Burundi

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BURUNDI

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS BURUNDIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Burundi

République du Burundi;Republika yu Burundi

CAPITAL: Bujumbura

FLAG: The national flag consists of a white circle in the center with arms extending to the four corners. The circle contains three red stars with green borders. Upper and lower fields formed by the circle and its arms are red; the fields on the sides are green.

ANTHEM: Burundi Bwacu (Our Burundi), beginning "Burundi bwacu, Burundi buhire" ("Our Burundi, O blessed land").

MONETARY UNIT: The Burundi franc (BFr) is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, and 10 francs, and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 francs. BFr1 = $0.00088 (or $1 = BFr11,138) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 1 July; Assumption, 15 August; Victory of UPRONA, 18 September; 13 October; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Burundi is a landlocked country in east-central Africa with an area of 27,830 sq km (10,745 sq mi), of which about 7% consists of lakes. Comparatively, the area occupied by Burundi is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. It extends 263 km (163 mi) nnessw and 194 km (121 mi) esewnw. Burundi is bounded on the n by Rwanda, on the e and s by Tanzania, and on the w by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC), with a total boundary length of 974 km (605 mi).

Burundi's capital city, Bujumbura, is located in the western part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Burundi is a country mainly of mountains and plateaus, with a western range of mountains running northsouth and continuing into Rwanda. The highest point is Mt. Heha at 2,670 m (8,760 ft). The only land below 914 m (3,000 ft) is a narrow strip of plain along the Ruzizi River (about 800 m/2,600 ft), which forms the western border north of Lake Tanganyika. From the mountains eastward, the land declines gradually, dropping to about 1,400 m (4,600 ft) toward the southeastern and southern border. The average elevation of the central plateau is about 1,525 to 2,000 m (5,000 to 6,500 ft). The major rivers form natural boundaries for most of the country. The Kanyaru and the Kagera separate Burundi from Rwanda along many sections of the common border. The Kagera and the Ruvubu are important as the southernmost sources of the Nile. Most of Burundi's southern border is formed by the Malagarasi River. The principal lakes are Tanganyika, Cohoha, and Rweru.

CLIMATE

Burundi in general has a tropical highland climate, with a considerable daily temperature range in many areas. Temperature also varies considerably from one region to another, chiefly as a result of differences in altitude. The central plateau enjoys pleasantly cool weather, with an average temperature of 20°c (68°f). The area around Lake Tanganyika is warmer, averaging 23°c (73°f); the highest mountain areas are cooler, averaging 16°c (60°f). Bujumbura's average annual temperature is 23°c (73°f). Rain is irregular, falling most heavily in the northwest. Dry seasons vary in length, and there are sometimes long periods of drought. However, four seasons can be distinguished: the long dry season (JuneAugust), the short wet season (SeptemberNovember), the short dry season (DecemberJanuary), and the long wet season (FebruaryMay). Most of Burundi receives between 130 and 160 cm (5163 in) of rainfall a year. The Ruzizi Plain and the northeast receive between 75 and 100 cm (3040 in).

FLORA AND FAUNA

Most of the country is savanna grassland. There is little forest left; Burundi is one of the most eroded and deforested countries in all of tropical Africa. Of the remaining trees, the most common are eucalyptus, acacia, fig, and oil palms along the lakeshores. There are over 2,500 species of plants.

Wildlife was abundant before the region became agricultural. Still found are the elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, wild boar, lion, antelope, and flying lemur, as well as such game birds as guinea fowl, partridge, duck, geese, quail, and snipe. Some 451 breeding bird species have been reported. The crowned crane is prevalent. As the region becomes more densely populated, some species are dwindling or disappearing.

In Lake Tanganyika there is a great variety of fish, including the Nile perch, freshwater sardines, and rare tropical specimens. Most of the 133 fish species in Lake Tanganyika are found nowhere else in the world.

ENVIRONMENT

Wildlife survives only in those areas of the country not heavily cultivated, and rapid population growth is reducing the amount of uncultivated land. The cutting of forests for fuel is uncontrolled despite legislation requiring permits. Only about 5.7% of Burundi's total land area is protected. Soil erosion due to deforestation, improper terracing, and overgrazing is also a serious problem. Burundi also has a problem with maintaining the purity of its water supply. It has only 4 billion cu m of renewable water resources, of which 64% is used for agricultural purposes. About 90% of the nation's urban population and 78% of rural dwellers have access to pure water.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 7 types of mammals, 9 species of birds, 6 species of amphibian, 1 type of mollusk, 3 types of other invertebrates, and 2 species of plants. Threatened species include the mountain gorilla, cheetahs, African elephants, and the whale-headed stork.

POPULATION

The population of Burundi in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 7,795,000, which placed it at number 93 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 47% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.8%, a rate the government viewed as too high. (Adolescent pregnancy was a significant problem, as was low rate of contraceptive use.) The projected population for the year 2025 was 13,913,000. The population density was 280 per sq km (725 per sq mi), making it one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. The density is greatest in north-central Burundi.

The UN estimated that 9% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 6.57%. The capital city, Bujumbura, had a population of 378,000 in that year. Apart from Bujumbura, urban areas are small and serve mainly as commercial and administrative centers.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Burundi. The UN estimated that 8.3% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.

MIGRATION

At the end of 1992 there were about 271,700 refugees in Burundi. When ethnic massacres broke out anew in Rwanda in 1994, several hundred thousand Rwandan refugees streamed across the border into Burundi. By August 1996, all of these refugees had returned to Rwanda, compelled by the insecurity in Burundi. At the end of 1992, Tanzania was harboring 149,500 refugees from Burundi, and Rwanda another 25,200. Hundreds of thousands of Hutu from Burundi crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC, formerly Zaire) in late 1993 to escape massacre at the hands of the Tutsi-dominated army. In early 1994, many of these refugees returned home. In 1994, with the outbreak of the civil war in Rwanda, 270,000 Burundi refugees who were there returned home. By November 1996, 120,000 Burundians returned home from the DROC. However, there were still over 240,000 Burundi refugees in the DROC and Tanzania.

