Photos of Burundi

Introduction

Background

Established in the 1600s, the Burundi Kingdom has had borders similar to those of modern Burundi since the 1800s. Burundi’s two major ethnic groups, the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi, share a common language and culture and largely lived in peaceful cohabitation under Tutsi monarchs in pre-colonial Burundi. Regional, class, and clan distinctions contributed to social status in the Burundi Kingdom, yielding a complex class structure. German colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and Belgian rule after World War I preserved Burundi’s monarchy. Seeking to simplify administration, Belgian colonial officials reduced the number of chiefdoms and eliminated most Hutu chiefs from positions of power. In 1961, the Burundian Tutsi king’s oldest son, Louis RWAGASORE, was murdered by a competing political faction shortly before he was set to become prime minister, triggering increased political competition that contributed to later instability.

Burundi gained its independence from Belgium in 1962 as the Kingdom of Burundi. Revolution in neighboring Rwanda stoked ethnic polarization as the Tutsi increasingly feared violence and loss of political power. A failed Hutu-led coup in 1965 triggered a purge of Hutu officials and set the stage for Tutsi officers to overthrow the monarchy in 1966 and establish a Tutsi-dominated republic. A Hutu rebellion in 1972 resulted in the deaths of several thousand Tutsi civilians and sparked brutal Tutsi-led military reprisals against Hutu civilians which ultimately killed 100,000-200,000 people. International pressure led to a new constitution in 1992 and democratic elections in 1993. Tutsi military officers feared Hutu domination and assassinated Burundi's first democratically elected president, Hutu Melchior NDADAYE, in 1993 after only 100 days in office, sparking a civil war. In 1994, his successor, Cyprien NTARYAMIRA, died when the Rwandan president’s plane he was traveling on was shot down, which triggered the Rwandan genocide and further entrenched ethnic conflict in Burundi. The internationally brokered Arusha Agreement, signed in 2000, and subsequent cease-fire agreements with armed movements ended the 1993-2005 civil war. Burundi’s second democratic elections were held in 2005, resulting in the election of Pierre NKURUNZIZA as president. He was reelected in 2010 and again in 2015 after a controversial court decision allowed him to circumvent a term limit. President Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE -- from NKURUNZIZA’s ruling party -- was elected in 2020.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

3 30 S, 30 00 E

Area

total: 27,830 sq km

land: 25,680 sq km

water: 2,150 sq km

comparison ranking: total 146

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,140 km

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

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

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)

Terrain

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

Elevation

highest point: unnamed elevation on Mukike Range 2,685 m

lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m

mean elevation: 1,504 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% (2018 est.)

arable land: 38.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 15.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 6.6% (2018 est.)

other: 20.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

230 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Tanganyika (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia) - 32,000 sq km

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Population distribution

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; concentrations tend to be in the north and along the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika in the west; most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

flooding; landslides; drought

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

Population

13,162,952 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 77

Nationality

noun: Burundian(s)

adjective: Burundian

Ethnic groups

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa, South Asian

Languages

Kirundi (official), French (official), English (official, least spoken), Swahili (2008 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Igitabo Mpuzamakungu c'ibimenyetso bifatika, isoko ntabanduka ku nkuru z'urufatiro. (Kirundi)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

note: data represent languages read and written by people 10 years of age or older; spoken Kirundi is nearly universal

Religions

Christian 93.9% (Roman Catholic 58.6%, Protestant 35.3% [includes Adventist 2.7% and other Protestant religions 32.6%]), Muslim 3.4%, other 1.3%, none 1.3% (2016-17 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 almost two-thirds of its population under the age of 25 and a birth rate of about 5 children per woman as of 2022, 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 deteriorated when 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: 42.67% (male 2,830,996/female 2,786,154)

15-64 years: 54.03% (male 3,523,380/female 3,588,511)

