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Burundi

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Cities of Burundi

Bujumbura (capital) | Bururi | Cankuzo | Cibitoke | Gitega | Karuzi | Kayanza | Kirundo | Makamba | Muramvya | Muyinga | Mwaro | Ngozi | Rutana | Ruyigi

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THE BURUNDI COAT OF ARMS
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Location of Burundi within the continent of Africa
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Burundi Map
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Flag Description of Burundi:The Burundi flag was officially adopted on June 28, 1967. The three stars represent the three ethnic groups that live in the country; the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. The red in the flag stands for the independence struggle, the green for hope and the white for peace.
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Official name Republika y’u Burundi (Rundi); République du Burundi (French) (Republic of Burundi)
Form of government republic with two legislative bodies (Senate [411]; National Assembly [1062])
Head of state and government President: Pierre Nkurunziza, assisted by Vice Presidents: Therence Sinunguruza and Gervais Rufyikiri
Capital Bujumbura3
Official languages Rundi; French
Official religion none
Monetary unit Burundi franc (FBu)
Population (2013 est.) 8,911,000
Total area (sq mi) 10,747
Total area (sq km) 27,834
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2011) 11.3%
Rural: (2011) 88.7%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2009) 56.2 years
Female: (2010) 61.8 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: (2010) 72.9%
Female: (2010) 61.8%

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 280

134 seats are indirectly elected; additional seats are designated for the Twa ethnic group (3) and former presidents (4).

2Includes 6 additional appointed or co-opted seats.

3Future move of capital to Gitega announced by president in March 2007.

About Burundi

Burundi, country in east-central Africa, south of the Equator. The landlocked country, a historic kingdom, is one of the few countries in Africa whose borders were not determined by colonial rulers.

The vast majority of Burundi’s population is Hutu, traditionally a farming people. Power, however, has long rested with the Tutsi minority, which historically has controlled the army and most of the economy, particularly the lucrative international export of coffee. Few real cultural differences are distinguishable between the two peoples, and both speak Rundi (Kirundi). Such linguistic homogeneity is rare in sub-Saharan Africa and emphasizes the historically close cultural and ethnic ties among the peoples in Burundi. Even so, ethnic conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi has plagued the country since it gained independence from Belgium in 1962, at a great cost in human life and property. Few Burundians escaped the ensuing anarchy into which the country was plunged when this interethnic violence flared anew in the 1990s, a bloody conflagration that well illustrated the Rundi proverb “Do not call for lightning to strike down your enemies, for it also may strike down your friends.” Neither the presence of an international peacekeeping force beginning in the late 1990s nor the ratification of an agreement to share power between Hutu and Tutsi were immediately effective in curbing interethnic violence, which also spilled into the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Burundians are now faced with the task of quelling ethnic dissent, promoting unity, and rebuilding the country.

Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, lies at the northeastern end of Lake Tanganyika. The old section of the city comprises buildings from the German and Belgian colonial periods, as well as a central market filled with hundreds of vendors’ booths. The country’s second city, Gitega, is also its cultural capital, containing the national museum and several schools. Gitega lies near the southernmost source of the Nile River and a spectacular waterfall, Chutes de la Kagera.


Geography of the Republic of Burundi

  • Location: Central Africa. Bordering nations--Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.
  • Area: 27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.
  • Capital City -- Bujumbura (pop. 300,000).
  • 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 centigrade (73 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit) but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m (5,600 ft.); average annual rainfall is about 150 cm (59 in.); two wet seasons (February to May and September to November), and two dry seasons (June to August and December to January).
  • Terrain: Hilly, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.

LAND

Burundi is bounded by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, Lake Tanganyika to the southwest, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.

Relief and drainage

Burundi’s topography includes the eastern flank of the Western Rift Valley. A chain of mountains and high plateaus formed from ancient Precambrian rock rises to 9,055 feet (2,760 metres) at Mount Heha, the country’s highest point. In the northwest the narrow Imbo valley extends southward from Rwanda to Lake Tanganyika and includes the Rusizi River, which separates Burundi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Farther south and west, along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the land rises steeply to form part of the Congo-Nile divide, which reaches elevations of 8,500 feet (2,600 metres). East of the divide, plateaus slope gently to elevations of 5,000–6,000 feet (1,500–1,800 metres) to the southeast; the Ruvyironza River flows northeast, cutting through the plateaus. A few valleys and shallow lakes occupy the northern frontier near Rwanda.