At the end of 1996, it was estimated that 500,000 Burundians were still displaced internally, either clustered with military posts if they were of Tutsi ethnicity or in the hills if they were Hutu. In January 1999 Burundi and Tanzania took steps to revive talks on repatriation. However, a series of rebel attacks in the Ruyigi province in April 1999 seriously hindered repatriation efforts in that area. Increased violence in Bujumbura, beginning in July 1999, also slowed efforts. In 2003, there were 381,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) within the country. As of 2004, 48,805 people were registered as refugees, primarily from the DROC; another 11,893 were registered as asylum seekers. Also in 2004, there were 90,321 returned refugees. In 2004 over 19,500 Burundians sought refuge in the DROC and over 440,000 in Tanzania. The net migration rate for 2005 was estimated as zero.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The population is made up mainly of Hutu, a Bantu people, traditionally farmers, who constitute about 85% of the inhabitants. A tall warrior people, the Tutsi (Watutsi, Watusi, Batutsi), a Hamitic people, constitute about 14% of the population but dominate the government and military. The earliest known inhabitants of the region were the Twa (Batwa), a Pygmy tribe of hunters, related to the Pygmies of the DROC. They make up about 1% of the population. There are about 82,000 immigrant Africans. Europeans and Asians number about 5,000.

LANGUAGES

The main language is Kirundi, a Bantu language. Both Kirundi and French are official languages. Swahili is used as a lingua franca along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area.

RELIGIONS

About 60% of the population are Roman Catholic and about 10% are Muslim. The remainder practice other Christian faiths, indigenous religions, or have no religious affiliation.

The Transitional Constitutional Act of 2001 provided for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice. Religious groups must register with the Ministry of Interior and maintain a headquarters within the country. The heads of major religions are given diplomatic status. Certain Catholic holidays are observed as public holidays.

TRANSPORTATION

A great hindrance to Burundi's economic development is lack of adequate transportation. The country is landlocked, and there are no railroads. Roads total 14,480 km (8,998 mi) as of 2002, and only about 7% of them remain open in all weather; the rest are classed as local roads or tracks. In 2003, there were 24,000 passenger cars and 23,500 commercial vehicles.

Burundi is dependent on Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) for its imports. Through Bujumbura, Lake Tanganyika serves as the country's sole inland waterway, and as a link with Kigoma in Tanzania for rail shipment to Dar es Salaam. In 1987, the African Development Bank awarded a 50-year loan of CFA Fr218 billion to finance the construction of a shipyard in Bujumbura.

Air service is maintained by Air Burundi, which operates domestic service and flies to Rwanda, Tanzania, and the DROC. International service is also provided by Air Zaïre, Sabena, and other airlines. As of 2004, there were an estimated eight airports in Burundi, of which the international airport in Bujumbura (as of 2005) was the country's primary and only paved airport. There are also a number of helicopter landing strips. In 1997, 11,000 passengers traveled on international and domestic flights.

HISTORY

The first known inhabitants of what is now Burundi were the Twa, a Pygmy tribe of hunters. Between the 7th and 10th centuries, the Hutu, a Bantu agricultural people, occupied the region, probably coming from the Congo Basin. In the 15th and 16th centuries, tall warriors, the Tutsi, believed to have come originally from Ethiopia, entered the area.

The Tutsi, a nomadic pastoral people, gradually subjugated the Hutu and other inhabitants of the region, although they adopted the Hutu language, as did the Twa, so that all three groups were Bantu-speaking. A feudal social system based on castethe conquering Tutsi and the subjected Hutubecame the dominant feature of social hierarchy, and especially of economic and political relations. The Hutu did the farming and grew the food in return for cattle, but generally had no part in government. The Tutsi were the ruling caste and did no manual labor. To a certain extent, however, the castes were open to each other. Custom allowed a particularly worthy Twa or Hutu to rise to the rank of a Tutsi; conversely, an impoverished Tutsi who had fallen from his former estate could be assimilated into the Hutu.

The penetration of and eventual conquest by the Tutsi was reported as a slow and peaceful process that initiated a process of political integration. The ownership of land was gradually transferred from the Hutu tribes to the mwami, the semidivine king of the Tutsi. The first mwami, Ntare I Rushatsi, is thought to have come to power in the 16th century. While the ruling mwami was in theory an absolute king, he was often regarded as primus inter pares among the ganwa, prince-like aristocrats of royal lineage. But the mwami had his court and his army, and he could not easily be removed from office.

The first European known to have reached the territory was John Hanning Speke, who traveled with Richard Burton to Lake Tanganyika in 1858. They paddled to the north end of the lake in their search for the headwaters of the Nile. In 1871, Stanley and Livingstone landed at Bujumbura and explored the Ruzizi River region. Subsequently, other explorers, principally German, visited Burundi. After the Berlin Conference of 188485, the German zone of influence in East Africa was extended to include Rwanda and Burundi. A German, Count von Götzen, discovered Lake Kivu in 1894. The first Roman Catholic missionaries came in 1898 and in 1899 the territories then known as Ruanda-Urundi officially came under the administration of German East Africa.

The German authorities made no changes in the indigenous organization, choosing only Tutsi for positions of colonial authority. They administered the territory through the traditional authorities in accordance with the laws and customs of the region. However, the history of Burundi under the German administration was marked by constant factional struggles and rivalry, in contrast to the peaceful state of affairs in Rwanda. When Belgian troops occupied the country in 1916, they found it in dissension and the three-year-old mwami, Mwambutsa IV, the center of court intrigue. In 1923, the League of Nations awarded Belgium a mandate to the region of Ruanda-Urundi. The Belgians adopted the same policy of indirect administration employed by the Germans, retaining the entire Tutsi-dominated hierarchy. In 1946, RuandaUrundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administration.

On 18 September 1961, elections for the National Assembly were held in Urundi under the auspices of the UN. The result was a sweeping victory for UPRONA, the party headed by Prince Louis Rwagasore, eldest son of the mwami. On 13 October 1961, shortly after Prince Rwagasore had become premier, he was assassinated. Two leaders of the Christian Democratic Party were charged, convicted of responsibility for the murder, and executed.

The UN had strongly urged that Urundi and Ruanda come to independence united, since their relationship had long been close, their economies were integrated, and their people were ethnically one. However, the UN reluctantly decided that there was insufficient support for the union in both regions, and on 27 June 1962, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that called for the creation of two independent nations, Burundi and Rwanda.