65 years and over: 3.3% (2023 est.) (male 187,176/female 246,735)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 95.2

youth dependency ratio: 90.4

elderly dependency ratio: 4.8

potential support ratio: 20.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 17.9 years

female: 18.5 years

comparison ranking: total 219

Population growth rate

3.59% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 4

Birth rate

34.9 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Death rate

5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 166

Net migration rate

6.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Population distribution

one of Africa's most densely populated countries; concentrations tend to be in the north and along the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika in the west; most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 14.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 5.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

1.207 million BUJUMBURA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

21.5 years (2016/17 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

494 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 14

Infant mortality rate

total: 36.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 40.9 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 32.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 34

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.8 years (2023 est.)

male: 65.7 years

female: 70 years

comparison ranking: total population 190

Total fertility rate

4.96 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Gross reproduction rate

2.45 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.7% of population

rural: 78.9% of population

total: 81.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.3% of population

rural: 21.1% of population

total: 18.4% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

6.5% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

0.8 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 87.4% of population

rural: 53.7% of population

total: 58.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 12.6% of population

rural: 46.3% of population

total: 41.6% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Burundi is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

5.4% (2016)

comparison ranking: 178

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.84 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 2.23 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 95

Tobacco use

total: 11.8% (2020 est.)

male: 17.4% (2020 est.)

female: 6.1% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 123

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

27.6% (2022)

comparison ranking: 6

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 2.8%

women married by age 18: 19%

men married by age 18: 1.4% (2017 est.)

Education expenditures

5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 77

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 74.7%

male: 81.3%

female: 68.4% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2018)

Environment

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, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Climate

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)

Land use

agricultural land: 73.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 38.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 15.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 18.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 6.6% (2018 est.)

other: 20.1% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 14.8% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 5.43% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to the effects of weather - according to the latest estimates, about 1.2 million people are estimated to be facing Crisis levels of acute food insecurity between June and September 2023, unchanged year on year; the main drivers are the lingering impact of floods in northern areas in late 2022 and high food prices due, in part, to the depreciation of the local currency (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

10.31% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 3

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 126

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 28 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.5 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.42 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,872,016 tons (2002 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Tanganyika (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia) - 32,000 sq km

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 40 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 20 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 220 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

12.54 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Burundi

conventional short form: Burundi

local long form: Republique du Burundi (French)/ Republika y'u Burundi (Kirundi)

local short form: Burundi

former: Urundi, German East Africa, Ruanda-Urundi, Kingdom of Burundi

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

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Gitega (political capital), Bujumbura (commercial capital); note - in January 2019, the Burundian parliament voted to make Gitega the political capital of the country while Bujumbura would remain its economic capital; as of 2023, the government's move to Gitega remains incomplete

geographic coordinates: 3 25 S, 29 55 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the naming origins for both Gitega and Bujumbura are obscure; Bujumbura's name prior to independence in 1962 was Usumbura

Administrative divisions

18 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rumonge, Rutana, Ruyigi; note- a law was passed in March 2023 reducing the number of provinces to five: Buhumuza, Bujumbura, Burunga, Butanyerera, Gitega, with full implementation by 2025.

Independence

1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution

history: several previous, ratified by referendum 28 February 2005

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic after consultation with the government or by absolute majority support of the membership in both houses of Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Senate membership and at least four-fifths majority vote by the National Assembly; the president can opt to submit amendment bills to a referendum; constitutional articles including those on national unity, the secularity of Burundi, its democratic form of government, and its sovereignty cannot be amended; amended 2018 (amendments extended the presidential term from 5 to 7 years, reintroduced the position of prime minister, and reduced the number of vice presidents from 2 to 1)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Belgian civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew from ICCt in October 2017

