Burundi [Country Flag of Burundi]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Burundi]



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Current issues: in a number of waves since October 1993, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the ethnic violence between the Hutu and Tutsi factions in Burundi and crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zaire (now called Democratic Republic of the Congo); since October 1996, an estimated 92,000 Hutu refuguees have been forced to return to Burundi by Tutsi rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, leaving an estimated 35,000 still dispersed there; in Burundi, the ethnic violence between the Hutus and the Tutsis continued in 1996, causing an additional 150,000 Hutus to flee to Tanzania, thus raising their numbers in that country to about 250,000


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Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates: 3 30 S, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

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

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:
total: 974 km
border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 233 km, Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: equatorial; high plateau with considerable altitude variation (772 m to 2,760 m); average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 degrees centigrade but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m; average annual rainfall is about 150 cm; wet seasons from February to May and September to November, and dry seasons from June to August and December to January

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m
highest point: Mount Heha 2,760 m

Natural resources: nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum (not yet exploited), vanadium

Land use:
arable land: 44%
permanent crops: 9%
permanent pastures: 36%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 140 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: flooding, landslides

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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography—note: landlocked; straddles crest of the Nile-Congo watershed


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Population: 5,537,387 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 47% (male 1,313,112; female 1,309,600)
15-64 years: 50% (male 1,331,336; female 1,417,228)
65 years and over: 3% (male 69,718; female 96,393) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.51% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 41.61 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 17.38 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 10.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 101.19 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 45.56 years
male: 43.79 years
female: 47.38 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.4 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Burundian(s)
adjective: Burundi

Ethnic groups: Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans 3,000, South Asians 2,000

Religions: Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 32%, Muslim 1%

Languages: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 35.3%
male: 49.3%
female: 22.5% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Burundi
conventional short form: Burundi
local long form: Republika y'u Burundi
local short form: Burundi

Data code: BY

Government type: republic

National capital: Bujumbura

Administrative divisions: 15 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi

Independence: 1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Constitution: 13 March 1992; provides for establishment of a plural political system

Legal system: based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: NA years of age; universal adult

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pierre BUYOYA (interim president since 27 September 1996); note—former President NTIBANTUNGANYA was overthrown in a coup on 25 July 1996 and took refuge for 11 months in the US ambassador's residence in Bujumbura; former Major (retired) Pierre BUYOYA has not been recognized as president of Burundi by the US or most other governments
head of government: Prime Minister Pascal-Firmin NDIMIRA (since 31 July 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by prime minister
elections: NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (81 seats; members are popularly elected on a proportional basis to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 29 June 1993 (scheduled to be held in 1998, although no date has been set)
election results: percent of vote by party—FRODEBU 71%, UPRONA 21.4%; seats by party - FRODEBU 65, UPRONA 16; other parties won too small shares of the vote to win seats in the assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Political parties and leaders: Unity for National Progress or UPRONA [Charles MUKASI, president]; Burundi Democratic Front or FRODEBU [Jean MINANI, president]; Socialist Party of Burundi or PSB; People's Reconciliation Party or PRP [Mathias HITIMANA, leader]; opposition parties, legalized in March 1992, include Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation or ABASA; Rally for Democracy and Economic and Social Development or RADDES [Cyrille SIGEJEJE, chairman]; and Party for National Redress or PARENA [Jean-Baptiste BAGAZA, leader]

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Henri SIMBAKWTRA
chancery: Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Morris N. HUGHES, Jr. (27 June l996)
embassy: Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura
mailing address: B. P. 1720, Bujumbura
telephone: [257] (2) 223454
FAX: [257] (2) 222926

Flag description: divided by a white diagonal cross into red panels (top and bottom) and green panels (hoist side and outer 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)


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Economy—overview: Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country in an early stage of economic development. The economy is predominately agricultural with roughly 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Its economic health depends on the coffee crop, which accounts for 80% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports therefore rests largely on the vagaries of the climate and the international coffee market. As part of its economic reform agenda, launched in February 1991 with IMF and World Bank support, Burundi is trying to diversify its agricultural exports, attract foreign investment in industry, and modernize government budgetary practices. Since October 1993 the nation has suffered from massive ethnic-based violence which has resulted in the death of perhaps 100,000 persons and the displacement of a million others. Foods, medicines, and electricity remain in short supply. An impoverished and disorganized government can hardly implement the needed reform programs.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$4 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4.4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$660 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 56%
industry: 18%
services: 26% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 26% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 1.9 million
by occupation: agriculture 93.0%, government 4.0%, industry and commerce 1.5%, services 1.5% (1983 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $222 million
expenditures: $258 million, including capital expenditures of $92 million (1995 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 43,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 158 million kWh (1995)
note: imports some electricity from Democratic Republic of the Congo

Electricity—consumption per capita: 32 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); meat, milk, hides

total value: $40 million (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: coffee 81%, tea, cotton, hides
partners: EU 60%, US 7%, Asia 1%

total value: $127 million (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: capital goods 26%, petroleum products, foodstuffs, consumer goods
partners: EU 47%, Asia 25%, US 6%

Debt—external: $1.1 billion (1995 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Burundi franc (FBu) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Burundi francs (FBu) per US$1—412.59 (January 1998), 352.35 (1997), 302.75 (1996), 249.76 (1995), 252.66 (1994), 242.78 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 7,200 (1987 est.)

Telephone system: primitive system
domestic: sparse system of open wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 4,500 (1993 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

total: 14,480 km
paved: 1,028 km
unpaved: 13,452 km (1995 est.)

Waterways: Lake Tanganyika

Ports and harbors: Bujumbura

Airports: 4 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Army (includes naval and air units), paramilitary Gendarmerie

Military manpower—military age: 16 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 1,203,518 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 627,587 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 69,030 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $25 million (1993)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.6% (1993)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none