Introduction    Burundi Top of Page
Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than 200,000 Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned almost a dozen years. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. An internationally brokered power-sharing agreement between the Tutsi-dominated government and the Hutu rebels in 2003 paved the way for a transition process that led to an integrated defense force, established a new constitution in 2005, and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The new government, led by President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, signed a South African brokered ceasefire with the country's last rebel group in September of 2006 but still faces many challenges.
   Geography    Burundi Top of Page
Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates:
3 30 S, 30 00 E
Map references:
total: 27,830 sq km
land: 25,680 sq km
water: 2,150 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 974 km
border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 233 km, Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
equatorial; high plateau with considerable altitude variation (772 m to 2,670 m above sea level); average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 degrees centigrade but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m; average annual rainfall is about 150 cm; two wet seasons (February to May and September to November), and two dry seasons (June to August and December to January)
hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m
highest point: Heha 2,670 m
Natural resources:
nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone
Land use:
arable land: 35.57%
permanent crops: 13.12%
other: 51.31% (2005)
Irrigated land:
210 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
3.6 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.29 cu km/yr (17%/6%/77%)
per capita: 38 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
flooding; landslides; drought
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion as a result of overgrazing and the expansion of agriculture into marginal lands; deforestation (little forested land remains because of uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel); habitat loss threatens wildlife populations
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; straddles crest of the Nile-Congo watershed; the Kagera, which drains into Lake Victoria, is the most remote headstream of the White Nile
   People    Burundi Top of Page
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.3% (male 2,213,667/female 2,189,197)
15-64 years: 51.2% (male 2,399,466/female 2,470,743)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 95,324/female 142,933) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 16.8 years
male: 16.5 years
female: 17.2 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.688% (2010 est.)
Birth rate:
41.76 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate:
10.14 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
Net migration rate:
5.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
urban population: 10% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 6.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 64.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 69.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 57.8 years
male: 56.21 years
female: 59.43 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
6.25 children born/woman (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
110,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
11,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
noun: Burundian(s)
adjective: Burundian
Ethnic groups:
Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans 3,000, South Asians 2,000
Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%
Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 59.3%
male: 67.3%
female: 52.2% (2000 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 9 years
female: 7 years (2008)
Education expenditures:
7.2% of GDP (2008)
   Government    Burundi Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Burundi
conventional short form: Burundi
local long form: Republique du Burundi/Republika y'u Burundi
local short form: Burundi
former: Urundi
Government type:
name: Bujumbura
geographic coordinates: 3 22 S, 29 21 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
17 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi
1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
ratified by popular referendum 28 February 2005
Legal system:
based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA - Hutu (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Therence SINUNGURUZA - Tutsi (since 29 August 2010); Second Vice President Gervais RUFYIKIRI - Hutu (since 29 August 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA - Hutu (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Therence SINUNGURUZA - Tutsi (since 29 August 2010); Second Vice President Gervais RUFYIKIRI - Hutu (since 29 August 2010)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permited the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the parliament; elections last held 28 June 2010 (next to be held in 2015); vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by parliament
election results: Pierre NKURUNZIZA elected president by popular vote; Pierre NKURUNZIZA 91.6%, other 8.4%; note - opposition parties withdrew from the election due to alleged government interference in the electoral process
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlement, consists of a Senate (54 seats; 34 members elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms, with remaining seats assigned to ethnic groups and former chiefs of state) and a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (minimum 100 seats, 60% Hutu and 40% Tutsi with at least 30% being women; additional seats appointed by a National Independent Electoral Commission to ensure ethnic representation; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 23 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015); National Assembly - last held on 23 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - TBD; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CNDD 81.2%, UPRONA 11.6%, FRODEBU 5.9%, others 1.3%; seats by party - CNDD 81, UPRONA 17, FRODEBU 5, other 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court; High Court of Justice (composed of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court)
Political parties and leaders:

governing parties: Burundi Democratic Front or FRODEBU [Leonce NGENDAKUMANA]; National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD-FDD [Jeremie NGENDAKUMANA]; Unity for National Progress or UPRONA [Bonaventure NIYOYANKANA]
note: a multiparty system was introduced after 1998, included are: National Council for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD [Leonard NYANGOMA]; National Resistance Movement for the Rehabilitation of the Citizen or MRC-Rurenzangemero [Epitace BANYAGANAKANDI]; Party for National Redress or PARENA [Jean-Baptiste BAGAZA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society or FORSC [Pacifique NININAHAZWE] (civil society umbrella organization); Observatoire de lutte contre la corruption et les malversations economiques or OLUCOME [Gabriel RUFYIRI] (anti-corruption pressure group)
other: Hutu and Tutsi militias (loosely organized)
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Angele NIYUHIRE
chancery: Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574
FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela J. H. SLUTZ
embassy: Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura
mailing address: B. P. 1720, Bujumbura
telephone: [257] 223454
FAX: [257] 222926
Flag description:
divided by a white diagonal cross into red panels (top and bottom) and green panels (hoist side and fly side) with a white disk superimposed at the center bearing three red six-pointed stars outlined in green arranged in a triangular design (one star above, two stars below); green symbolizes hope and optimism, white purity and peace, and red the blood shed in the struggle for independence; the three stars in the disk represent the three major ethnic groups: Hutu, Twa, Tutsi, as well as the three elements in the national motto: unity, work, progress
   Economy    Burundi Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural which accounts for about 35% of GDP and employs more than 90% of the population. Burundi's primary exports are coffee and tea, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings, though exports are a relatively small share of GDP. Burundi's export earning - and its ability to pay for imports - rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the coffee trade. An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. Burundi's GDP grew around 4% annually in 2006-09. Political stability and the end of the civil war have improved aid flows and economic activity has increased, but underlying weaknesses - a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, and low administrative capacity - risk undermining planned economic reforms. Burundi will continue to remain heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors; the delay of funds after a corruption scandal cut off bilateral aid in 2007 reduced government's revenues and its ability to pay salaries. Burundi joined the East African Community, which should boost Burundi's regional trade ties. Burundi's main challenge to economic growth will be maintaining sufficient fiscal discipline and peace during the upcoming national elections scheduled for 2010.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.241 billion (2009 est.)