Citizenship

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE (since 18 June 2020); Vice President Prosper BAZOMBANZA (since 24 June 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE (since 18 June 2020); Vice President Prosper BAZOMBANZA (since 24 June 2020); Prime Minister Gervais NDIRAKOBUCA (since 7 September 2022)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 May 2020 (next to be held in May 2027); vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by Parliament; note - a 2018 constitutional referendum, effective for the 2020 election, increased the presidential term from 5 to 7 years with a 2-consecutive-term limit, reinstated the position of the prime minister position, and reduced the number of vice presidents from 2 to 1

election results:
2020: Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE elected president; percent of vote - Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE (CNDD-FDD) 71.5%, Agathon RWASA (CNL) 25.2%, Gaston SINDIMWO (UPRONA) 1.7%, other 1.6%

2015: Pierre NKURUNZIZA reelected president; percent of vote - Pierre NKURUNZIZA (CNDD-FDD) 69.4%, Agathon RWASA (Hope of Burundians - Amizerio y'ABARUNDI) 19%, other 11.6%

 

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate or Inama Nkenguzamateka (39 seats in the July 2020 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 simple majority vote for the two leading candidates in the final round; 3 seats reserved for Twas, and 30% of all votes reserved for women; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly or Inama Nshingamateka (123 seats in the May 2020 election; 100 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 23 co-opted members; 60% of seats allocated to Hutus and 40% to Tutsis; 3 seats reserved for Twas; 30% of total seats reserved for women; members serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 20 July 2020 (next to be held in 2025)
National Assembly - last held on 20 May 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - CNDD-FDD 87.2%, Twa 7.7%, CNL 2.6%, UPRONA 2.6%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 34, Twa 3, CNL 1, UPRONA 1; composition - men 23, women 16, percent of women 37.2%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CNDD-FDD 70.9%, CNL 23.4%, UPRONA 2.5%, other (co-opted Twa) 3.2%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 86, CNL 32, Twa 3, UPRONA 2; composition - men 76, women 47, percent of women 38.2%; note - total Parliament percent of women 38%

 

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 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; Commercial Court

Political parties and leaders

Council for Democracy and the Sustainable Development of Burundi or CODEBU [Keffa NIBIZI]
Front for Democracy in Burundi-Sahwanya or FRODEBU-Sahwanya [Patrick NKURUNZIZA]
National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD-FDD [Evariste NDAYISHIMIYE]
National Congress for Liberty or CNL [Agathon RWASA]
National Liberation Forces or FNL [Jacques BIGIRIMANA]
Union for National Progress (Union pour le Progress Nationale) or UPRONA [Olivier NKURUNZIZA] 

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, ATMIS, AU, CEMAC, CEPGL, CICA, COMESA, EAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICGLR, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jean Bosco BAREGE (since 27 February 2024)

chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574

FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578

email address and website: burundiembusadc@gmail.com

Burundi Embassy Washington D.C. (burundiembassy-usa.com)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires Keith GILGES (since June 2022)

embassy: B.P. 1720, Avenue Des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura

mailing address: 2100 Bujumbura Place, Washington DC  20521-2100

telephone: [257] 22-207-000

email address and website:
BujumburaC@state.gov

https://bi.usembassy.gov/

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

Economic overview

highly agrarian, low-income Sub-Saharan economy; declining foreign assistance; increasing fiscal insolvencies; dense and still growing population; COVID-19 weakened economic recovery and flipped two years of deflation

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.128 billion (2022 est.)
$8.962 billion (2021 est.)
$8.693 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 167

Real GDP growth rate

1.85% (2022 est.)
3.1% (2021 est.)
0.33% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 169

Real GDP per capita

$700 (2022 est.)
$700 (2021 est.)
$700 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 224

GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.339 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

18.8% (2022 est.)
8.4% (2021 est.)
7.32% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 195

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 39.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 16.4% (2017 est.)

services: 44.2% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 199; industry 172; agriculture 11

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 83% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 16% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 5.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -25.3% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, bananas, sweet potatoes, plantains, beans, vegetables, potatoes, cashew nuts, maize, taro

