Burundi country

Full Name
Republic of Burundi (English)
Republika y'u Burundi
Republique du Burundi
Origins of name: Derives from ‘Kirundi’ which is a Burundian language
Formerly: Urundi

Current Leader
Pierre Nkurunziza

Burundi came to be when Ruanda-Urundi was divided in 1962
Burundi is coming out of 12 years of violence attributed to its two main cultural groups – the Hutu and the Tutsi


Form of Government
The President is both the Chief of State and the Head of Government
President is elected to a five-year term and is eligible for a second term

Government structure
President/Chief of State/Head of Government
First Vice-President
Second Vice-President
Council of Ministers appointed by the President

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service: males age 16-49: 1,124,072 and females age 16-49: 1,102,729
Expenditures: 5.9% GDP
Branches: National Defence Force (Forces de Defense Nationale, FDN): Army (includes naval detachment and Air Wing), Gendarmerie

Former Rulers
1962 – 1966: King Mwambutsa (monarchy)
1966 – 1966: Ntare V (monarchy)
1966 -1976: Michel Micombero
1976 – 1987: Jean-Baptiste Bagaza
1987-1993: Pierre Buyoya
1993-1993: Melchior Ndadaye
1993-1993: François Ngeze
1993-1994: Sylvie Kinigi
1994-1994: Cyprien Ntaryamira
1994-1996: Sylvestre Ntibantunganya
1996-2003: Pierre Buyoya (2nd time)
2003 – 2005: Domitien Ndayizeye
2005 – Present: Pierre Nkurunziza (he went for another controversial term from 2015 arguing that his first was not constitutionally enshrined)

Altitude: 777m
Population: 330,504 people

Size: 8,575,000 (2011)
Life expectancy: 52.1 years
Gender make-up: Female – 50.3%, Male – 40.7%

GDP (per capita)
$ 600 (2011)

$ 600 (2010)

Area: 27,830 metres squared
Land boundaries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 233km, Rwanda 290km, Tanzania 451km

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

Religious portfolio
Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), Indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%

National Make-up
Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans: 3,000, South Asians: 2,000

Natural Resources
Nickel, Uranium, Rare earth oxides, Peat, Cobalt, Copper, Platinum, Vanadium, Arable land, Hydropower, Niobium, Tantalum, Gold, Tin, Tungsten, Kaolin, Limestone

Main exports
Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Cotton, Hides, Beer, Cigarettes

Land Use
Arable land: 35.57%
Permanent crops: 13.12%
Other: 51.31%

Monetary Unit/Currency
Burundi Franc

Dialling Code

Internet Code

Main port: Landlocked
Airport: Bujumbura International Airport (BJM) located 11km from Bujumbura

Modern 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

In 2011 key Burundi opposition figures went undercover or fled the country after President Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected in polls they said were rigged by the government
In 2009, Burundi's last rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation (FNL), laid down arms and officially transformed into a political party in a ceremony supervised by the African Union

Burundi’s tax revenue has grown by 35.7 per cent in 2011, three years after it opened its borders to goods from the East Africa Community. While the revenue still trails those of its regional partners — Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania— it represents a major breakthrough for the tiny landlocked nation that gets 50 per cent of its national budget from donors
Burundi is moving towards improved access and education in IT. Highly skilled work such as design and coding is no longer the sole domain of developed countries and Burundi is looking to improve its economy with these advancements

Several grenade and gun attacks have taken place in the country this year and though the government has blamed attacks on bandits some fear a new rebel group has emerged

The UN reports that 338,000 (2008) refugees from Burundi are currently still living in Tanzania, DRC, Uganda and Rwanda
There have been several cases on the murder of albinos for body parts as a part of, what is suspected to be traditional rituals
Civilians across Burundi handed in thousands of guns, grenades and rounds of ammunition during a 10-day voluntary disarmament campaign