On 1 July 1962, Burundi became an independent, constitutional monarchy headed by Mwami (King) Mwambutsa IV. The king set up a government that comprised equal numbers of Hutu and Tutsi, with a Hutu as prime minister. In 1965, the assassination of the prime minister, and Mwambutsa's subsequent refusal to appoint a Hutu prime minister even though the Hutu won a parliamentary majority, began a destabilizing cycle of Hutu uprisings and government repression. Mwambutsa was deposed in July 1966, and was succeeded in September by his son, Charles, who then became known as Ntare V. On 29 November 1966, Ntare V was in turn overthrown by a military coup headed by the Tutsi prime minister, Col. Michel Micombero, who abolished the monarchy and declared Burundi a republic with himself as president.

In 1969, an alleged Hutu coup attempt ended in the arrest of 30 prominent businessmen and officials. Another Hutu-led coup attempt in April 1972 led to widespread civil war, in which mass killings of Hutu by Tutsi and of Tutsi by Hutu were reported. Ntarve V was killed on 29 April 1972, reportedly by Hutu, which, led to the massacre of 150,000 Burundian Hutu a month later. On 21 July 1973, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were at least 85,000 Hutu refugees from Burundi, of whom an estimated 40,000 were in Tanzania, 35,000 in Zaire, and 10,000 in Rwanda. President Micombero later conceded that more than 100,000 persons had been killed in the course of the 1972 insurgency, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of refugees had fled. Most of the deaths were among the Hutu, and educated Hutu were systematically massacred under Micombero's de facto military regime. By August 1972 nearly all educated Hutu had fled or been killed. During 1973, rebel bands conducted raids into Burundi from across the Rwandan and Tanzanian borders, and Burundi's relations with those two neighbors deteriorated. By the end of 1973, however, the government was fully in control.

On 1 November 1976, President Micombero was stripped of all powers in a bloodless military coup led by Lt. Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, and the Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC) that subsequently took power named Bagaza president. The new regime, like the old, was dominated by Tutsi. At a party congress of UPRONA in 1979, a party central committee headed by President Bagaza was selected to replace the SRC, and civilian rule was formally restored. Although the military remained active in both the party and in the government, Bagaza encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and reconciliation. A new constitution was adopted in a national referendum in 1981, and a National Assembly was elected in 1982. Bagaza was reelected unopposed to a new five-year term in 1984. However, after 1984 Bagaza's human rights record worsened due to his suppression of religious freedom and political opposition. In September 1987, he was overthrown in a bloodless military coup while he attended a conference in Canada. Maj. Pierre Buyoya became president.

Buyoya withdrew recognition of opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and established his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). Ethnic violence erupted in 1988, and in response to rumors of the murder of Tutsi in the north, the army massacred between 5,000 and 25,000 Hutu. Over 100,000 were left homeless and 60,000 took refuge in Rwanda. Throughout 1988, an estimated 150,000 people were killed.

Major Buyoya agreed to the restoration of multiparty politics in 1991, and a new constitution was approved in March 1992. Competition between approved, ethnically balanced parties in the June 1993 election brought to office Burundi's first elected president, as well as its first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye. Ndadaye got 66% of the vote, while Buyoya received just 33%. Ndadaye began to talk of reform of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces, but on 21 October 1993, Ndadaye and several cabinet members were assassinated by a faction of Tutsi soldiers. Other cabinet officers, including Prime Minister Sylvie Kinigi, a Tutsi, took refuge in the French embassy. Ethnic violence continued, launching the country into civil war, with some 10,000 murdered and 800,000 fleeing the country. It has been estimated that as many as 100,000 may have been killed in this round of violence.

The military coup attempt failed, however, and Ndadaye's FRODEBU party (Burundi Democratic Front) regained control, electing Cyprien Ntaryamira as president in January 1994. In February, Ndadaye's successor was inaugurated, but his coalition was unable to restore order. In an effort to negotiate peace, he went to Tanzania for consultations. On his flight home, the plane in which he was returning, along with Rwanda's President Habyarimana, was shot down near the Rwanda capital, Kigali, on 6 April 1994. Two other members of his cabinet also died in the attack. This crash marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.

The constitutionally provided line of succession left the post of president to Sylvestre Ntibantunganya. He served in a transitional capacity until October 1994 when the Assembly elected him to serve a four-year term. In contrast to the genocide that erupted in Rwanda, Ntibantunganya managed to maintain relative stability in Burundifor a time. However, the influx of refugees from Rwanda and increased armament of Hutu and Tutsi groups fueled sporadic violence prompting the government to impose a curfew in Bujumbura in December.

The death toll attributable to ethnic strife and political problems continued to mount during the first half of 1995. In 1993 alone, an estimated 150,000 had died in ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi. The averting of a citywide strike in the capital of Bujumbura in early February 1995 helped ease the ethnic tension, but the relief was short-lived. On 11 March, Mines and Energy Minister Ernest Kabushemeye was shot to death as the violence flared anew. Later that month, fighting in the central market left four people dead. By 25 March, thousands of people were fleeing Bujumbura to escape the violence, and hundreds were feared dead in new fighting. The exodus grew to 50,000 refugees from a city with a total population of 300,000. Two suburbs where clashes had occurred were practically deserted.

The flare-up also affected refugees from neighboring Rwanda who had fled to seven northern Burundi camps to escape HutuTutsi violence in their own country. An estimated 20,000 refugees undertook a two-day trek to Tanzania to escape the violence at one of the camps, which left 12 dead and 22 wounded. The seven camps, which once held more than 25,000 Rwandans, were closed by August 1996 as the last group of the refugees returned to its homeland.

Despite an Organization of African States (OAS) peace mission, the Hutu militias and Tutsi-dominated government army battled throughout the early days of June in Bujumbura's suburbs. The OAS mission was aimed at ending months of fighting between the majority Hutu and the Tutsi before the clashes could develop into an all-out war.

On 25 July 1996, Maj. Pierre Buyoya seized power in a coup backed by the Burundi military. The National Assembly continued to function, although during Buyoya's "Transition Period" its powers were severely curtailed. Soon thereafter, six East African nations cut trade ties to the country and imposed and economic embargo after demanding Maj. Buyoya restore parliament. The African leaders also demanded that Major Buyoya, president of Burundi from 1987 to 1993, begin peace talks with Hutu rebels. Yet ethnic violence escalated in the months following Major Buyoya's takeover. Each side blamed the other for the assassination in September of Archbishop Joachim Ruhuna, Burundi's senior Roman Catholic archbishop. In 1999, in his new role as facilitator of the Arusha Peace Process, Nelson Mandela asked all partiesthe government, rebel forces, and international organizationsto sit down and discuss the issues. In the early months of 2000 several such meetings were held in Tanzania, leading up to the signing of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi on 28 August 2000. However, Mandela's efforts ran up against entrenched regional conflicts and ethnic animosities as several armed factions refused to accept the peace agreement.