Soils

Light, forest-derived soils predominate, forming a thin layer of humus over lateritic (iron-rich) subsoils. The best soils are formed from alluvium, but they are confined primarily to the lower portions of larger river valleys. Soil erosion, caused by a combination of steep slopes and frequent rainfall, is a serious problem and creates a major constraint on agriculture; ironically, erosion is further exacerbated by the clearing of land for agricultural purposes.

Climate

Elevation is a major factor in Burundi’s climate, greatly moderating its tropical character. The country’s generally high elevation produces relatively cool temperatures, which average only about 70 °F (21 °C) throughout the year in the central plateau area and usually drop to below 60 °F (15 °C) at night. At lower elevations the annual average is only slightly higher—for example, at Bujumbura in the Imbo valley. Annual precipitation, which averages 60 to 70 inches (1,500 to 1,800 mm) in the highest-lying areas, is only about 40 inches (1,000 mm) on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. There is a short dry season from May to August..


Plant and animal life

The natural forest vegetation has almost entirely disappeared from the landscape and is limited now primarily to higher mountain slopes. On the plateau, wooded savanna is found at higher elevations, giving way to more-open savanna on the lower slopes. Poaching has dealt a severe blow to the country’s wildlife. The elephant population has virtually disappeared, leaving only warthogs, baboons, and antelope as the less endangered species.


People of The Republic of Burundi

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  • Nationality: Noun and adjective--Burundian(s).
  • Population (2008): 8,691,005.
  • Annual growth rate (2008): 3.443%.
  • Ethnic groups: Hutu (Bantu) 85%; Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%; Twa (Pygmy) 1.0%.
  • Religions: Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%.
  • Languages: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area), English.
  • Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--84.05% male, 62.8% female. *Literacy: 59.3% of total population over the age of 15 can read and write.
  • Health (2007): Life expectancy--total population 51.71 years; male 50.86 years; female 52.6 years. Infant mortality rate--60.77/1,000.
  • Ethnic groups

As in Rwanda, Tutsi and Hutu are the principal ethnic communities, with the Hutu constituting the overwhelming majority and the Tutsi a significant minority. Other groups include the Twa Pygmies and a sprinkling of Swahili-speaking peoples from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Common perceptions of Tutsi as uniformly tall and graceful and of Hutu as short and stocky do not fit the reality of physical variations because the two groups have frequently intermarried over the centuries.

Traditionally, the Hutu have been farmers, while the Tutsi have been pastoralists. Some regional status differences exist among the Tutsi, with the Tutsi-Banyaruguru clan found primarily in the north of the country and the Tutsi-Bahima primarily in the south. Historically, the Tutsi-Banyaruguru generally dominated precolonial Burundi, while the Tutsi-Bahima have generally dominated Burundi since independence. Society was originally organized around family and clan loyalties. Beginning in the 16th century, these ties were adapted to include a Tutsi monarchy. Intervening between the king (mwami) and the masses was a princely class (ganwa) that kept the ordinary Tutsi and Hutu on equal footing. The relationship between the two groups began to change during the colonial period, when the German and Belgian colonial administrators favoured the Tutsi over the Hutu.

  • Languages

Burundi’s official languages are Rundi (Kirundi), a Bantu language that is the standard medium of communication throughout the country, and French. Swahili, the language of trade, is widely spoken in Bujumbura, as is French. It is notable that Rundi is spoken by both the Hutu and Tutsi, who together form the overwhelming majority of the country’s population; such linguistic homogeneity is rare in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Religion

The country has a relatively large Christian population, of which about three-fifths are Roman Catholic. A large minority and even some Roman Catholics also practice traditional religion. Muslims constitute about one-tenth of the population. Church-state relations have been a focal point of ethnic tension since the 1970s. The government of the Second Republic (1976–87) attempted to curtail the social and educational activities of the Roman Catholic Church because its policies were thought to favour the Hutu over the Tutsi. After a military coup in 1987, the issue was temporarily defused, yet the church continues to be seen by many Tutsi as a dangerously subversive institution.