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

3.16% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 114

Labor force

5.511 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 76

Unemployment rate

0.91% (2022 est.)
1.14% (2021 est.)
1.03% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 5

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 3.4% (2021 est.)

male: 4.6%

female: 2.5%

comparison ranking: total 195

Population below poverty line

64.9% (2013 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

38.6 (2013 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 66

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 31% (2013 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

1.45% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.74% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.82% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $747 million (2020 est.)

expenditures: $1.111 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 177

Public debt

51.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
48.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Taxes and other revenues

15.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 134

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$362.645 million (2018 est.)
-$373.389 million (2017 est.)
-$339.695 million (2016 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 103

Exports

$285.105 million (2018 est.)
$270.686 million (2017 est.)
$315 million (2017 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 197

Exports - partners

United Arab Emirates 50%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, coffee, tea, raw earth metal ores, beer (2021)

note: rare earth metal ores include zirconium, vanadium, tantalum, and niobium

Imports

$905.294 million (2018 est.)
$885.422 million (2017 est.)
$1.295 billion (2017 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 191

Imports - partners

China 14%, Saudi Arabia 14%, India 9%, Kenya 7%, United Arab Emirates 7%, Tanzania 5%, Zambia 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, packaged medicines, cement, raw sugar, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$163.238 million (2022 est.)
$266.164 million (2021 est.)
$90.319 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 188

Debt - external

$610.9 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$622.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 174

Exchange rates

Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
2,034.307 (2022 est.)
1,975.951 (2021 est.)
1,915.046 (2020 est.)
1,845.623 (2019 est.)
1,782.877 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 11 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 10.2% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 62.8% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 1.6% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 100,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 440.774 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 100 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 15.96 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 183; transmission/distribution losses 26; imports 108; exports 165; consumption 174

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 33.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 62.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 5,000 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 187

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 179

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,374 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

715,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 715,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 183

Energy consumption per capita

1.087 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 194

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 14,918 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 182

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 7,740,494 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 62 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 103

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Burundi provides an attractive telecom market given its high population density and existing low subscription rates for all services; one downside for investors is that the country has a very low economic output,and an unconducive business environment;  disposable income is also very low, and fixed-line infrastructure is poor outside the main urban areas; this is a greater motivation for investors to focus on improving mobile networks than in expanding fixed-line infrastructure; to overcome difficulties associated with the poor telecom infrastructure, the government has supported a number of prominent telcos building a national fiber backbone network; this network offers onward connectivity to submarine cable infrastructure landings in Kenya and Tanzania; the first sections of this network were switched on in early 2014, and additional provinces have since been connected; in addition, the government in early 2018 kick-started the Burundi Broadband project, which aims to deliver national connectivity by 2025; based on this improved infrastructure the government and ITU have developed an ICT strategy to make use of telecoms to promote the country’s socio-economic development through to 2028; progress made by Tanzania with its own national backbone network has benefited Burundi, which has been provided with onward connectivity to most countries in the region; International bandwidth capacity has continued to increase in recent years, including a 38% increase in the nine months to September 2021, resulting in lower retail prices for consumers; two of the mobile operators have launched 3G and LTE services to capitalize on the growing demand for internet access; the number of mobile subscribers increased 7% in the third quarter of 2021, quarter-on-quarter; similar growth is expected for the next two years at least, which will help bring the mobile level closer to the average for the region (2022); Burundi’s Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (ARCT) has recently published its roadmap for the deployment of 5G services in the country, setting out a target of July 2024 for the introduction of commercial services.   (2022)

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is about 62 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean); the government, supported by the World Bank, has backed a joint venture with a number of prominent telecoms to build a national fiber backbone network, offering onward connectivity to submarine cable infrastructure landings in Kenya and Tanzania (2019)

Broadcast media

state-controlled Radio Television Nationale de Burundi (RTNB) operates a TV station and a national radio network; 3 private TV stations and about 10 privately owned radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in Bujumbura (2019)

