Burundi

Introduction Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. More than 200,000 Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned almost a dozen years. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. An internationally brokered power-sharing agreement between the Tutsi-dominated government and the Hutu rebels in 2003 paved the way for a transition process that led to an integrated defense force, established a new constitution in 2005, and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The new government, led by President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, signed a South African brokered ceasefire with the country's last rebel group in September of 2006 but still faces many challenges.
History

The earliest inhabitants of the area were the pygmoid Twa. They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu (Hutu) tribes during Bantu migrations.

Burundi existed as an independent kingdom from the sixteenth century. In 1903, it became a German colony and passed to Belgium in World War I. It was part of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi in 1923, later a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority following World War II.

The origins of Burundi monarchy are veiled in myth. According to some legends, Ntare Rushatsi, founder of the original dynasty, came to Burundi from Rwanda in seventeenth century; other, more reliable sources, suggest that Ntare came from Buha, in the south-east, and laid the foundation for his kingdom in the Nkoma region.

Until the downfall of the monarchy in 1966, kingship remained one of the last links that bound Burundi with its past.

From independence in 1962, until the elections of 1993, Burundi was controlled by a series of military dictators. These years saw extensive ethnic violence. In 1965 Hutu extremists attempted to wipe out ethnic Tutsi at Busangana in the central province of Muramvya. In 1972, 1988, and 1993, the Tutsi minority was victim of a genocide at the hands of Hutu extremist organisations such as UBU (Umugambwe w'Abakozi b'Uburundi or Burundi Workers Party), PALIPEHUTU, FRODEBU, and more recently the now ruling CNDD-FDD. In 1993 Burundi held democratic presidential elections which were won by the Hutu-dominated Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU). FRODEBU leader Melchior Ndadaye became Burundi's first Hutu President, but a few months later he was assassinated by a group of Tutsi army officers. The killing was a pretense for the ruling party FRODEBU to start a new genocide against the Tutsi minority. Hutu extremists massacred thousands of Tutsi civilians. Years of instability followed until 1996, when former president Pierre Buyoya took power in a coup. In August 2000, a peace deal was agreed by most of Burundi's political groups. Unfortunately, it made no distinction between political parties and genocidal forces, as both were allowed to play a role in the national institutions. The deal laid out a timetable for the restoration of democracy. After several more years of genocide against the Tutsi minority, a cease-fire was signed in 2003 between the government and the largest Hutu rebel group, CNDD-FDD. In April of that year, FRODEBU leader Domitien Ndayizeye had replaced Buyoya as President. Yet the most extreme Hutu group, PALIPEHUTU-FNL (commonly known as "FNL"), continued to refuse negotiations. In August 2004, the group massacred 152 Congolese Tutsi refugees at the Gatumba refugee camp in western Burundi. In response to the attack, the Burundian government issued arrest warrants for the FNL leaders Agathon Rwasa and Pasteur Habimana, and declared the group a terrorist organisation. However, the arrest warrants were never effected. On the contrary, a few months later, the UN representative to Burundi went to meet the two men in Nairobi, Kenya.

In May 2005, a cease-fire was finally agreed between the FNL and the Burundian government, but fighting continued. Renewed negotiations are now under way, amid fears that the FNL will demand a blanket amnesty in exchange for laying down their arms. A series of elections, held in mid-2005 were won by the former Hutu rebel National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). On September 7, 2006, a second ceasefire agreement was signed but as of November 2007 the British government were still advising against travel to Burundi due to "increased tension" as the "implementation of the agreement" has stalled.

Geography Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Geographic coordinates: 3 30 S, 30 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: 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 2,670 m above sea level); 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; 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 extremes: lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m
highest point: Heha 2,670 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: arable land: 35.57%
permanent crops: 13.12%
other: 51.31% (2005)
Irrigated land: 210 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 3.6 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.29 cu km/yr (17%/6%/77%)
per capita: 38 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: flooding, landslides, drought
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
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
Politics

The politics of Burundi take place in a framework of a transitional presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Burundi is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly. The President has officially called a cease-fire between the two warring parties in the civil war.

Decades of ethnic violence makes the achievement of political and social harmony difficult, as is evident in the reports of seminars of ministers of religion and teachers on the prospects for a 'nonkilling society' conducted in 2005-2006 by Fondation chirezi.