  • Settlement patterns

The hilly geography of the country discourages village formation, and traditional family compounds tend to be dispersed rather than concentrated—a key settlement characteristic of the area. This pattern has encouraged isolation rather than community and has contributed to the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Hutu and the Tutsi. Nonetheless, Burundi is heavily populated, with one of the highest densities in Africa. Urban centres are rare, the exceptions including Gitega in the central part of the country, Muyinga and Ngozi in the north, and Bujumbura, the largest city, sprawled along the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika. Civil unrest that began in the early to mid-1990s forced thousands of Hutu to settle in refugee camps spread throughout the countryside and in neighbouring countries. Around the same time, Burundi received an influx of refugees from Rwanda, fleeing from the genocide and subsequent political strife in their country. Rwandans also sought refuge in Burundi in the early 21st century. A large portion of the refugee population consists of women and children.

  • Demographic trends

Although infant and child mortality rates are high, Burundi’s birth rate is above average for central Africa, yet its population is not growing at the same high rate as other countries in Africa, in part because of the mass killings associated with the civil conflict there. About half of the population is under age 15, which assures a continued high growth rate. Only a small proportion of the population is considered urban, the majority of which live in Bujumbura. Life expectancy in Burundi, although low by world standards, is about the average for Africa.

Government of the Republic of Burundi

  • Type: Republic. Democratically elected, post-transition government established August 26, 2005.
  • Independence: July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).
  • Constitution: A transitional constitution was adopted October 18, 2001. The parliament adopted a post-transition constitution on September 17, 2004, which was approved in a nationwide referendum held February 28, 2005.
  • Branches:
    • Executive--President, First Vice President in charge of political and administrative affairs, Second Vice President in charge of social and economic affairs, 26-member Council of Ministers.
    • Legislative--A 100-member directly elected National Assembly plus additional deputies appointed as necessary (currently 18 appointed) to ensure an ethnic and gender composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, 30% female, and 3 Batwa members. A 54-member Senate (3 seats reserved for former presidents; 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority; 2 Senators, one Hutu and one Tutsi, from each of the 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura appointed by an electoral college comprised of members of locally elected communal and provincial councils; 14 Senators appointed by the president according to the president's own criteria. Women must comprise 30% of the Senate.)
    • Judicial--constitutional and subsidiary courts.
  • Administrative subdivisions: 17 provinces including Bujumbura, 117 communes.
  • Political parties: Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which CNDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Hutu), FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership), and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP (the People's Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).
  • Suffrage: Universal adult.
  • Constitutional framework

Under the 2005 constitution, power is to be shared by the Hutus and Tutsis. Executive power is vested in the president, who is ordinarily elected directly to a five-year term, renewable once. The president appoints the Council of Ministers. There is a bicameral legislature, with power exercised by the National Assembly, which is mandated to comprise 60 percent Hutu and 40 percent Tutsi, and by the Senate, which includes one Hutu and one Tutsi representative from each province, with three seats reserved for former presidents. In addition, three seats in each house are reserved for the Twa, and at least 30 percent of the seats in both houses are to be held by women. Members of both houses, most of whom are elected by universal suffrage, serve five-year terms.

  • Local government

Burundi is divided into 17 provinces, which are further divided into communes. Power at the local level rests in the hands of centrally appointed authorities.

  • Justice

Burundi’s legal system is based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law. The country’s highest court is the Supreme Court. Courts of appeal, administrative courts, a constitutional court, and tribunals of first instance, trade, and labour also exist in Burundi.

In 2005 the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution to create a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as a special court to prosecute war crimes and human rights violations.

