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

Map references



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: 1,504 m
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)

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

Contraceptive prevalence rate

21.9% (2010/11)


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 2016 est.)


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.)

Demographic profile

Burundi is a densely populated country with a high population growth rate, factors that combined with land scarcity and poverty place a large share of its population at risk of food insecurity. About 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Subdivision of land to sons, and redistribution to returning refugees, results in smaller, overworked, and less productive plots. Food shortages, poverty, and a lack of clean water contribute to a 60% chronic malnutrition rate among children. A lack of reproductive health services has prevented a significant reduction in Burundi’s maternal mortality and fertility rates, which are both among the world’s highest. With two-thirds of its population under the age of 25 and a birth rate of about 6 children per woman, Burundi’s population will continue to expand rapidly for decades to come, putting additional strain on a poor country.
Historically, migration flows into and out of Burundi have consisted overwhelmingly of refugees from violent conflicts. In the last decade, more than a half million Burundian refugees returned home from neighboring countries, mainly Tanzania. Reintegrating the returnees has been problematic due to their prolonged time in exile, land scarcity, poor infrastructure, poverty, and unemployment. Repatriates and existing residents (including internally displaced persons) compete for limited land and other resources. To further complicate matters, international aid organizations reduced their assistance because they no longer classified Burundi as a post-conflict country. Conditions have deteriorated since renewed violence erupted in April 2015, causing another outpouring of refugees. In addition to refugee out-migration, Burundi has hosted thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, mostly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and lesser numbers from Rwanda.

Age structure

0-14 years: 45.61% (male 2,545,895/female 2,516,480)
15-24 years: 19.17% (male 1,061,538/female 1,066,581)
25-54 years: 28.71% (male 1,589,506/female 1,597,081)
55-64 years: 3.94% (male 205,538/female 231,317)
65 years and over: 2.57% (male 121,935/female 163,427) (2016 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 (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

3.26% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

41.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 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: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 433,187
percentage: 19% (2005 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

Infant mortality rate

total: 60.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 66.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 60.5 years
male: 58.8 years
female: 62.3 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.04 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

7.5% of GDP (2014)

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

1.04% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

77,400 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,000 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

2.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

29.1% (2011)

Education expenditures

5.4% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.6%
male: 88.2%
female: 83.1% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2013)

Mother's mean age at first birth

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


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
etymology: name derived from the pre-colonial Kingdom of Burundi (17th-19th century)

Government type

presidential republic


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 (2016)

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 20 August 2015); Second Vice President Joseph BUTORE (since 20 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 (49 seats in the July 2015 election; 34 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; 4 seats reserved for former heads of state, 3 seats reserved for Twas, and 8 seats for women; 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 held in 2019); National Assembly - last held on 29 June 2015 (next to be held on 2020)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 30, FRODEBU 3, CNDD 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, seats for women 18, seats for Twas 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 9 judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and cassation chambers); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission, a 15-member independent body of judicial and legal profession officials), appointed by the president, and confirmed by the Senate; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and serve 6-year nonrenewable terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; County Courts; Courts of Residence; Martial Court; Court Against Corruption; Commercial Court

Political parties and leaders

Front for Democracy in Burundi or FRODEBU
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 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 [Zenon NIMU BONA]
Union for National Progress (Union pour le Progress Nationale) or UPRONA

Political pressure groups and leaders

Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society or FORSC [Pacifique NININAHAZWE] (civil society umbrella organization)
other: Hutu and Tutsi militias

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Ernest NDABASHINZE (since 21 May 2014)
chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 408, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574
FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Anne S. CASPER (since 2016)
embassy: Avenue Des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura
mailing address: B.P. 1720, Bujumbura
telephone: [257] 22-207-000
FAX: [257] 22-222-926

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 foreig

An ethnic 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 w

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

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$7.892 billion (2016 est.)
$7.933 billion (2015 est.)
$8.259 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.742 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

-0.5% (2016 est.)
-4% (2015 est.)
4.5% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$800 (2016 est.)
$800 (2015 est.)
$900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

-0.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
-4.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
-2.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 92.4%
government consumption: 16.5%
investment in fixed capital: 24.3%
investment in inventories: -8.1%
exports of goods and services: 7.5%
imports of goods and services: -32.6% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 45.8%
industry: 17.1%
services: 37.1% (2016 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

0.8% (2016 est.)

Labor force

5.255 million (2016 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

42.4 (1998)


revenues: $525.1 million
expenditures: $656.9 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

19.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-4.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

43.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
39.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

6.5% (2016 est.)
5.5% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

11.25% (31 December 2010)
10% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

13.9% (31 December 2016 est.)
15.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$364.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$397.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$523.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$571.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$809.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$851.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$127 million (2016 est.)
-$455 million (2015 est.)


$132.4 million (2016 est.)
$119.6 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides

Exports - partners

Germany 12.3%, Pakistan 10.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 10.7%, Uganda 8.1%, Sweden 7.8%, US 7.1%, Belgium 6.3%, Rwanda 4.6%, France 4.4% (2015)


$683.4 million (2016 est.)
$800.1 million (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

Kenya 15%, Saudi Arabia 14%, Belgium 9.9%, Tanzania 8.3%, Uganda 7.3%, China 7.1%, India 4.9%, France 4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$100.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$136.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$705.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$684.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar -
1,665 (2016 est.)
1,571.9 (2015 est.)
1,571.9 (2014 est.)
1,546.7 (2013 est.)
1,442.51 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 9,700,000
electrification - total population: 5%
electrification - urban areas: 28%
electrification - rural areas: 2% (2013)

Electricity - production

300 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

400 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

100 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

66,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

1.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

98.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

1,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,636 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

300,000 Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 21,774
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 4.998 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (July 2015 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 has increased to roughly 45 per 100 persons
international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2015)

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 Bu (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 523,000
percent of population: 4.9% (July 2015 est.)


Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

9U (2016)


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)


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 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

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): 54,932 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2016)
IDPs: 57,926 (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) (2016)
stateless persons: 1,302 (2015)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Burundi is a source country for children and possibly women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; business people recruit Burundian girls for prostitution domestically, as well as in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and the Middle East, and recruit boys and girls for forced labor in Burundi and Tanzania; children and young adults are coerced into forced labor in farming, mining, informal commerce, fishing, or collecting river stones for construction; sometimes family, friends, and neighbors are complicit in exploiting children, at times luring them in with offers of educational or job opportunities
tier rating: Tier 3 – Burundi does not comply fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; corruption, a lack of political will, and limited resources continue to hamper efforts to combat human trafficking; in 2014, the government did not inform judicial and law enforcement officials of the enactment of an anti-trafficking law or how to implement it and approved – but did not fund – its national anti-trafficking action plan; authorities again failed to identify trafficking victims or to provide them with adequate protective services; the government has focused on transnational child trafficking but gave little attention to its domestic child trafficking problem and adult trafficking victims (2015)