Seeking to secure national borders, Burundian troops intervened in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998, but were redeployed to Burundi to engage rebels operating within the country and from across the Congolese border. In October 2002, Burundi's smaller rebel groupsthe CNDD-FDD (Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratieNational Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy) of Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and the Palipehutu-FNL (Forces for National Liberation) of Alain Mugabarabonasigned a cease-fire, followed by a similar agreement between the CNDD-FDD of Pierre Nkurunziza and the transitional government of Burundi. Only the Palipehutu-FNL of Agathon Rwasa had not signed a cease-fire with the transitional government by mid-June 2003.

Under the Arusha Accords, a three-year transitional government was inaugurated 1 November 2001 under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya. On 30 April 2003, Buyoya stepped down under the terms of the accord, making way for a Hutu vice president, Domitien Ndayizeye, to assume the presidency for the remaining 18 months. However, since the signing of the cease-fires, fighting between the army and CNDD-FDD rebels has occurred on a daily basis. On 3 February 2003, the African Union authorized an African Mission in Burundi (AMIB), which fielded troops from South Africa, Ethiopia, and Mozambique to safeguard cantonment areas and to provide technical assistance to the disarmament and demobilization process. In late 2003 the Burundian government and the CNDD-FDD signed renewed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements. In March 2004, members of the CNDD-FDD assumed governmental and parliamentary offices. Many bilateral donors, as well as the World Bank, assisted in funding Burundi's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants. However, some conflict continued, and in August 2004, the extremist Palipehutu-FNL massacred more than 150 Congolese Tutsi refugees, and as of late 2005 continued to stage attacks.

Reaching a stable compromise on post-transition power sharing was difficult. Although a post-transition constitution was approved in September 2004, it was approved over a boycott by the Tutsi parties. In addition, the Arusha Peace Agreement mandated that local and national elections be held before the ending of the transitional period on 31 October 2004, but transitional institutions were extended. On 28 February 2005, however, Burundians popularly approved a post-transitional constitution by national referendum, with elections set to take place throughout the summer of 2005. After local, parliamentary, and other elections in June and July, on 19 August 2005, the good governance minister, Pierre Nkurunziza, became the first post-transitional president.

GOVERNMENT

Under the 1981 constitution, the president of the republic was elected by universal adult suffrage. The sole candidate was the president of UPRONA, the only legal political party. The president, who was head of state, was assisted by a council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in the 65-member National Assembly, of which 52 were elected and 13 appointed by the president. The president and legislators served five-year terms. Following the September 1987 coup, President Pierre Buyoya dismissed all members of the government and ruled as head of the newly established Military Committee of National Redemption until it was disbanded in December 1990. A new constitution, which recognized "democracy, human rights and development", was adopted on 13 March 1992 after a popular referendum. It provides for a directly elected president, a prime minister, and an 81-seat National Assembly.

In 1998, the position of prime minister was abolished. In 2001, the National Assembly was expanded from 121 to approximately 140 seats under the transitional constitution adopted October 18, 2001. On 17 September, 2004, the National Assembly adopted a post-transition constitution that was approved in a nation-wide referendum 28 February, 2005. A new electoral calendar was established at a regional summit in Uganda, and during the summer of 2005, a post-transition government was elected. Burundian people voted in Commune Council direct elections on 3 June 2005, and National Assembly direct elections on 4 July 2005. Senate members were elected by the electoral college on 29 July 2005, and a joint legislative session elected Pierre Nkurunziza as president on 19 August 2005 in a vote of 151 to 9.

According to the 2005 constitution, the president can be elected to a maximum of two five-year terms, and is named by a vote in the two houses of parliament. The permanent, post-transition government was established 26 August 2005, consisting of 100-seat directly elected National Assembly, and a senate. As of 2005, the assembly also had 18 additional deputies appointed as needed to ensure the stipulations made in the Arusha agreement. This mandates that the assembly is composed of at least 30% women and has an ethnic composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, and 3 Batwa members. The structure of the senate from the transitional government was retained, which includes no less than 37, and no more than 54 seats, for five-year terms. There are two senators for each of the 17 provinces (including the capital), one each for Hutu and Tutsi, which are elected in three rounds of voting by communal electoral colleges. Three seats are reserved for the Batwa minority. Additional seats are reserved for all former presidents. Up to 14 additional senators are appointed by the president to achieve the 30% gender quota for women. In 2005, the senate had a total membership of 49 seats.

POLITICAL PARTIES

It was only after 1948 that Belgium permitted competing political parties, and two emerged: the multi-ethnic Union for National Progress (Parti de l'Unité et du Progrès NationalUPRONA), led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore, and the Belgium-supported Christian Democratic Party (Parti Démocrate ChrétienPDC). However, in 1961, Rwagasore was assassinated following the the UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Before independence, no fewer than 23 political parties were officially registered. Of these, only two retained political significance in the years following independence: UPRONA, and the People's Party (Parti du PeuplePP), an all-Hutu party. UPRONA, which initially controlled 58 seats in the National Assembly out of a total of 64, was soon torn by internecine leadership rivalries. In time, these rivalries took on the qualities of a racial feud between Tutsi and Hutu. In the National Assembly, the PP merged with the Hutu wing of UPRONA to form the so-called Monrovia Group, while the Tutsi wing of UPRONA referred to itself as the Casablanca Group.

In June 1965, legislative elections were held for the first time since independence. UPRONA won 21 seats, the PP 10, and independents 2. President Micombero, a Tutsi, proclaimed UPRONA to be the sole legal political party by a decree promulgated on 23 November 1966. On 1 November 1976, leaders of the coup that deposed Micombero announced that UPRONA had been dissolved, but in 1979, the party was incorporated into the government structure. According to the 1981 constitution, it was the only legal political organization. The president of UPRONA was president of the republic and also head of the party's 70-member Central Committee and 8-member Politburo.

