Burundi

Population: 10,395,000 (2013 est)

Capital: Bujumbura

Official language: French and Kirundi

Currency: Burundi franc (BIF)

GDP per capita: US $600 (2013 est.)

The Republic of Burundi is a small country in the Great Lakes region of Africa. It is bordered by Rwanda on the north, Tanzania on the south and east, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west. Although the country is landlocked, much of its western border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika. Geographically isolated, facing population pressures and having sparse resources, Burundi is one of the poorest and most conflict-ridden countries in Africa and in the world.

Burundi’s small size belies the magnitude of the problems it faces in reconciling the claims of the Tutsi minority with the Hutu majority. The Batwa tribe is a small minority and the people are extremely poor. The two dominating tribes, Hutu and Tutsi, went through civil wars since gaining independence from Belgium in 1962. The country is now starting to rebuild itself after emerging from a long period of recurrent conflicts and ethnic and political rivalry. Between 1993 and 2000, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed and 1.2 million fled from their homes to live in refugee camps or in exile.

Burundi is ranked as the fourth least developed country in the world in terms of social welfare indicators. In 2002, seven out of ten Burundians were living below the poverty line. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 was US$600, only half of pre-war levels.

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 34.4% of GDP in 20013 Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labour 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.