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Info Africa - BURUNDI

Burundi is a small country located in eastern Africa, bordering Lake Tanganyika as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Burundi gained independence in 1962 from the Belgium administration. Along with present-day Rwanda and Tanzania, Burundi was part of German East Africa until 1919. Since gaining independence, Burundi has experienced tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. This period of rivalry triggered widespread violence and displaced thousands of Burundians. Burundi is still establishing itself after the 12-year, ethnic based war between the Hutus and Tutsis. The current government is working hard to improve its political, economical and social

situation. As well, the government is establishing a sense of national unity, as a means of overcoming the ethnic tension and rivalry of the past. Burundi is known for its wonderful landscapes, from mountains and forests to tropical plateau. It is also known for its huge diversity of vegetation and animals. The capital city of Burundi, Bujumbura, is located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. This bustling town has some old architecture dating from the period of German occupation. As well, there are three museums and an Islamic Cultural Center in this capital city. On the shores of Lake Tanganyika, there are some opportunities for water sports, such as sailing and water-skiing. Other attraction points of Burundi include the former royal cities of Muramvya and Gitega. Burundi is also known for its musical tradition. The well-known Drummers of Burundi are known world-wide. Although Burundi has more than one ethnic group, Burundians have spoken one language for a long time; Kirundi.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Burundi''s Flag

Divided by a white diagonal cross into red panels (top and bottom) and green panels (hoist side and fly side) with a white disk at the center bearing three red six-pointed stars outlined in green arranged in a triangular design.

Nationality: Burundian

Capital: Bujumbura

Population: 8,090,068 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 46.3%
  • 15-64 years: 51.1%
  • 65 years and over: 2.6% (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.7% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 51.6% of the population is literate (male: 58.5%, female: 45.2%) (2003 est.)

Major 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)

Quick Facts
  • total: 27,830 sq km
  • land: 25,650 sq km
  • water: 2,180 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: four times the size of Prince Edward Island

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

Environmental Issues: deforestation (increased cutting of trees for fuel); soil erosion as a result of overgrazing and the expansion of agriculture into marginal lands; habitat loss threatens wildlife populations


Burundi is often described as a resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. More than 90% of the population depends on subsistence agriculture. Burundi’s economic growth largely depends on coffee and tea exports, which accounts for 90% of foreign exchange earnings.  Paying for imports depends principally on international coffee and tea prices, as well as weather conditions. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the government and coffee trade. The end of the civil war and political stability has increased aid flows and economic activity. Economic reforms are still necessary to improve the high poverty rate, poor education rates and the weak legal system, amongst other factors.

Major industries:

  • light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap
  • assembly of imported components
  • public works construction
  • food processing

Agricultural products:

  • cotton
  • coffee
  • tea
  • corn
  • sorghum
  • sweet potatoes
  • bananas
  • manioc (tapioca)
  • beef
  • milk
  • hides

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 14,480 km (paved: 1,028 km, unpaved: 13,452 km)

Currency: Burundi franc


Telephone lines in use: 23,900 (2003)  

Cellular lines in use: 64,000 (2003)

Television Stations: 1 (2001)

Radio Stations: AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Internet users: 25,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 6% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 250,000 (2003 est.)

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