Burundi

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

Burundi gained its independence from Belgium in 1962 as the Kingdom of Burundi, but the monarchy was overthrown in 1966 and a republic established. The assassination of Burundi’s president in 1993 triggered over 10 years of ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Political violence and non-democratic transfers of power have marked much of its history.

Geography

Area

total: 27,830 sq km
land: 25,680 sq km
water: 2,150 sq km

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)

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

13,162,952 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa, South Asian

Languages

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

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.)

Population growth rate

3.59% (2023 est.)

Government

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

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)

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)

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)

$8.849 billion (2021 est.)
$8.693 billion (2020 est.)
$8.665 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$700 (2021 est.)
$700 (2020 est.)
$700 (2019 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)

Exports

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

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

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

Imports

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

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)

Exchange rates

Burundi francs (BIF) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1,975.951 (2021 est.)
1,915.046 (2020 est.)
1,845.623 (2019 est.)
1,782.877 (2018 est.)
1,729.055 (2017 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024