  • Political process

Political parties are legally recognized only if they show a national rather than a regional or ethnic membership. Unity for National Progress (Unité pour le Progrès National; UPRONA) was founded in 1958 and dissolved in 1976 after a coup, later reemerging as the country’s only recognized political party for a period of time. Many parties have since been created, including Front for Democracy in Burundi (Front pour la Démocratie au Burundi; FRODEBU), which only emerged in 1992 after the constitution promulgated that year provided for multiparty politics; the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil National pour la Défense de la Democratie; CNDD), established in 1994; and the offshoot National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil National pour la Défense de la Democratie–Forces pour la Défense de la Democratie; CNDD-FDD), which formally registered as a party in 2005, although it existed prior to that year.

Women have had the right to vote since 1961, but few have held political positions of power; a notable exception was Sylvie Kinigi, Burundi’s first female prime minister, who held the office for almost seven months beginning in July 1993. Female representation in Burundi government increased following the 2005 constitutional mandate that at least 30 percent of the seats in both houses be held by women. Indeed, in the post-transition government installed in 2005, women constituted about one-third of both the National Assembly and the Senate. Burundi’s constitution has become a model for other countries in Africa.

  • Security

Burundi’s military consists primarily of an army, with a small air force contingent. Historically, the bulk of the armed forces were Tutsi-Banyaruguru. A new armed forces, mandated to comprise equal numbers of Hutu and Tutsi, was created in December 2004 and absorbed more than 20,000 former rebels. Burundi troops have participated in international peacekeeping missions in Africa.

  • Health and welfare

The most common health problems stem from communicable diseases and nutritional deficiencies, which account for most infant and child mortality. Those suffering from malnutrition receive some relief from feeding centres set up by international aid workers. Malaria, cholera, measles, influenza, and diarrhea are the major causes of death. Sleeping sickness is widespread in the lakeshore areas, and pulmonary diseases (tuberculosis) are common in the central highlands. HIV/AIDS is also a serious health concern. At the beginning of the 21st century, the number of reported cases appeared to stabilize in urban locales but had escalated at an alarming rate in rural areas. Burundi has limited hospital facilities and an insufficient number of medical personnel; these resources have been further strained by civil strife.

  • Housing

The traditional settlement pattern is one of family compounds (rugo), with circular one-room houses—often hidden by banana trees—rising above the hedges of individual enclosures. Urban areas contain colonial-style buildings as well as more-modern housing. Homes that utilized local resources were being built at the beginning of the 21st century. The new dwellings were intended to help relieve a chronic housing shortage, caused in part by the high population density in urban areas and exacerbated by the return of refugees who fled the country during the late 20th-century civil strife.

  • Education

About one-half of the country is literate, a rate that is lower than neighbouring countries and well below the world average. Primary education begins at age seven and is compulsory for six years; secondary education, divided into programs of four and then three years, is not mandatory. Education is free, and instruction is in Rundi at the primary level and in French at the secondary level. The distribution of the school-age population shows a striking disproportion in enrollment figures between primary and secondary schools, the former accounting for more than four-fifths of total enrollments. Only a small fraction of primary-school students are admitted to the secondary level, and fewer still are able to gain admission to the University of Burundi at Bujumbura or one of the few colleges in the country.

Ethnic discrimination in schools remains a politically sensitive issue. The overrepresentation of Tutsi at the secondary and university levels translates into the absence of significant avenues of upward mobility for the Hutu majority and the Twa, which means that Tutsi enjoy a virtual monopoly on civil-service positions. Despite outbreaks of ethnic strife, most schools have continued to function amid the unrest.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS of The Republic of Burundi

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued.

In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. In October and November 2003 the Burundian Government and the former rebel group the CNDD-FDD signed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements, and in March 2004 members of the CNDD-FDD took offices in the government and parliament. The World Bank and other bilateral donors have provided financing for Burundi's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants.

National and regional mediation efforts failed to reach a compromise on post-transition power-sharing arrangements between the predominantly Hutu and Tutsi political parties, and in September 2004 over two-thirds of the parliament--despite a boycott by the Tutsi parties--approved a post-transition constitution. The Arusha Peace Agreement called for local and national elections to be held before the conclusion of the transitional period on October 31, 2004. On October 20, 2004, however, a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted a previously approved draft constitution as an interim constitution that provided for an extension of transitional institutions until elections were held. On February 28, 2005, Burundians overwhelmingly approved a post-transitional constitution in a popular referendum, setting the stage for local and national elections. In April 2005, Burundi's transitional government was again extended and an electoral calendar was established at a regional summit held in Uganda.

