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Introduction Burundi
Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only four months in office. Since then, some 200,000 Burundians have perished in widespread, often intense ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced or have become refugees in neighboring countries. Burundian troops, seeking to secure their borders, intervened in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998. More recently, many of these troops have been redeployed back to Burundi to deal with periodic upsurges in rebel activity. A new transitional government, inaugurated on 1 November 2001, was to be the first step towards holding national elections in three years. However, the unwillingness of the Hutu rebels to enact a cease fire with Bujumbura continues to obstruct prospects for a sustainable peace.
Geography Burundi
Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates:
3 30 S, 30 00 E
Map references:
total: 27,830 sq km
water: 2,180 sq km
land: 25,650 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; wet seasons from February to May and September to November, and dry seasons from 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: Mount Heha 2,670 m
Natural resources:
nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum (not yet exploited), vanadium, arable land, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 29.98%
permanent crops: 12.85%
other: 57.17% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
740 sq km (1998 est.)
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
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
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
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 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.5% (male 1,497,865; female 1,466,455)
15-64 years: 50.7% (male 1,592,253; female 1,640,254)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 71,915; female 104,260) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.36% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
39.87 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
16.3 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
69.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 45.94 years
female: 46.83 years (2002 est.)
male: 45.08 years
Total fertility rate:
6.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
11.32% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
360,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
39,000 (1999 est.)
noun: Burundian(s)
adjective: Burundi
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: 35.3%
male: 49.3%
female: 22.5% (1995 est.)
Government Burundi
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Burundi
conventional short form: Burundi
local short form: Burundi
local long form: Republika y'u Burundi
former: Urundi
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
16 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura, 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)
13 March 1992; provided for establishment of a plural political system; supplanted on 6 June 1998 by a Transitional Constitution which enlarged the National Assembly and created two vice presidents
Legal system:
based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
NA years of age; universal adult
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pierre BUYOYA (a Tutsi, was sworn in as president of a transition government on 1 November 2001; he is scheduled to hold office for 18 months before transferring power to his vice president, a Hutu); Vice President Domitien NDAYIZEYE (since 1 November 2001)
head of government: President Pierre BUYOYA (a Tutsi, was sworn in as president of a transition government on 1 November 2001; he is scheduled to hold office for 18 months before transferring power to his vice president, a Hutu); Vice President Domitien NDAYIZEYE (since 1 November 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president
elections: NA; current president assumed power following a coup on 25 July 1996 in which former President NTIBANTUNGANYA was overthrown
Legislative branch:
bicameral, consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (expanded from 121 to approximately 140 seats under the transitional government inaugurated 1 November 2001; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and a Senate (54 seats; term length is undefined, the current senators will likely serve out the three-year transition period)
elections: last held 29 June 1993 (next was scheduled to be held in 1998, but were suspended by presidential decree in 1996; elections are planned to follow the completion of the three-year transitional government)
election results: percent of vote by party - FRODEBU 71.04%, UPRONA 21.4%, other 7.56%; seats by party - FRODEBU 65, UPRONA 16, civilians 27, other parties 13
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)
Political parties and leaders:
the two national, mainstream, governing parties are: Unity for National Progress or UPRONA [Luc RUKINGAMA, president]; Burundi Democratic Front or FRODEBU [Jean MINANI, president]
note: a multiparty system was introduced after 1998, included are: Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation or ABASA [Terrence NSANZE]; Rally for Democracy and Economic and Social Development or RADDES [Joseph NZENZIMANA]; Party for National Redress or PARENA [Jean-Baptiste BAGAZA]; People's Reconciliation Party or PRP [Mathias HITIMANA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Loosely organized Hutu and Tutsi militias, often affiliated with Hutu and Tutsi extremist parties or subordinate to government security forces
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas NDIKUMANA
chancery: Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James Howard YELLIN
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 outer 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)
Economy Burundi
Economy - overview:
Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with roughly 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Its economic health depends on the coffee crop, which accounts for 80% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports therefore rests largely on the vagaries of the climate and the international coffee market. Since October 1993 the nation has suffered from massive ethnic-based violence which has resulted in the death of more than 200,000 persons and the displacement of about 800,000 others. Only one in four children go to school, and more than one in ten adults has HIV/AIDS. Foods, medicines, and electricity remain in short supply. Doubts regarding the sustainability of peace continue to impede development. A Geneva donors' conference in November 2001 brought $800 million in pledges, and an IMF-staff-monitored program could lead to a further agreement in 2002.
purchasing power parity - $3.7 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $600 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 50%
industry: 18%
services: 32% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 27% (1992) (1992)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33 (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
14% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
1.9 million
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $125 million
expenditures: $176 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
6.3% (1999 est.)
Electricity - production:
148 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 1%
other: 0% (2000)
hydro: 99%
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
166.64 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
29 million kWh
note: supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, hides
$24 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Exports - partners:
EU 52.5%, US 11.5%, Kenya 11.5%, Switzerland 4.9% (2000 est.)
$125 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
EU 37.6%, Tanzania 10.3%, Zambia 4.3%, India 3.4%, China 3.4% (2000 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.12 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$74 million (1999)
Burundi franc (BIF)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Burundi francs per US dollar - 865.14 (January 2002), 830.35 (2001), 720.67 (2000), 563.56 (1999), 477.77 (1998), 352.35 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Burundi
Telephones - main lines in use:
20,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
16,300 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: primitive system
domestic: sparse system of open wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
440,000 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)
25,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
6,000 (2002)
Transportation Burundi
0 km
total: 14,480 km
paved: 1,028 km
unpaved: 13,452 km (1996)
Lake Tanganyika
Ports and harbors:
7 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 6 6
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Military Burundi
Military branches:
Army (including naval and air units), Gendarmerie
Military manpower - military age:
16 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,439,032 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 752,584 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 79,360 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$36.9 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
5.3% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Burundi
Disputes - international:
Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups, political rebels, and various government forces continue fighting in Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003