Fifty-two members of the National Assembly were elected under the auspices of UPRONA in October 1982 from 104 candidates, about 75% of them Tutsi, chosen by local UPRONA committees. Several cabinet members and high party officials were defeated. In September 1987, following the coup that ousted President Bagaza, all members of UPRONA were dismissed.

The 1 June 1993 presidential election and the 29 June parliamentary election that year led to the defeat of UPRONA. President Ndadaye's party, the Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU) received 72% of the vote and 65 of parliament's 81 seats. UPRONA won the remaining seats with 21% of the ballots cast. Other parties include the Burundi People's Party (RPB), the Party for the Reconciliation of the People (PRP), and the People's Party (PP).

Newer, smaller parties have emerged in recent years, including: the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation (ABASA), Rally for Democracy and Economic and Social Development (RADDES), Party for National Redress (PARENA), and the People's Reconciliation Party (PRP).

Smaller rebel factions with political influence include the CNDD-FDD (Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie Forces pour la defense de la democratieNational Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy) and the Palipehutu-FNL (Forces for National Liberation).

As of the elections in late 2005, there were 30 registered political parties without representation in either house of parliament. Six parties are represented in one or both houses, with the formerly small CNDD-FDD controlling the overwhelming majority of seats in both houses. The six major parties are the CNDD-FDD with 32 Senate and 64 Assembly seats; FRODEBU with 5 Senate, 30 Assembly; UPRONA with 2 Senate, 15 Assembly seats; and the CNDD, the breakaway party from the CNDD-FDD with 3 Senate and 4 Assembly seats.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Burundi was formerly divided into 8 provinces, but a redistricting plan in 1982 increased the number to 15which eventually expanded to 16each under a military governor. However, as of the mid-1990s, Burundi was divided into 17 provinces, including the capital city regions.

Communal councils exist for each of the 129 communes. Twenty-five members sit on each of the councils, and on 2 June 2005, the CNDD-FDD won 1,781 of the 3,225 available council seats (55%). There are also local Colline (hill) councils elected independent of party. These elections were held on 23 September 2005. Both of these local councils are directly elected, and the Colline councils serve a term of five years.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The legal system of Burundi is based on German and French civil codes and customary law. In 1987 there were 64 tribunals of first instance. The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court are located in the capital, Bujumbura.

The 1992 constitution established a number of new courts, including a constitutional court to review all new laws for conformity to the constitution. It also created a high court responsible for resolving charges of high level crimes by high level government officials. A military court had jurisdiction over crimes by members of the military.

The military coup in 1996 abrogated the 1992 constitution and replaced it by a transitional decree. The decree of 13 September 1996 provided for an independent judiciary, which in fact was dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group. The decree also provided for the right to privacy. Authorities generally respect the law requiring search warrants.

As of 2005, the judicial system was divided into the Cour Supreme (Supreme Court), Constitutional Court (created by the 2005 constitution), and three Courts of Appeal. The president nominates members of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, with the Supreme Court the final court of appeal. There are 17 province-level Tribunals of First Instance, and 123 local tribunals.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, Burundi had 50,500 active personnel in its armed forces. The Army had 40,000 personnel, including a 200 member Air Wing. The troops included seven infantry battalions, two light armored squadrons, one engineer battalion, one air defense battalion, and one artillery battalion. The Air Wing had two combat capable aircraft that were also used in a training capacity. Paramilitary gendarmerie numbered around 5,500. The defense budget in 2005 was $46.1 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Burundi was admitted to UN membership on 18 September 1962 and is a member of ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies. It also belongs to the African Development Bank, G-77, the ACP Group, COMESA, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the African Union. It became a member of the WTO on 23 July 1995. Burundi, Rwanda, and the DROC form the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), which is intended to foster development in the region of lakes Kivu and Tanganyika. Burundi also cooperates with Rwanda and Tanzania in the development of the Kagera River Basin. In addition, Burundi is part of the Nonaligned Movement. The United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) was established in May 2004 and consists of 44 member countries offering support for reconciliation and peacekeeping among the Tutsi, Hutu, and other conflicting ethnic groups from the boundary regions of Burundi, DROC, Rwanda, and Uganda.

In environmental cooperation, Burundi is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Burundi's is an agricultural and livestock economy with over 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture. Bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, and manioc are Burundi's staple crops, followed by beans, taro, and maize. Coffee and tea are the main export crops. Coffee provides roughly 50% of export earnings, which are thus vulnerable to international coffee prices and seasonal yields. Cotton is Burundi's other principal export, but cotton production has been plagued by excessive rain. Livestock sales are discouraged by a tradition that encourages the maintenance of large herds. Sales of hides and skins amount to some 3% of exports.

Burundi's mineral sector is currently small, with a potential that remains undetermined. Gold, tungsten, columbo-tantalite, bastnaesite, and cassiterite are each mined in small quantities. Explorations have revealed petroleum under Lake Tanganyika and in the Ruzizi Valley, as well as large nickel deposits at Musongati. Copper, cobalt, and platinum are expected to be found in association with the nickel. Phosphate rock deposits have also been located.

Since 1993, ethnic tensions and ongoing violence have severely disrupted the economy, bringing the government's economic reforms to a halt. International sanctions in 1996 exacerbated the poor economic situation, causing further food shortages, and high inflation. There was a 50% increase in the number of people falling below the poverty line. Although the Arusha Peace Accords had been signed in 2000, violence continued into 2003, as one million people fled their homes. Over 300,000 people since 1993 had been killed in Burundi's civil war. Political instability is also compounded by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Nearly one in ten adults are infected with HIV/AIDS, and medicines are in short supply. Sanctions imposed by neighboring countries on Burundi have stunted the economy, although a regional trade embargo was lifted in 1999. However, by the end of 2005 fighting had stopped in most of the country, and greater internal stability and donor-financed capital expenditure is hoped to aid growth throughout the economy during 2006 and in coming years. This can be seen in the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the period 20002004. In 2000 GDP grew at a negative growth rate of 0.9% but bounced back in 2001 and 2002 to 3.2% and 3.6% respectively. It declined to a 1.3% in 2003 but strongly bounced back to 5.5% in 2004.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Burundi's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $4.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $700. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 14%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 45.6% of GDP, industry 20.8%, and services 33.6%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $224 million or about $31 per capita and accounted for approximately 39.0% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Burundi totaled $519 million or about $72 per capita based on a GDP of $595.0 million, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption changed at an average annual rate of -1.7%. It was estimated that in 2002 about 68% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

The total labor force in 2002 was put at 2.99 million, mostly in small subsistence farming. Of the total labor force, an estimated 93.6% were engaged in agriculture, followed by 4.1% in the services sector and 2.3% in industry. There was no unemployment data available.