In accordance with the new electoral calendar, the Burundian people voted in Commune Council direct elections on June 3, 2005 and National Assembly direct elections on July 4, 2005. An electoral college of commune and provincial councils indirectly elected Senate members on July 29, 2005. Legislative elections are scheduled to take place in 2010. A joint session of the parliament elected Pierre Nkurunziza as President of Burundi on August 19, 2005 in a vote of 151 to 9 with one abstention, establishing the post-transition Hutu majority government. Finally, the Burundian people established Colline (hill) councils through direct elections on September 23, 2005. Nkurunziza maintains the presidency and is eligible for reelection for a second term in 2010.

In September 2006, the last remaining rebel group in Burundi, the Palipehutu-FNL, signed a peace agreement. Implementation obstacles and spurts of violence from the group slowed the process. In May 2008, the leaders of the Palipehutu-FNL returned to Burundi to address the impasse and negotiate with the Government of Burundi. The two entities agreed upon a durable solution December 4, 2008. They are currently working toward implementing that agreement.


Principal Government Officials of the Republic of Burundi

President--Pierre Nkurunziza First Vice President--Yves Sahinguvu Second Vice President--Gabriel Ntisezerana Speaker of the National Assembly--Pie Ntavyohanyuma President of the Senate--Gervais Rufyikiri Minister of Defense--Germain Niyoyankana Minister of External Relations and Cooperation--Antoinette Batumubwira Minister of Interior and Communal Development--Venant Kamana Minister of Public Security--Alain Bunyoni Ambassador to the United States--Celestin Niyongabo Permanent Representative to the United Nations--Augustin Nsanze

Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).


ECONOMY of The Republic of Burundi

Burundi's economy is based predominantly on agriculture, accounting for 44.9% of GDP in 2006. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor force, the majority of whom are subsistence farmers. Although Burundi is potentially self-sufficient in food production, the civil war, overpopulation, and soil erosion have contributed to the contraction of the subsistence economy by 30% in recent years. Large numbers of internally displaced persons have been unable to produce their own food and are dependent on international humanitarian assistance. Burundi is a net food importer, with food accounting for 13% of imports in 2003.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for some 80% of exports in 2004. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi's vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. Although the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, plans for the privatization of this sector have stalled. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have likewise stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. Coffee production, after a severe drop in 2003, returned to normal levels in 2004. Revenues from coffee production and exports are likewise estimated to return to pre-2003 levels.

Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.4 billion in 2004. International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of violence in 1993; the IMF re-engaged Burundi in 2002 and 2003 with post-conflict credits, and in 2004 approved a $104 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility loan. The World Bank is preparing a Transition Support Strategy, and has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Both the IMF and the World Bank assisted the Burundians in preparing a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, released in February 2007. More than 81% of Burundians live below the poverty line. Serious economic problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.

Based on Burundi's successful transition from war to peace and the establishment of a democratically-elected government in Burundi in September 2005, the United States Government lifted all sanctions on assistance to Burundi on October 18, 2005. Burundi also became eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in December 2005.

  • GDP (2008): $1.097 billion.
    • GDP (2007): $1.001 billion.
  • Real growth rate (2008): 4.5%.
    • Real growth rate (2007): 3.6%.
  • Per capita GDP (2008): $138.
    • Per capita GDP (2007): $128.
  • Population below poverty line (2000): 68%.
  • Inflation rate (2008): 24.4%.
    • Inflation rate (2007): 8.4%.
  • Central government budget (2006 est.): Revenues--$239.9 million; expenditures--$297 million, including capital expenditures.
  • Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone.
  • Agriculture (2007 est., 34% of GDP): Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides. Arable land--35.57% (2005 est.).
    • Agriculture (2006 est., 44.9% of GDP): Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides. Arable land--35.57% (2005 est.).
  • Industry (2006 est., 20.9% of GDP): Types--beverage production, coffee and tea processing, cigarette production, sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, light food processing, textiles, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, consumer goods, assembly of imported components, light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap.
  • Services (2006 est.): 34.1% of GDP.
  • Mining: Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium and other; peat mining.
  • Trade (2006 est.): Exports--$55.68 million f.o.b.: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets--U.K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports--$207.3 million f.o.b.: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum products. Major suppliers--Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan.

