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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. Over 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 neighbouring 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 defence force, established a new constitution in 2005, and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The new government, led by President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, faces many challenges, particularly from the country's last rebel group who remains outside of the peace process and continue attacks in the western provinces of Burundi.


Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates:

3 30 S, 30 00 E


total: 27,830 sq km
land: 25,650 sq km
water: 2,180 sq km

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)

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

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


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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 46.3% (male 1,884,825/female 1,863,200)
15-64 years: 51.1% (male 2,051,451/female 2,082,017)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 83,432/female 125,143) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 16.6 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 16.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

3.7% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

42.22 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

13.46 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

8.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 63.13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 70.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 55.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 50.81 years
male: 50.07 years
female: 51.58 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

6.55 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

6% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

250,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

25,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2005)


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: 51.6%
male: 58.5%
female: 45.2% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Burundi
conventional short form: Burundi
local long form: Republika y'u Burundi
local short form: Burundi
former: Urundi

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

17 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rurale, 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)


28 February 2005; ratified by popular referendum

Legal system:

based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


NA years of age; universal adult

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament or Parlement, consists of 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) and a Senate (54 seats; 34 by indirect vote to serve five year terms, with remaining seats assigned to ethnic groups and former chiefs of state)
elections: National Assembly - last held 4 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010); Senate - last held 29 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CNDD-FDD 58.6%, FRODEBU 21.7%, UPRONA 7.2%, CNDD 4.1%, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2.1%, others 6.2%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 59, FRODEBU 25, UPRONA 10, CNDD 4, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 30, FRODEBU 3, CNDD 1

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal (there are three in separate locations); Tribunals of First Instance (17 at the province level and 123 small local tribunals)

Economy - overview:

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Economic growth depends on coffee and tea exports, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports, therefore, rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the government and the coffee trade at the expense of the Hutu majority, 85% of the population. 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 10 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$4.399 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$714.8 million (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.5% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$600 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 45.6%
industry: 20.8%
services: 33.6% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

2.99 million (2002)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 93.6%
industry: 2.3%
services: 4.1% (2002 est.)

Population below poverty line:

68% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 32.9% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33.3 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

14% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

11.5% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $215.4 million
expenditures: $278 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

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:

18% (2001)

Electricity - production:

141.3 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

141.4 million kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

10 million kWh; note - supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2003)

Oil - consumption:

3,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

-$55 million (2005 est.)


$52 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

Exports - partners:

Germany 20.6%, Belgium 8.6%, Pakistan 7%, US 5.9%, Rwanda 5.9% (2004)


$200 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

Kenya 13.6%, Tanzania 11.1%, US 8.8%, Belgium 8.5%, France 8.3%, Italy 5.9%, Uganda 5.6%, Japan 4.6%, Germany 4.4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$76 million (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$1.2 billion (2003)

Economic aid - recipient:

$105.5 million (2003)

Currency (code):

Burundi franc (BIF)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

23,900 (2003)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

64,000 (2003)

Telephone system:

general assessment: primitive system
domestic: sparse system of open-wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relay
international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

1 (2001)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

155 (2005)

Internet users:

25,000 (2005)


8 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2005)


total: 14,480 km
paved: 1,028 km
unpaved: 13,452 km (1999)


mainly on Lake Tanganyika (2003)

Ports and terminals:


Military branches:

National Defense Force (Forces de Defense Nationales, FDN): Army (includes Naval Detachment and Air Wing), National Gendarmerie (being disbanded) (2006)

Disputes - international:

Tutsi, Hutu, other conflicting ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces continue fighting in the Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda in an effort to gain control over populated and natural resource areas; government heads pledge to end conflict, but localized violence continues despite the presence of about 6,000 peacekeepers from the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) since 2004; although some 150,000 Burundian refugees have been repatriated, as of February 2005, Burundian refugees still reside in camps in western Tanzania as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 48,424 (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
IDPs: 145,000 (armed conflict between government and rebels; most IDPs in northern and western Burundi) (2005)