Workers are legally permitted to form and join unions, although the army, gendarmie, and foreign workers are prohibited from unionizing. The current labor code permits strikes but only after alternative remedies have been exhausted and six days notice given. Unions are permitted to be affiliated with international organizations. Urban civil servants make up the majority of union members. Approximately 50% of the country's public sector employees are union members, but less than 10% of those that made up the formal workforce in the private sector were unionized. Most of Burundi's labor force was employed in the informal sector of the economy, which was unregulated and offered little or no protection to worker's labor rights.

Although the country's labor code restricts child labor, limiting minors under the age of 18 to only those forms of employment deemed acceptable to the Ministry of Labor, such as light work, and to apprenticeships that do not hamper the child's health, normal development or schooling, in addition to forced and compulsory labor, reports indicated that the nation's security forces continue to use children (and adults) to perform menial tasks without pay. According to a 2003 survey by UNICEF, some 640,000 minors were performing compulsory labor. In addition, children in rural areas under 16 years of age performed heavy manual labor during the day, during the school year, on a regular basis.

While there was a formal minimum wage of $0.15 per day, as of 2005, this was insufficent to support a family, so most families rely on second incomes and subsistence agriculture as well. Burundi's labor codes mandate a 45-hour workweek and an eight-hour work day, excluding those activities that are related to the country's security. However, enforcement was not always carried out.

AGRICULTURE

About 90% of the population depends on agriculture for a living. Most agriculture consists of subsistence farming, with only about 15% of the total production marketed. An estimated 1,351,000 hectares (3,338,000 acres), or about 52.6% of the total land area, is arable or under permanent crops; about 5.5% of cropland is irrigated. The average farm family plot is 0.8 hectares (two acres). Agriculture accounted for 51% of the GDP in 2004. Coffee and tea exports comprise the majority of foreign earnings; coffee alone accounted for 39% of exports of goods in 2004. Agricultural exports accounted for 48% of exports in 2004. Principal crops for local consumption are manioc, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, corn, and sorghum. Production in 2004 included bananas, 1,600,000 tons, mostly for wine; manioc, 710,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 834,000 tons; beans, 220,000 tons; sorghum, 74,000 tons; corn, 123,000 tons; peanuts, 8,800 tons; and yams, 9,900 tons.

The primary export crop is coffee, chiefly of the arabica variety. The government regulates the grading, pricing, and marketing of the coffee crop, and all coffee export contracts require approval. In 2004, coffee production was 20,100 tons. Other export crops are cotton and tea. Seed cotton production was 3,000 tons, and cotton fiber production (after ginning) was about 1,300 tons in 2004. That year, tea production was 6,600 tons. Tea exports in 2004 of 753 tons represented 3% of total exports; the government has been encouraging cotton and tea production in order to diversify exports. Palm oil is obtained from trees in plantations along the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Tobacco and wheat cultivated in the highland areas also yield some cash income.

Much of the land has suffered a loss of fertility because of soil erosion from poor agricultural practices, irregularity of rainfall, lack of fertilizer, and shortened fallow periods.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Livestock in 2004 included some 325,000 head of cattle, 750,000 goats, 230,000 sheep, 70,000 pigs, and 4.3 million chickens. Social prestige has traditionally been derived from ownership of cattle. This, together with improved sanitary conditions, has resulted in the accumulation of large herds of poor-quality stock; for example, the average milk yield per cow is only 350 kg a year (17% of world average). Total milk production was estimated at 19,200 tons in 2004. Meat consumption is estimated at only 48 calories per person per day, only one-tenth of the world's average. Production of meat in 2004 was 23,400 tons. The herds retard economic development by cutting down the amount of land available for food growing, and they destroy pastureland by overgrazing. Through various technical assistance programs, the government is seeking to eliminate excess cattle, improve the remaining livestock, and introduce modern stock-raising methods.

FISHING

There are three main methods of fishing in Lake Tanganyika: industrial, native, and traditional. Industrial fishing, which developed after 1946, is carried on by small trawlers accompanied by several rowboats. Native fishing is in catamarans equipped with lights, nets, and engines. Traditional fishing is in pirogues equipped with lights and landing nets. The total fish catch was 14,897 tons in 2003.

FORESTRY

Erosion and cutting, chiefly for fuel, have almost entirely eliminated Burundi's forests. The harvesting of wood has increased only slightly since the late 1970s, and the emphasis has now shifted to reforestation. Forests and woodlands cover an estimated 325,000 hectares (803,000 acres). Natural forest covered only about 3.7% of the land area in 2000. The average annual deforestation rate was 9% during the 1990s. Of an estimated 8.6 million cu m (303 million cu ft) in roundwood production in 2003, 99% was for fuel.

MINING

Mining and energy accounted for about 1% of Burundi's GDP in 2004. The country has been known to produce columbium (niobium)-tantalum ore, gold, kaolin (china clay), tin, and tungsten ore, mostly for export, and limestone, peat, sand, and gravel for domestic consumption. Burundi had significant deposits of feldspar, kaolin, nickel, phosphate, platinum-group metals, quartzite, rare-earth metals, vanadium, and limestone for cement. There were gold deposits at Mabayi, Muyinga, Cankuzo, and Tora-Ruzibazi, where artisanal mining took place. After waning in the early 1990s, gold production rose to 1,000 kg in 1994 and 2,200 kg in 1996, and then dropped to 1,500 kg in 19972000. In 2004, gold mine production totaled an estimated 2,900 kg. The government has tried to transfer technical skills to artisanal miners, to raise productivity and increase state revenues. The Burundi Mining Corp., a governmentprivate venture, was exploring the possibility of producing gold on a commercial basis at Muyinga, where resources were estimated at 60 tons of gold. Deposits of cassiterite, columbite-tantalite, and wolframite associated with pegamatites were found in Kayanza and Kirundo provinces. Nickel reserves, found in 1974, were estimated at 370 million tons (3%5% of the world's total); high transportation costs, low world market prices, and political instability have delayed their exploitation. Since 1993, foreign investment and development of Burundi's resources have been hindered by civil unrest, social strife, and economic sanctions imposed by regional states; the economy contracted by 23% in the period 199396. Although the sanctions were lifted in 1999, internal strife continued to hurt the economy. In 2000, Burundi joined with 19 other nations to form Africa's first free-trade area, and the World Bank and other international donors pledged to give $440 million in reconstruction aid to Burundi. In 2004, production of columbite-tantalite (gross weight) was 23,356 kg, and of peat, 4,643 metric tons. Kaolin was not mined in 2004. Tin mines produced an estimated 10 metric tons in 2004. Tungsten mine output totaled 9 metric tons in 2004.