Total external debt (2003 est.): $1.2 billion.

Agriculture is the economic mainstay of the country, with industrial activities accounting for less than one-fourth of the gross domestic product. Coffee, chiefly arabica, is the principal export crop and source of foreign exchange. Cash crops of lesser importance include cotton and tea. By the late 1990s, more than three-fifths of the country’s population were living in poverty—a result of civil strife and the ravages of war, the predominance of traditional subsistence agriculture, the persistence of low income levels, chronic deficits in the balance of trade, and heavy dependence on foreign aid. Western countries and surrounding African countries imposed economic sanctions against Burundi following a Tutsi-led military coup in 1996, which affected all of Burundi’s exports and its oil imports. Sanctions were eased beginning in 1997, a regional embargo was lifted in 1999, and much of the country’s foreign debt was forgiven in 2005, but the process of economic recovery has been slow.

  • Agriculture, forestry, and fishing

Approximately half of Burundi’s land area is considered cultivable, and about one-third is suitable for pasture. Staple food crops include beans, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), and sorghum. Arabica coffee traditionally has been a major commodity for Burundi. The production of coffee dropped by about half in the 1990s because of civil strife but has since rebounded. Tea and sugar are also major export crops. Large areas of cotton are cultivated, mainly in the Imbo valley; however, cotton output has decreased to less than half the production levels of the early 1990s. Although the density of livestock results in overgrazing, the commercial value of livestock production is virtually nil. By the early 21st century, Burundi’s forested area had shrunk to less than 3 percent of the total land area in spite of reforestation efforts. Lake Tanganyika and the smaller lakes and rivers of the interior are rich sources of tilapia and other fish.

  • Resources and power

Unexploited mineral resources include considerable nickel deposits in the eastern part of the country, as well as significant reserves of vanadium, uranium, and phosphates. Geologic assessments also indicate possible major petroleum reserves beneath Lake Tanganyika and in the Rusizi valley. Mineral production, however, is generally limited and includes niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, and wolframite (a source of tungsten). Peat and firewood are the two major local sources of fuel. Electrical production is mostly hydro-generated, a portion of which is imported.

  • Manufacturing

Industrial activity is limited to small-scale processing and manufacturing plants, concentrated mostly in Bujumbura. Among the largest industrial enterprises are a brewery and a textile company. Agricultural products such as cotton, coffee, tea, and sugar are also processed in the country. Despite an environment long characterized by civil unrest, the government has remained committed to protecting the industrial sector.

  • Finance, trade, and services

Banque de la République du Burundi is the country’s central bank; it issues the Burundi franc, the national currency, and regulates the operation of national and foreign banks.

Beginning in the 1980s, Burundi experienced a growing trade deficit and increasingly heavy dependence on foreign aid that continued into the 21st century. In 2005, however, Burundi benefited from international debt forgiveness.

On average, export earnings are small (less than half the cost of imports), which reflects a steady growth of consumption and investment coupled with a sharp decline in the international price of coffee and rising import prices. About three-fifths of Burundi’s export earnings come from coffee, with tea accounting for much of the remaining value. Chief trading partners include Switzerland, Belgium-Luxembourg, and Kenya and other nearby African countries.

Tourism in Burundi has great potential, but the country’s conflicts have severely limited visitors to the region.

  • Labour and taxation

About nine-tenths of the labour force of Burundi is engaged in agricultural activity. The workers’ right to form unions is protected by the Labor Code of Burundi, but there has long been a fragile relationship between unions and the government; union leaders have sometimes been detained, and their records have been confiscated by the police. Since the promulgation of the 2005 constitution, which mandated an increased role for women in government, more Burundian women have entered the workforce, rapidly increasing women’s presence not only in government but in development programs and civil service as well.

