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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. 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 integrated defense forces, and established a new constitution and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The government of President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, who was reelected in 2010 and again in a disputed election in 2015, continues to face many political and economic challenges.



Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of Tanzania

Geographic coordinates

3.30° S, 30.00° E

Area 147/257

total: 27,830 sq km

land: 25,680 sq km

water: 2,150 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries

total: 1,140 km

border countries (3): Democratic Republic of the Congo 236 km, Rwanda 315 km, Tanzania 589 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 Celsius 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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 73.3%

arable land 38.9%; permanent crops 15.6%; permanent pasture 18.8%

forest: 6.6%

other: 20.1% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

230 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

12.54 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.29 cu km/yr (15%/5%/79%)

per capita: 43.27 cu m/yr (2005)

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 and Society


noun: Burundian(s)

adjective: Burundian

Ethnic groups

Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans 3,000, South Asians 2,000


Kirundi 29.7% (official), Kirundi and other language 9.1%, French (official) and French and other language 0.3%, Swahili and Swahili and other language 0.2% (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area), English and English and other language 0.06%, more than 2 languages 3.7%, unspecified 56.9% (2008 est.)


Catholic 62.1%, Protestant 23.9% (includes Adventist 2.3% and other Protestant 21.6%), Muslim 2.5%, other 3.6%, unspecified 7.9% (2008 est.)

Population 84/238


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 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 45.64% (male 2,464,695/female 2,437,923)

15-24 years: 19.23% (male 1,030,773/female 1,035,478)

25-54 years: 28.67% (male 1,536,089/female 1,543,356)

55-64 years: 3.94% (male 198,384/female 224,563)

65 years and over: 2.52% (male 115,187/female 155,828) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 89.7%

youth dependency ratio: 85%

elderly dependency ratio: 4.7%

potential support ratio: 21.3% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 17 years

male: 16.8 years

female: 17.2 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 3/233

3.28% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 6/224

42.01 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 62/225

9.27 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 103/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 12.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 5.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BUJUMBURA (capital) 751,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 6/184

712 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 20/224

total: 61.89 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 68.55 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 55.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 197/224

total population: 60.09 years

male: 58.45 years

female: 61.78 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 2/224

6.09 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

21.9% (2010/11)

Health expenditures 56/191

8% of GDP (2013)

Hospital bed density

1.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source


urban: 91.1% of population

rural: 73.8% of population

total: 75.9% of population


urban: 8.9% of population

rural: 26.2% of population

total: 24.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 43.8% of population

rural: 48.6% of population

total: 48% of population


urban: 56.2% of population

rural: 51.4% of population

total: 52% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.11% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

84,700 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,900 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 176/191

2.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 16/138

29.1% (2011)

Education expenditures 50/173

5.8% of GDP (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2010)


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

18 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rumonge, Rutana, Ruyigi


1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)


several previous; latest ratified by popular referendum 28 February 2005 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Belgian civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Burundi

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Gaston SINDIMWO (since 25 August 2015); Second Vice President Joseph BUTORE (since 25 August 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Prosper BAZOMBAZA (since 13 February 2014); Second Vice President Gervais RUFYIKIRI (since 29 August 2010)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 July 2015(next to be held in 2020); vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by Parliament

election results: Pierre NKURUNZIZA reelected president; percent of vote - Pierre NKURUNZIZA (CNDD-FDD) 69.4%, Agathon RWASA (National Liberation Forces) 19%, other 11.6%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Inama Nkenguzamateka (43 seats in the July 2015 election; 36 members indirectly elected by an electoral college of provincial councils using a three-round voting system which requires a two-thirds majority vote in the first two rounds and a simple majority vote for the two leading candidates in the final round; 3 seats reserved for Twas, and 4 seats reserved for former heads of state; members serve 5-year terms) and the National Assembly or Inama Nshingamateka (121 seats in the June 2015 election; 100 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 21 co-opted members – 3 Twas and 18 women; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 24 July 2015 (next to be hld onin 2019); National Assembly - last held on 29 June 2015 (next to be held on NA 2020)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CBDD-FDD 30, UPRONA 2, FNL 1, and 4 seats reserved for heads of state, 3 seats for Twas, and 8 seats for women; National Assembly - percent of vote by party (preliminary results) - CNDD-FDD 60.3%, Burundians' Hope Independent 11.2% UPRONA 2.5%, other 26%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 77, Burundians' Hope Independent 21, UPRONA 2, co-opted members 18, seats reserved for Twas 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 9 judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and cassation chambers)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission, a 15-member independent body of judicial and legal profession officials); judges appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; County Courts; Courts of Residence

Political parties and leaders

Burundians' Hope Independent (also called Hope for Burundians)

Democratic Alliance for Change or ADC [Leonce NGENDAKUMANA]

National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD-FDD [Pascal NYABENDA]

National Liberation Forces or FNL [Agathon RWASA]

National Resistance Movement for the Rehabilitation of the Citizen or MRC-Rurenzangemero [Epitace BANYAGANAKANDI]

Party for National Redress or PARENA [Jean-Baptiste BAGAZA]

Union for National Progress (Union pour le Progress Nationale) or UPRONA [Pierre BUYOYA]

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


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

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Burundi Bwacu" (Our Beloved Burundi)

lyrics/music: Jean-Baptiste NTAHOKAJA/Marc BARENGAYABO

note: adopted 1962


Economy - overview

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture accounts for over 40% 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. Thus, Burundi's export earnings - and its ability to pay for imports - rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices, although exports are a relatively small share of GDP. Burundi is heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors - foreign aid in 2014 represented 42% of Burundi's national income, the second highest rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Burundi joined the East African Community (EAC) in 2009.