Internet users

total: 754,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 5.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 158

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 4,230 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.04 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 190

Transportation

Airports

6 (2024)

comparison ranking: 173

Roadways

total: 12,000 km

paved: 1,500 km (2020)

comparison ranking: total 132

Waterways

673 km (2022) (mainly on Lake Tanganyika between Bujumbura, Burundi's principal port, and lake ports in Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo)

comparison ranking: 83

Ports and terminals

lake port(s): Bujumbura (Lake Tanganyika)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

National Defense Force of Burundi (Force de Defense Nationale du Burundi or FDNB): Land Force (Force Terrestre), the Navy Force (Force Marine), the Air Force (Force Aerienne) and Specialized Units (Unites Specialisees) (2024)

note 1: the Specialized Units include a special security brigade for the protection of institutions (aka BSPI), commandos, special forces, and military police

note 2: in 2022, Burundi created a new reserve force (Force de réserve et d’appui au développement, FRAD); the FRAD's duties include organizing paramilitary trainings, supporting other components in protecting the integrity of the national territory, conceiving and implementing development projects, and operationalizing national and international partnerships

note 3: the Burundi National Police (Police Nationale du Burundi) are under the Ministry of Interior, Community Development, and Public Security

Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2022 est.)
2% of GDP (2021 est.)
2.1% of GDP (2020 est.)
3% of GDP (2019 est.)
2.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 48

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 25-30,000 active-duty troops, the majority of which are ground forces (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military has a mix of mostly older weapons and equipment typically of French, Russian, and Soviet origin, and a smaller selection of more modern secondhand equipment from such countries as China, South Africa, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (2023)

Military deployments

760 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); up to 3,000 in Somalia (ATMIS; note - foreign troop contingents under ATMIS are drawing down towards a final exit in December 2024) (2024)

note: Burundi deployed military troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2022 as part of an East African regional force; as of 2024, as many as 1,000 troops reportedly remained in the DRC

Military - note

the FDNB is responsible for defending Burundi’s territorial integrity and protecting its sovereignty; it has an internal security role, including maintaining and restoring public order if required; the FDNB also participates in providing humanitarian/disaster assistance, countering terrorism, narcotics trafficking, piracy, and illegal arms trade, and protecting the country’s environment; the FDNB conducts limited training with foreign partners such as Russia and participates in regional peacekeeping missions, most recently in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Somalia; these missions have provided the force some operational experience and funding; in recent years the FDNB has conducted operations against anti-government rebel groups based in the neighboring DRC that have carried out sporadic attacks in Burundi, such as the such as National Forces of Liberation (FNL), the Resistance for the Rule of Law-Tabara (aka RED Tabara), and Popular Forces of Burundi (FPB or FOREBU)

the Land Force’s primary units are four regionally based divisions which are comprised mostly of light infantry complemented by a few battalions of artillery, light armored forces, and commandos; the FDNB also has a separate special security brigade for protecting key facilities; the Air Force is lightly equipped with a handful of combat helicopters, while the Naval Force has a few patrol boats for monitoring Burundi’s 175-km shoreline on Lake Tanganyika

the Arusha Accords that ended the 1993-2005 civil war created a unified military by balancing the predominantly Tutsi ex-Burundi Armed Forces (ex-FAB) and the largely Hutu dominated armed movements and requiring the military to have a 50/50 ethnic mix of Tutsis and Hutus (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Burundi-Rwanda: Burundi's Ngozi province and Rwanda's Butare province dispute the two-kilometer-square hilly farmed area of Sabanerwa in the Rukurazi Valley where the Akanyaru/Kanyaru River shifted its course southward after heavy rains in 1965 around Kibinga Hill in Rwanda's Butare Province


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 87,157 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2024)

IDPs: 76,987 (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) (2023)

stateless persons: 767 (mid-year 2021)