Region: Central Africa
Population: 8,691,005 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 27,830 sq km
Currency: Burundi franc (BIF)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $400 (2007 est.)
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.
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's GDP grew around 5% annually in 2006-07. 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.
Major Export Commodities: coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 167 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $ 222.45 million. Major development partners include the IDA, the European Community, the United States, and Belgium.
Total External Debt: US $1.2 billion (2003)
United Nations membership date: 18 September 1962
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Burundi to the United Nations
336 East 45th Street, 12th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10017
Telephone: 212-499-0001/ 0002
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008