$3.131 billion (2008 est.)
$2.996 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.33 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2009 est.)
4.5% (2008 est.)
3.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$300 (2009 est.)
$300 (2008 est.)
$300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 33.4%
industry: 20.7%
services: 45.9% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
4.245 million (2007)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 93.6%
industry: 2.3%
services: 4.1% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Population below poverty line:
68% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 28% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
42.4 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed):
25% of GDP (2009 est.)
revenues: $341.5 million
expenditures: $417.4 million (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11% (2009 est.) 24.1% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
10% (31 December 2009) 10.08% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14.08% (31 December 2009 est.) 16.52% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$313.7 million (31 December 2009) $268.3 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of broad money:
$527.4 million (31 December 2009) $457.9 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of domestic credit:
$415.2 million (31 December 2009 est.) $385.4 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, hides
light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
2% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
92 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
125.6 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
40 million kWh; note - supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption:
3,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
2,495 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
Current account balance:
-$127 million (2009 est.) -$68 million (2008 est.)
$68 million (2009 est.) $70 million (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Exports - partners:
Germany 21.6%, Switzerland 14.86%, Belgium 9.32%, Sweden 8.94%, Pakistan 5.82% (2009)
$275 million (2009 est.) $338 million (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 16.87%, Belgium 11.17%, Uganda 8.62%, Kenya 7.57%, China 5.66%, France 5.35%, Germany 4.46%, India 4.24%, Tanzania 4.21% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$323 million (31 December 2009 est.) $266.7 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.2 billion (2003)
Exchange rates:
Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar - 1,227.75 (2009), 1,198 (2008), 1,065 (2007), 1,030 (2006), 1,138 (2005)
   Communications    Burundi Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
31,500 (2009)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
838,400 (2009)
Telephone system:
general assessment: sparse system of open-wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relays
domestic: telephone density one of the lowest in the world; fixed-line connections stand at well less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is increasing but remains at a meager 10 per 100 persons
international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2009)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
Broadcast media:
state-controlled La Radiodiffusion et Television Nationale de Burundi (RTNB) operates the lone TV broadcast station and the only national radio network; about 10 privately-owned radio broadcast stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in Bujumbura (2007)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
201 (2010)
Internet users:
157,800 (2009)
   Transportation    Burundi Top of Page
8 (2010)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2010)
1 (2010)
total: 12,322 km
paved: 1,286 km
unpaved: 11,036 km (2004)
mainly on Lake Tanganyika between Bujumbura, Burundi's principal port, and lake ports in Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2010)
Ports and terminals:
   Military    Burundi Top of Page
Military branches:
National Defense Force (Forces de Defense Nationale, FDN): Army (includes naval detachment, Air Wing, and Coast Guard), National Gendarmerie (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
military service is voluntary; the armed forces law of 31 December 2004 did not specify a minimum age for enlistment, but the government had previously said each recruit must have a primary school-leaving certificate; mandatory retirement age 45 (enlisted), 50 (NCOs), and 55 (officers) (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 2,182,327
females age 16-49: 2,202,125 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,398,769
females age 16-49: 1,481,417 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 117,956
female: 116,956 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
5.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Burundi Top of Page
Burundi and Rwanda dispute two sq km (0.8 sq mi) of Sabanerwa, a farmed area in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965; cross-border conflicts among Tutsi, Hutu, other ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces persist in the Great Lakes region
Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 9,849 (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
IDPs: 100,000 (armed conflict between government and rebels; most IDPs in northern and western Burundi) (2007)

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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