Rwanda is a landlocked African country located in Central and East Africa. It is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The country is firmly ensconced in Africa's Great Lakes region, which is dominated by bodies of water, such as Lake Victoria, that have acted as regional trade and communication thoroughfares for centuries or longer. Rwanda thus shares some linguistic and cultural similarities with Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and other Great Lakes countries. These ties have helped fuel the development of the East African Community, an intergovernmental organization charged with greater integration among its members. Rwanda's greatest challenge is twofold. First, it must manage its ethnic diversity. The ethnic cleavages that were developed and fostered under Belgian colonialism helped drive the country to one of the 20th century's worst genocides. Since 1994, the capital city of Kigali has clamped down on many forms of dissent in order to maintain internal order. A critical question going forward is if Rwanda's political system can reform and open up to foster deeper reconciliation in the years ahead. Rwanda must also manage its landlocked position. With no access to the sea, Rwanda must manage the high costs of doing business, in terms of exports and imports, and remains dependent on maintaining good relations with its coastal neighbors. In order to mitigate these constraints, Rwanda has tried to turn itself into the "Singapore of Central Africa," improving its internal infrastructure and pushing for regional infrastructure projects to help link it to markets beyond.

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