People Population: 8,390,505
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 46.3% (male 1,951,879/female 1,930,371)
15-64 years: 51.2% (male 2,131,759/female 2,162,093)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 85,522/female 128,881) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 16.7 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 16.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.593% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 41.97 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 13.17 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 7.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.011 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.986 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.664 male(s)/female
total population: 0.988 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 61.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 68.91 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 54.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.29 years
male: 50.48 years
female: 52.12 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 6.48 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 250,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 25,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Burundian(s)
adjective: Burundian
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 23%, Muslim 10%
Languages: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 59.3%
male: 67.3%
female: 52.2% (2000 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Burundi
conventional short form: Burundi
local long form: Republique du Burundi/Republika y'u Burundi
local short form: Burundi
former: Urundi
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Bujumbura
geographic coordinates: 3 22 S, 29 21 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 17 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rurale, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi
Independence: 1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
Constitution: 28 February 2005; ratified by popular referendum
Legal system: based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: NA years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Yves SAVINGUVU - Tutsi (since 9 November 2007); Second Vice President Gabriel NTISEZERANA - Hutu (since 9 February 2007)
head of government: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Yves SAVINGUVU - Tutsi (since 9 November 2007); Second Vice President Gabriel NTISEZERANA - Hutu (since 9 February 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by president
elections: the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the parliament; vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by parliament
election results: Pierre NKURUNZIZA was elected president by the parliament by a vote of 151 to 9; note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the legislature
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlement, consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (minimum 100 seats, 60% Hutu and 40% Tutsi with at least 30% being women; additional seats appointed by a National Independent Electoral Commission to ensure ethnic representation; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and a Senate (54 seats; 34 members elected by indirect vote to serve five-year terms, with remaining seats assigned to ethnic groups and former chiefs of state)
elections: National Assembly - last held 4 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010); Senate - last held 29 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CNDD-FDD 58.6%, FRODEBU 21.7%, UPRONA 7.2%, CNDD 4.1%, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2.1%, others 6.2%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 59, FRODEBU 25, UPRONA 10, CNDD 4, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 30, FRODEBU 3, CNDD 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal (there are three in separate locations); Tribunals of First Instance (17 at the province level and 123 small local tribunals)
Political parties and leaders: governing parties: Burundi Democratic Front or FRODEBU [Leonce NGENDAKUMANA]; National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD-FDD [Jeremie NGENDAKUMANA]; Unity for National Progress or UPRONA [Aloys RUBUKA]
note: a multiparty system was introduced after 1998, included are: National Council for the Defense of Democracy or CNDD [Leonard NYANGOMA]; National Resistance Movement for the Rehabilitation of the Citizen or MRC-Rurenzangemero [Epitace BANYAGANAKANDI]; Party for National Redress or PARENA [Jean-Baptiste BAGAZA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, CEPGL, COMESA, EAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Celestin NIYONGABO
chancery: Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2574
FAX: [1] (202) 342-2578
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Patricia Newton MOLLER
embassy: Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura
mailing address: B. P. 1720, Bujumbura
telephone: [257] 223454
FAX: [257] 222926
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)
Culture

The culture of Burundi is based on local tradition and the influence of its neighbors, though its prominence has been hindered by the civil unrest. Most Burundians live in rural areas as extended families in hilltop compounds called rugos. Arranged marriages are not uncommon, with the groom’s family sometimes paying a bride price. City residents often take a siesta, and most businesses will be closed in the early afternoon.

Traditional drumming is an important part of Burundian cultural heritage, as indicated by the world-famous Royal Drummers of Burundi. Traditional dance often accompanies the drumming, which is frequently seen in celebrations and family gatherings. Burundians also adhere to a strong oral tradition which relays history and life lessons through storytelling, poetry, and song. Cattle herders engage in kivivuga amazina, an improvisational poetry contest in which they boast their abilities or accomplishments.

Football is a popular pastime throughout the country, as are mancala games. Cricket is becoming increasingly popular at grassroots level and is the most popular youth sport. Many Burundians celebrate Christian holidays and Burundian Independence Day, though the largest celebration occurs on New Year’s Day with feasting and traditional drumming and dancing.

Economy Economy - overview: Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Economic growth depends on coffee and tea exports, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports, therefore, rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the government and the coffee trade at the expense of the Hutu majority, 85% of the population. An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. Burundi grew about 5% annually in 2006, but GDP growth probably fell to under 4% in 2007. Political stability and the end of the civil war have improved aid flows and economic activity has increased, but underlying weaknesses - a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, and low administrative capacity - risk undermining planned economic reforms. Burundi will continue to remain heavily dependent on aid from bilateral and multilateral donors; the delay of funds after a corruption scandal cut off bilateral aid in 2007 reduced government's revenues and its ability to pay salaries.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $6.389 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $989 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 44.9%
industry: 20.9%
services: 34.1% (2006 est.)
Labor force: 2.99 million (2002)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 93.6%
industry: 2.3%
services: 4.1% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 68% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 32.8% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 42.4 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 25.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $259.4 million
expenditures: $331.8 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, hides
Industries: light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing
Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 137 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 0.6%
hydro: 99.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 161.4 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 34 million kWh; note - supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 2,900 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 2,687 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$137.3 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $74.17 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Exports - partners: Switzerland 33.7%, UK 12.2%, Pakistan 8.5%, Rwanda 5.3%, Egypt 4.2% (2006)
Imports: $340.2 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 12.6%, Kenya 8.2%, Japan 7.8%, Russia 4.7%, UK 4.6%, France 4.4%, China 4.4% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $365 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $117.7 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $1.2 billion (2003)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Burundi franc (BIF)
Currency code: BIF
Exchange rates: Burundi francs per US dollar - 1,065 (2007), 1,030 (2006), 1,138 (2005), 1,100.91 (2004), 1,082.62 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 31,100 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 153,000 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: primitive system; telephone density one of the lowest in the world; fixed-line connections stand at well less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is increasing but remains at a meager 2 per 100 persons
domestic: sparse system of open-wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relay
international: country code - 257; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)
Radios: 440,000 (2001)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
Televisions: 25,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .bi
Internet hosts: 163 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 60,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 8 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 12,322 km
paved: 1,286 km
unpaved: 11,036 km (2004)
Waterways: mainly on Lake Tanganyika (2005)
Ports and terminals: Bujumbura
Military Military branches: National Defense Force (Forces de Defense Nationales, FDN): Army (includes Naval Detachment and Air Wing) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 16 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 1,676,855
females age 16-49: 1,656,366 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 955,616
females age 16-49: 932,767 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 91,331
females age 16-49: 90,685 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 5.9% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: conflicts among Tutsi, Hutu, other ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces have abated somewhat in the Great Lakes region; UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) completed its mandate in December 2006 after a three-year peace-keeping mission
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 20,359 (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
IDPs: 100,000 (armed conflict between government and rebels; most IDPs in northern and western Burundi) (2006)