose

Maze ijabo ryawe riguhe ijambo.

"Rwanda, Our Beautiful Country"


Rwanda, our beautiful and dear country

Adorned of hills, lakes and volcanoes

Motherland, would be always filled of happiness

Us all your children: Abanyarwanda

Let us sing your glare and proclaim your high facts

You, maternal bosom of us all

Would be admired forever, prosperous and cover of praises.


Invaluable heritage, that God protects to you

You filled us priceless goods

Our common culture identifies us

Our single language unifies us

That our intelligence, our conscience and our forces

Fill you with varied riches

For an unceasingly renewed development.


Our valorous ancestors

Gave themselves bodies and souls

As far as making you a big nation

You overcame the colonial-imperialistic yoke

That has devastated Africa entirely

And has your joy of your sovereign independence

Acquired that constantly we will defend.


Maintain this cape, beloved Rwanda,

Standing, we commit for you

So that peace reigns countrywide

That you are free of all hindrance

That your determination hires progress

That you have excellent relations with all countries

And that finally your pride is worth your esteem.

The Currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan franc

The current official currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan franc (RWF). The Rwandan franc was introduced in 1960 with the first issue in 1964. Each franc has 100 subunits called centimes. The Banque Nationale du Rwanda is the central bank of Rwanda responsible for issuing the Rwandan franc. The Rwandan franc is not pegged to any currency, and therefore, its value tends to change with shifting economic trends.

The Rwandan franc is issued in various denominations and forms.


Coins come in small denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 francs with the 100 franc coin being the highest valued coin. Coins are made from various metals including bronze, aluminum, nickel, steel, and copper. Some of the coins have mixed metals such as the 100-franc coin, which is made of steel plated with copper at the center and nickel on the outer ring.


Banknotes are issued as 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 francs and have different designs and colors. The 20-, 50- and 100-franc notes were replaced by coins in 1977 and 2007 for the 100 francs note. Recent issues of the high-value notes have no French descriptions and have their security features reinforced.

Rwandan franc Banknote

Rwandan 5000 franc Banknote
Rwandan 5000 franc Banknote

Rwandan franc Coin

Rwandan 100 franc Coin
Rwandan 100 franc Coin

Historical currencies of Rwanda

Before the introduction of the Rwandan franc, Rwanda used various currencies depending on the colonial power operating at a particular time. The German East African rupee was the first currency used in Rwanda.

The German East African rupee was introduced to German’s east African colonies in the 1890s. The currency was circulated in Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanganyika. The currency existed in the form of coins and banknotes of various denominations issued by the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank. After Germany’s loss in the First World War, the countries using the German East African rupee replaced the currency. Rwanda replaced the German East African rupee with the Belgian Congo franc.

The Belgian Congo franc was introduced by the Belgians as the official legal tender in Congo. The circulation of the franc in Burundi and Rwanda began in 1916 after WW1. The franc existed in coin and banknote form with the coins made of various materials such as copper, nickel, bronze, brass, and aluminum or a combination of two metals. In Rwanda, the currency remained the legal tender until 1960 when the Rwandan franc was introduced.

Belgian Congo franc Coin

Belgian Congo 2 franc Coin
Belgian Congo 2 franc Coin

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