An ethnic-based war that ended in 2005 resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Political stability, aid flows, and economic activity improved following the end of the civil war, but underlying weaknesses - a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, a poor transportation network, overburdened utilities, and low administrative capacity – have prevented the government from implementing planned economic reforms. Government corruption has also hindered the development of a private sector as companies have to deal with ever changing rules. The purchasing power of most Burundians has decreased as wage increases have not kept up with inflation.

In 2015 Burundi’s economy suffered from political turmoil over President NKURUNZIZA’s controversial third term. Blocked transportation routes disrupted the flow of agricultural goods. And donors withdrew aid, increasing Burundi’s budget deficit. When the unrest ends, regional infrastructure improvements driven by the EAC and funded by the World Bank may help improve Burundi’s transport connections and lower transportation costs.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 163/230

$7.883 billion (2015 est.)

$8.491 billion (2014 est.)

$8.107 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.97 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 217/225

-7.2% (2015 est.)

4.7% (2014 est.)

4.5% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 225/230

$900 (2015 est.)

$900 (2014 est.)

$900 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 167/179

3.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

2.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 71.9%

government consumption: 21.4%

investment in fixed capital: 27.2%

investment in inventories: -2.7%

exports of goods and services: 5.5%

imports of goods and services: -23.3%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 39.2%

industry: 18.1%

services: 42.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, cassava (manioc, tapioca); beef, milk, hides


light consumer goods (blankets, shoes, soap, beer); assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing

Industrial production growth rate 27/202

5.2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 83/233

4.95 million (2015 est.)

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 52/144

42.4 (1998)


revenues: $852 million

expenditures: $1.003 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 91/219

28.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 173/220

-5.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 122/176

37.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

36.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 178/226

5.3% (2015 est.)

4.4% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 15/156

11.25% (31 December 2010)

10% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 30/184

16% (31 December 2015 est.)

15.7% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 168/192

$437.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$412.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 177/193

$594.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$568.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 162/191

$767.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$721.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 87/197

-$336 million (2015 est.)

-$545 million (2014 est.)

Exports 195/224

$96.6 million (2015 est.)

$122.4 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

Exports - partners

Pakistan 12.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 12.6%, Uganda 9.6%, Germany 6.5%, Belgium 5.9%, France 5.6%, Rwanda 5.4%, Sweden 5.1%, US 4.6%, China 4.3%, Sudan 4.2% (2014)

Imports 183/223

$815.1 million (2015 est.)

$923 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

Saudi Arabia 12.9%, Kenya 11%, Belgium 10.4%, China 8.4%, Tanzania 7.9%, Uganda 6.9%, India 5% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 157/170

$315.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$317.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 171/206

$700.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$682.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar -

1,578.2 (2015 est.)

1,546.7 (2014 est.)

1,546.7 (2013 est.)

1,442.51 (2012 est.)

1,261.07 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 185/220

202 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 183/219

282.9 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 114/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 94/219

95 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 185/214

55,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 207/214

1.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 61/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 8/214

98.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 164/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 115/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 106/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 168/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 113/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 163/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 195/212

1,500 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 162/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 190/213

1,456 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 165/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 124/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 72/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 171/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 119/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 190/212

315,100 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 182/219

total subscriptions: 21,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 138/217

total: 3.2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31 (2014 est.)

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 roughly 20 per 100 persons

international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-controlled La Radiodiffusion et Television Nationale de Burundi (RTNB) operates the lone TV station and the only national radio network; about 10 privately owned radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in Bujumbura (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 198/232

229 (2012)

Internet users 165/217

total: 144,500

percent of population: 1.4% (2014 est.)


Airports 165/236

7 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2013)


1 (2012)

Roadways 127/223

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 the Congo) (2011)

Ports and terminals

lake port(s): Bujumbura (Lake Tanganyika)

Military and Security

Military branches

National Defense Forces (Forces de Defense Nationale, FDN): Army (includes maritime wing, Air Wing), National Gendarmerie (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; the armed forces law of 31 December 2004 did not specify a minimum age for enlistment, but the government claimed that no one younger than 18 was being recruited; mandatory retirement age 45 (enlisted), 50 (NCOs), and 55 (officers) (2012)

Military expenditures 32/132

2.39% of GDP (2012)

NA% (2011)

2.39% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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 persist among Tutsi, Hutu, other ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces in the Great Lakes region

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 53,977 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2015)

IDPs: undetermined (some ethnic Tutsis remain displaced from intercommunal violence that broke out after the 1993 coup and fighting between government forces and rebel groups; violence since April 2015 has caused internal displacement, but exact figures are unknown because of insecurity and fear of reprisal attacks for self-identification as an IDP) (2015)

stateless persons: 1,302 (2014)