ENERGY AND POWER

Bujumbura and Gitega are the only two cities in Burundi that have municipal electricity service. Burundi's total installed capacity was 49,000 kW in 2001. Two dams completed since 1984 have increased the amount of power production from hydroelectric installations. In 2001, estimated production of electricity totaled 0.155 billion kWh, of which 0.154 billion kWh was from hydroelectric sources, with geothermal and thermal sources accounting for the rest. Consumption in 2001 was estimated at 0.17 billion kWh. Burundi imports all of its petroleum products from Kenya and Tanzania, and has no known reserves of petroleum or natural gas. Consumption of oil in 2001 is estimated at 3,000 barrels per day. Burundi is estimated to have no known consumption of natural gas in 2001. A subsidiary of Amoco has an oil exploratory concession in and around Lake Tanganyika. Wood and peat account for 94% of energy consumption in Burundi. Peat offers an alternative to increasingly scarce firewood and charcoal as a domestic energy source. The government is promoting peat production and is fostering the development of renewable energy resources, such as solar electricity and biogas.

INDUSTRY

Industrial activities are almost exclusively concentrated in Bujumbura and accounted for an estimated 19.4% of the GDP in 2002. The industrial sector transforms to varying degrees agricultural and forestry products: cotton, coffee, tea, vegetable oil, and woods. There are also several small plants for soft drinks, blankets, footwear, soap, insecticides, building materials, furniture, and metal goods. The future of industrial development is largely linked to the development of political stability and the growth of electric power and transportation, as well as improved commercial relations with neighboring countries.

Industrial production rose almost 2% in 1998, the first increase since ethnic warfare began in 1993. Production of sugar, milk, paints, soap, bottles, pharmaceutical products, and textiles increased between 10% and 40% in 1998. The Teza tea plant was reconstructed (after being destroyed by rebels in 1996), increasing production from 1997 by 59% in 1998. Mining projects were also resumed, including nickel and gold operations. The country has no known oil, natural gas, or coal resources. Since 2001, the construction industry recovered somewhat, as new building projects were started in Bujumbura. Brarudi, a brewery, is the country's largest and most reliable source of tax revenue. Brarudi beer has a good reputation in the region.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Technical aid is supplied by many donors, including the EEC, the World Bank, Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the United States, Switzerland, and China. The National Center of Hydrometeorology, the Ministry of Geology and Mines, the Institute of Agronomical Sciences of Burundi (founded in 1960), and a medical laboratory devoted to nutritional studies are located in Bujumbura. The University of Burundi, in Bujumbura, has faculties of sciences, medicine, psychology and education, agriculture, and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 18% of college and university enrollments. The Higher Institute of Agriculture is in Gitega. In the period 198797, total expenditures for research and development totaled 0.3% of GDP. A total of 32 technicians and 21 scientists and engineers per million people were actively engaged in research and development for the period.

The Living Museum of Bujumbura has a reptile house, an aquarium, an aviary, a fishing museum, a botanical garden, and a herpetology center.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Ethnic violence since 1993 has limited domestic commerce. Burundi's economy is characterized by subsistence agriculture; commercialization and nationwide distribution of daily necessities and foodstuffs are practically nonexistent. There is a very small manufacturing sector centered in Bujumbura, producing beer, soft drinks, soap, insecticides, textiles, and cigarettes, primarily for local distribution. Rural markets are the principal distribution centers. The National Office of Commerce is a state trading concern. Smaller trading operations are often in the hands of Greeks, Indians, and Arabs. All domestic trade is influenced by the coffee harvest, which during the harvest season (JuneSeptember) provides increased income and stimulates trading, with a somewhat inflationary effect.

Business hours are usually 8 am to noon and 2 to 5 pm on weekdays and 8 am to noon on Saturday. Banks are open 8 to 11:30 am MondayFriday.

FOREIGN TRADE

In 2004, Burundi's imports exceeded its exports by 266%. Burundi's export income is highly volatile and fluctuates sharply with shifts in world coffee prices. Burundi's most important cash crop is coffee (73.3%), which is the most exported commodity. Tea (7.0%), hides (6.7%), gold (5.6%), and sugars (4.9%) encompass practically all of Burundi's remaining exports. Important imports

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 26.5 128.8 -102.3
Belgium 6.2 21.4 -15.2
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 6.2 0.9 5.3
United Kingdom 5.8 1.5 4.3
Rwanda 3.2 0.8 2.4
Netherlands 1.7 2.3 -0.6
Germany 0.9 3.4 -2.5
Congo (DROC) 0.5 0.5
Kenya 0.5 15.7 -15.2
France-Monaco 0.4 9.2 -8.8
Uganda 0.3 1.2 -0.9
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account -37.3
    Balance on goods -92.5
        Imports -130.0
        Exports 37.5
    Balance on services -39.4
    Balance on income -17.3
    Current transfers 112.0
Capital Account -0.9
Financial Account -50.0
    Direct investment abroad
    Direct investment in Burundi
    Portfolio investment assets
    Portfolio investment liabilities
    Financial derivatives
    Other investment assets -19.9
    Other investment liabilities -30.1
Net Errors and Omissions -12.6
Reserves and Related Items 100.9
() data not available or not significant.

include capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and chemicals.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that in 2004 the purchasing power parity of Burundi's exports was $48 million while imports totaled $175.9 million, resulting in a trade deficit of $127.9 million.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

Until the DROC became independent in 1960, the monetary and banking systems of Ruanda-Urundi were integrated with those of the Congo. Thereafter, Ruanda-Urundi had its own monetary structure and central bank. Shortly after the UN-sponsored Addis Ababa conference of July 1962, Rwanda and Burundi entered into an economic agreement providing for a continuation of the monetary union. After the breakup of the economic union in December 1963, Burundi's banking operations were transacted through the Bank of the Kingdom of Burundi, which in 1967 became the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the central bank and bank of issue. Burundi has a number of commercial banks, which handle a substantial portion of short-term credit (vital for the coffee season) that include the Commercial Bank of Burundi, the Credit Bank of Bujumbura, and the Belgian-African Bank of Burundi. There are also a savings bank, a postal savings bank, and a joint Libyan-Burundian financial institution. Other financial institutions are the National Economic Development Bank and the Central Fund for Mobilization and Finance.

