Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Rwanda's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Rwanda's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Rwanda is a small land locked country in Central Africa located between 1º4’ and 2º51’ south latitude and 28º45’ and 31º15’ east longitude. The country has a total land area of 26,338 km2 and shares borders with Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west and northwest. The country is divided into four main climatic regions: eastern plains, central plateau, highlands, and regions around Lake Kivu along the western border. Rwanda enjoys a tropical climate with hilly topography stretching from east to west. The Rwandan territory is covered with diverse ecosystems which includes mountain rainforests, gallery forests, savannah woodland, wetlands and aquatic forests and agro‐ecosystems. Approximately 52% of the country’s total land area is arable and the total cultivated area equates to 66% of the national territory, with over 93,000 hectares of marshland under cultivation. With much small plot cultivation occurring on hills or mountain areas, increased runoff and landslides have been experienced, increasing the country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts. Rwanda has a population of 12.9 million people (2020) with an annual population growth rate of 2.6%. Rwanda is highly vulnerable to impacts from climate change through its high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, as well as need to improve its road networks, health sector and water resource management. In Rwanda, the high levels of poverty and low-degree of development limits capacity of poor households and communities to manage climate risk, increasing their vulnerability to climate-related shocks.