Foreign Affairs
Al-Shabaab, a group of Somalian hardline insurgents, threatened Bujumbura in revenge for the death of 30 civilians killed in a confrontation between the Islamists and the African Union (which included Burundian forces) peacekeeping troops in Somalia. The clash at the capital's Bakara market happened after al-Shabaab gunmen launched mortar shells at President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's plane as he left the airport for a summit in Uganda
Burundi and Rwanda dispute sections of border on the Akanyaru/Kanyaru and the Kagera/Nyabarongo rivers, which have changed course since the 1960s, when the boundary was delimited
Crossborder conflicts among Tutsi, Hutu, other ethnic groups, associated with political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces persist in the Great Lakes region

The Major Conflicts

Micombero Coup attempt
When: 1965
Who: Michel Micombero and Hutu police VS King Mwambutsa’s regime
Why: King Mwambutsa refused to appoint a Hutu Prime Minister even though Hutus won a majority in parliamentary elections
Outcome: The attempt was brutally suppressed

Micombero’s second coup attempt
When: 1966
Who: Micombero vs Ntare’s regime
Why: Deposed a Tutsi dominated system
Outcome: The coup was successful and Micombero established himself as the President of the 3rd Republic. Approximately 150,000 people were killed

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza’s coup
When: 1976
Who: Jean-Baptiste Bagaza vs Micombero
Why: Disenchanted with Micombero’s government
Outcome: Bloodless coup and Bagaza was established as President

Pierre Buyoya’s First Coup
When: 1987
Who: Bagaza’s Government vs Military led by Pierre Buyoya
Why: Discontentment within the army and deteriorating relations between Bagaza and the Roman Catholic church
Outcome: Bagaza was overthrown and Pierre Buyoya took over. Thousands were massacred and many others fled to Rwanda

1993 Coup
When: October 1993
Who: Army paratroopers vs Ndadaye’s government
Why: Against a pro-Hutu government
Outcome: Soldiers assassinated Ndadaye. Some Frodebu (political party) members massacred people and the army began reprisals. Burundi was plunged into an ethnic conflict which claimed some 300,000 lives

Pierre Buyoya’s Second Coup
When: 1996
Who: Pierre Buyoya vs Ntibantunganya’s government
Why: Pronounced civil unrest and massacres
Outcome: Ntibantunganya was deposed and the constitution suspended. Buyoya became President after parliament agreed on a transitional constitution. Buyoya created a more ethnically inclusive government

Rebel Assault
When: July 2003
Who: Government soldiers and Hutu rebels
Why: Ethnic tensions; the army was Tutsi-dominated and the rebel National Liberation Forces, or FNL, were Hutu
Outcome: 300 rebels and 15 government soldiers were killed. Thousands fled their homes. Despite a peace agreement that was signed a few months later between President Ndayizeye and Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) leader Pierre Nkurunziza, to end civil war, the FNL refused to relent.

What to see?
Chutes de la Kagera (series of waterfalls)
Kibabi Hot Springs
Lake Tanganyika
Rusizi National Park
Ruvubu National Park
Makamba Nature Reserve
Karera Falls
Rusizi National Park
Bururi Natural Reserve
Saga Beach
Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve

Popular Sports
‘Horo’ –ball game played by girls

Famous sportsmen and sportswomen
Vénuste Niyongabo: Middle distance runner from Burundi. In 1996 he became the first Olympic medallist from Burundi by winning the 5,000m at the 1996 Summer games
Aloÿs Nizigama: Long distance runner who specialised in the 5000 and 10,000m. In his career, Nizigama ran 21 sub-28 minute 10,000m races, second only to Haile Gebrselassie with 23 times
Charles Nkazamyampi: Middle distance runner. The 1992 African champion, he was unable to compete at the 1992 Summer Olympics because Burundi did not participate. In 1993 he won a silver medal in 800m at the World Indoor Championships

The Watsusis, who raise cattle in Burundi, are among the tallest people in the world. Many of them grown up men are more than 7 feet tall

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