Facts about Burundi

World Facts Index

BurundiBurundi'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 of Burundi

Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
3 30 S, 30 00 E
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
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

Population of Burundi

8,691,005 (July 2008 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)
Median age:
16.6 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
63.13 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 50.81 years
male: 50.07 years
female: 51.58 years
Total fertility rate:
6.55 children born/woman
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%


Country name:
long form: Republic of 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 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
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)
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)


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. 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.

$2.907 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 46.3%
industry: 20.3%
services: 33.4%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
2.99 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 93.6%, industry 2.3%, services 4.1% 
revenues: $215.4 million
expenditures: $278 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.6%
hydro: 99.4%
other: 0%
light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing
coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, hides
coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Export partners:
Germany 26.2%, Belgium 11.4%, Netherlands 8.7%, US 4.9%, Pakistan 4.5%
capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs
Import partners:
Kenya 13.5%, Tanzania 11%, Belgium 10.4%, Italy 8.8%, Uganda 5.5%, France 5.4%, China 5%, Germany 4.6%
Burundi franc (BIF)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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