Revenue sources include taxes on domestic goods and services, international trade, import duties, and social security contributions.

  • Transportation and telecommunications

In the absence of railroads, only three major routes are available across the country: the northern route by road from Bujumbura to Mombasa (Kenya) via Rwanda; the central route by barge down the Rusizi River to Lake Tanganyika, then to Kigoma (Tanzania); and the southern route across Lake Tanganyika to Kalemie (Democratic Republic of the Congo). A secondary road network connects Bujumbura to various provincial capitals. In 1992 the Bridge of Concord, the country’s longest bridge, was opened; it traverses the Rusizi River. An international airport is located in Bujumbura.

By the early 21st century, telephone services had increased, as had the number of mobile cellular phones in use. Internet access is also expanding in Burundi.

CULTURE LIFE of The Republic of Burundi

Daily life, social customs, and the arts Much of Burundi’s rich cultural heritage, most notably folk songs and dances, was intended to extol the virtues of kingship; however, since the fall of the monarchy in 1966 (and particularly after a massacre of Hutu in 1972), such cultural expression has waned. Burundian daily life has since been conditioned by the exigencies of survival in a time of civil strife and ethnic hatred, and many important social institutions, such as the family and the village council, have lost their force, weakened by political chaos and the wholesale displacement of populations. Once widely celebrated events include the annual sorghum festival (umuganuro), the occasion for a magnificent display of traditional dances by court dancers (intore). Also participating in the festival are drummers beating the Karyenda (“sacred drum”), an emblem of the monarchy—their performance is intended to give both musical and symbolic resonance to this festival and to other ceremonial occasions. Government efforts to promote interethnic harmony through displays of a shared cultural heritage have been sporadic and only modestly successful. Burundian museums that celebrate the country’s heritage include the National Museum in Gitega and the Living Museum in Bujumbura, which also includes botanical gardens and animal exhibits.

Throughout history, Burundians have enjoyed a tradition of expression in the visual arts. Decorated papyrus panels, which feature geometric patterns and often depict themes from Burundian legend, are prized by collectors of ethnic arts, as are Burundian-made swords and drums. Ceramic manufacture, introduced by Italian missionaries in the 1960s, has also been an important form of artistic expression, and Burundian potters have added indigenous elements to this imported medium. Other arts and crafts include basketry and beadwork. The dye usually used to colour Burundian handicrafts is derived from natural plant extracts.

Burundian conversations and social gatherings often feature recitations, singing, and the exchange of jokes, proverbs, and tall tales. Only a few books have been written to date in Rundi, most of them collections of contemporary poetry and folklore. The few writers to have emerged since independence—notably the novelists Séraphin Sésé, Louis Katamari, and Richard Ndayizigamiye, along with the memoirist Michel Kakoya—are little known outside the country. Founded in 1989, the National Library in Bujumbura is a repository for Burundian literature.

Traditional activities such as drumming and dancing contain aspects of both culture and competition: the Intore Dancers, a group that celebrates national folklore, has won numerous international folk dance competitions, and drummers compete with the traditional Karyenda drums. Burundi’s best-known cultural export is a troupe of traveling musicians called Les Maîtres-Tambours du Burundi (Drummers of Burundi). This group, made up of as many as 30 percussionists and dancers, produces an energetic, polyrhythmic sound organized around the inkiranya drum. The addition of the amashako drum, which provides a continuous beat, and the complimentary rhythm of the ibishikiso drum complete the impressive sound. The group has been widely influential and has made many recordings. Burundian singer Khadja Nin has also released several recordings, with lyrics in Swahili, Rundi, and French.

  • Sports and recreation

Since the 1990s Burundi has tried to use sports to bring together the country’s warring factions. Football (soccer) is popular, and Burundi has competed in several African Cup of Nations championships. Burundians have also excelled in athletics (track and field), none more than Vénuste Niyongabo, who won a gold medal (Burundi’s first medal) in the 5,000-metre race at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

  • Media and publishing

Access to radio and television is limited. Although the 2005 constitution provides for freedom of the press, the government still imposes restrictions. In addition, journalists have engaged in self-censorship. Le Renouveau du Burundi, a daily newspaper published in French, is owned by the government. Other periodicals are published on a weekly basis or less frequently.


