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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.29 cu km/yr (17%/6%/77%)
per capita: 38 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
3.6 cu km (1987)

Land boundaries:
total: 974 km
border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 233 km, Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km

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

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)

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
3 30 S, 30 00 E

Natural resources:
nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m
highest point: Heha 2,670 m

hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains

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

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

Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland

Irrigated land:
210 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
flooding, landslides, drought

Land use:
arable land: 35.57%
permanent crops: 13.12%
other: 51.31% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
6.4 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
6% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
250,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 51.71 years
male: 50.86 years
female: 52.6 years (2008 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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 59.3%
male: 67.3%
female: 52.2% (2000 est.)

Net migration rate:
5.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 16.7 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 17 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
3.443% (2008 est.)

Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Death rate:
12.91 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 60.77 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 67.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
25,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 7 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.3% (male 2,021,320/female 1,998,502)
15-64 years: 51.2% (male 2,210,157/female 2,240,921)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 87,600/female 132,505) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
41.72 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%

noun: Burundian(s)
adjective: Burundian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Patricia Newton MOLLER
embassy: Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura
mailing address: B. P. 1720, Bujumbura
telephone: [257] 223454
FAX: [257] 222926

National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

NA years of age; universal (adult)

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
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)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Celestin NIYONGABO
chancery: Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574
FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578

International organization participation:

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 members elected 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

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

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)

1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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 [Aloys RUBUKA]
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]

name: Bujumbura
geographic coordinates: 3 22 S, 29 21 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

28 February 2005; ratified by popular referendum

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Yves SAVINGUVU - Tutsi (since 9 November 2007); Second Vice President Gabriel NTISEZERANA - Hutu (since 9 February 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Yves SAVINGUVU - Tutsi (since 9 November 2007); Second Vice President Gabriel NTISEZERANA - Hutu (since 9 February 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president
elections: the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the parliament; vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by parliament
election results: Pierre NKURUNZIZA was elected president by the parliament by a vote of 151 to 9; note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the legislature

Administrative divisions:
17 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rurale, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court; High Court of Justice (composed of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Germany 31.3%, Pakistan 6.8%, Belgium 5.8%, Sweden 4.3%, Rwanda 4.3%, France 4.2%, Sudan 4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
120.9 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
10.12% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
40 million kWh; note - supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$120 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$1.2 billion (2003)

Unemployment rate:

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
28.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$342 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.215 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$903 million (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
42.4 (1998)

Exchange rates:
Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar - 1,198 (2008 est.), 1,065 (2007), 1,030 (2006), 1,138 (2005), 1,100.91 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$208.7 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
2.99 million (2002)

Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 17%, Kenya 11.4%, Belgium 8.7%, France 6.1%, Uganda 5.4%, Germany 5.4%, India 4.8%, Pakistan 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 32.9%
industry: 21.3%
services: 45.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
2,635 bbl/day (2005)

$47 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Burundi franc (BIF)

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 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. Burundi's GDP grew around 5% annually in 2006-07, before increasing to 6% in 2008. 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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs

light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
68% (2002 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16.84% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$141 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
87 million kWh (2006 est.)

$307 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 93.6%
industry: 2.3%
services: 4.1% (2002 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$134 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
2,956 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 32.8% (1998)

Exports - commodities:
coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

Economic aid - recipient:
$365 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.6%
hydro: 99.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $292.2 million
expenditures: $351.3 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
60,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
35,000 (2006)

25,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

440,000 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
250,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: primitive system; 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 3 per 100 persons
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) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
162 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

mainly on Lake Tanganyika (2008)

Ports and terminals:

1 (2007)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

total: 12,322 km
paved: 1,286 km
unpaved: 11,036 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2007)

8 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; children as young as 10 years of age have been conscripted into the armed forces; the enrollment of children is still not prohibited (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,878,544
females age 16-49: 1,851,676 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,083,899
females age 16-49: 1,062,488 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
National Defense Force (Forces de Defense Nationales, FDN): Army (includes Naval Detachment and Air Wing), Gendarmerie (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 98,105
female: 98,533 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
5.9% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Burundi and Rwanda dispute sections of border on the Akanyaru/Kanyaru and the Kagera/Nyabarongo rivers, which have changed course since the 1960s, when the boundary was delimited; 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)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Burundi is a source country for children trafficked for the purposes of child soldiering, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation; a small number of Burundian children may be trafficked internally for domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation; in early 2008, Burundian children were allegedly trafficked to Uganda, via Rwanda, for agricultural labor and commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Burundi is on the Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year for its failure to provide sufficient evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007; the government's inability to provide adequate protective services to children accused of association with armed groups and to conduct anti-trafficking law enforcement activities continue to be causes for concern; Burundi has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)

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