HISTORY of The Republic of Burundi

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) that owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire--a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent governmental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup led by Capt. Michel Micombero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza's human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.

In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya overthrew Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform.

In 1991, Buyoya approved a constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a parliament. Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutu-dominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, in which tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.

Burundi's civil war officially ended in 2006 under a South Africa-brokered cease-fire agreement with the last of Burundi's rebel groups. Today the government is focused on rebuilding its infrastructure and reestablishing external relations with its regional neighbors.--->>>>>Read On.<<<<

FOREIGN RELATIONS of Burundi

Burundi's relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. The Great Lakes is home to a number of illegal armed groups, including the Burundian Palipehutu-FNL. Thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thousands of Burundians fled to neighboring countries during the civil war, more than 48,000 of whom sought refuge in Tanzania. Burundi maintains close relations with all neighbors in the Great Lakes region, including Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In reaffirming Burundi's commitment to regional peacekeeping and allegiance to the African Union, the government recently deployed troops to quell the ongoing crisis in Somalia.

Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the African Union, the African Development Bank, COMESA, the free-tariff zone of eastern and southern Africa, and the East Africa Community (EAC).

U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS U.S. Government goals in Burundi are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based upon democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, ongoing democratic reforms, political openness, respect for human rights, and economic development. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent.

The United States supported the Arusha peace process, providing financial support through our assessed contributions to a UN peacekeeping force established in 2004. Burundi is also a member of the Tripartite Plus Commission, which convenes member countries of the Great Lakes region in an effort to end the threat of armed groups and foster stability.

Principal U.S. Officials Ambassador--Patricia Newton Moller Deputy Chief of Mission--JoAnne Wagner Political Officers--Lewis Carroll, Matthew Garrett Economic Officer--Mark Carr Management Officer--Anthony Kleiber Consular Officer--Caren Brown Regional Security Officer--Christopher Bakken General Service Officer--Chelsea Bakken

The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenue des Etats-Unis (Boite Postale 1720), Bujumbura (tel. [257] 222234-54).

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION of The Republic of Burundi The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings. Country Specific Information exists for all countries and includes information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable. For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4-USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778); TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793. Passport information is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You may speak with a representative Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and a web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. The CDC publication "Health Information for International Travel" can be found at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentYellowBook.aspx.

Kingdom of Burundi

Historical kingdom, East Africa

Kingdom of Burundi, traditional East African state, now the Republic of Burundi. At some time before the 17th century, the Tutsi, a pastoral people, established their dominance over the Hutu agriculturalists living in the area. During his reign (c. 1675–1705) the mwami (king) Ntare Rushatsi (Ntare I) expanded his rule from the central Nkoma area over the neighbouring Bututsi, Kilimiro, and Buyenzi regions. A later king, Ntare II Rugaamba (c. 1795–1852), made further conquests, occupying parts of what is now southern Rwanda and western Tanzania. The organization of the kingdom was decentralized: local princes enjoyed semiautonomy, and conflicts over succession to the kingship were frequent; these became serious in the late 19th century, and by 1900 Ntare Rugaamba’s successor, Mwezi Kisabo, controlled only half the kingdom.

From 1890 Burundi was claimed by the Germans as part of German East Africa, but they never occupied it. It was taken over by the Belgians from the neighbouring Congo during World War I, and after the war it was awarded with Rwanda to Belgium as the League of Nations mandate (later the United Nations trust territory) of Ruanda-Urundi. After World War II Burundians began to press for independence, which was achieved in 1962.

Burundi in 2004

Burundi Area: 27,816 sq km (10,740 sq mi) Population (2004 est.): 6,231,000 (excluding about 500,000 refugees in Tanzania) Capital: Bujumbura Head of state and government: President Domitien ...<<<read on<<<


Burundi in 1996

Burundi Burundi is a landlocked republic of central Africa. Area: 27,816 sq km (10,740 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 5,943,000. Cap.: Bujumbura. Monetary unit: Burundi franc, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free ...<<<read on<<<

Disclaimer

This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.