The World Bank suspended all but three minor social-sector programs in late October 1996. A World Bank delegation visited Burundi in February 1997 to assess the situation, and concluded that conditions were not right for a resumption of funding. As a result of the deteriorating balance-of-payments situation, reserves were run down, from $209 million at the end of 1995 to $140 million in December 1996 and $108 million in 1998.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $96.4 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $138.7 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 14%.

INSURANCE

Insurance companies operating in Burundi include the Commercial Union of Insurance and Reinsurance (Union Commerciale d'Assurances et de Réassurances-UCAR), the partly state-owned Insurance Co. of Burundi (Société d'Assurances du Burundi-SOCABU), and a branch of the General Insurance of France. Motor vehicle insurance is the only compulsory coverage.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Burundi is extremely dependent on foreign aid, although the crisis in 1993 forced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to suspend structural adjustment programs. Emphasized reforms included price liberalization, governmental transparency, debt reduction, and a wider variety of exports.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Burundi's central government took in revenues of approximately $215.4 million and had expenditures of $278 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$62.6 million. Total external debt was $1.2 billion.

The IMF reported that in 1999, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were BFr63,536 million and expenditures were BFr88,593 million. The value of revenues in US dollars that year was us$113 million and expenditures us$157 million, based on a official exchange rate for 1999 of us$1 = BFr563.56 (as reported by the IMF). Government outlays

Revenue and Grants 63,536 100.0%
    Tax revenue 59,956 94.4%
    Social contributions
    Grants
   Other revenue 3,580 5.6%
Expenditures 88,593 100.0%
    General public services 38,185 43.1%
    Defense 24,564 27.7%
    Public order and safety 2,502 2.8%
   Economic affairs 4,568 5.2%
    Environmental protection
    Housing and community amenities
    Health 2,271 2.6%
    Recreational, culture, and religion 345 0.4%
    Education 15,991 18.0%
    Social protection 168 0.2%
() data not available or not significant.

by function were as follows: general public services, 43.1%; defense, 27.7%; public order and safety, 2.8%; economic affairs, 5.2%; health, 2.6%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.4%; education, 18.0%; and social protection, 0.2%.

TAXATION

There are income taxes on businesses and individuals, and a tax on transactions. Other direct taxes are on vehicles and real estate. About twice as much money is collected from indirect taxes, of which the most important are import and export duties, and a tax on beer.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Import duties, which are levied mainly ad valorem, include a revenue duty averaging 1535% and an import duty averaging 25%. The government also levies a 4% statistical tax on all imports. Burundi is a member of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and, as a party to the Lomé Convention, receives preferential treatment by the European Union.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Because of its ethnic conflict, limited domestic market, and lack of infrastructure, Burundi has attracted few private foreign investors. The 1979 investment code provides basic guarantees to foreign investors and the corporation tax may be waived for five years. In practice there were delays in the repatriation of profits. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Burundi were insignificant until 2000 when they reached $11.7 million. They later became zero again. The low level of FDI inflows is attributed to the fact that Burundi is a landlocked least developed country with little natural resources and a tiny market. FDI inward stock grew from $30 million in 1990 to about $34 million in 1995 and then jumped to $48 million in 2002. Two of the three largest affiliates of foreign transnational companies (TNCs) in Burundi in 2002 originated from Belgium and are engaged in financial sector activities. The third, which is also engaged in financial sector activities is jointly owned by Belgium and Germany.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Burundi began a complete review of economic and financial policy with the help of the UN in 1986, when a reform of the currency and the first of a series of devaluations occurred. The first five-year plan was designed to improve economic growth, reduce inflation, and diversify export production. Few of these objectives were met, and the program was discontinued in 1991. A second reform of the currency and further devaluation took place in 1992. These reforms led up to the gradual decline of living standards and exacerbated ethnic tensions, resulting in the ethnic clashes of the 1990s.

Burundi is dependent on foreign assistance for both development programs and current operations. Diversification of its export base and financial stability are key goals. The African Development Bank, European Union, and Belgium are Burundi's principal providers of development financial and technical support. Support has been pledged for the health sector, education, refugee rehabilitation, and general reconstruction.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $13 million in assistance to support Burundi's reconstruction and economic recovery program in 2003, following the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. It was the first such IMF assistance to Burundi since the outbreak of hostilities in 1993. The program addresses security and humanitarian assistance needs, as well as the improvement of basic infrastructure. Low world coffee prices in the late 1990s and early 2000s resulted in a reduction of foreign exchange earnings, and the government resolved to find other ways to generate growth.

In 2005, the new government stated its intention to continue with the economic policy reforms contained in the IMF's poverty reduction and growth facility. Inflation has remained high averaging 10.1% per annum for the period 20002005 due in part to a poor harvest which kept food prices elevated. However, there is optimism that the next harvest will be better, and food prices are expected to decline. Strong coffee production in 2004/05 and high international prices boosted exports in the first half of 2005. Donors have promised to support the country's political transition to democracy with financial aid.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Under the tribal system, the individual's basic welfare needs have traditionally been the responsibility of the group. Even now, the family remains the most important social welfare institution. There are social centers for women and youth. Missions help to look after orphans and the aged. For the small percentage of wage earners, there is a government social security system that insures against accidents and occupational diseases and provides old-age and disability pensions. This program is funded by employer and employee contributions. Workers covered by the labor code are entitled to workers' compensation for temporary and permanent disabilities. Employed persons are entitled to family allowances.

The Transitional Constitution Act guarantees equal protection for all citizens, but it has not been effectively implemented. Women suffer job discrimination and sexual violence, which is rarely reported to the authorities. The stigma of rape is so pervasive that women are subject to ridicule by authorities, and often are required to provide food and other costs of incarcerating the rapist. Domestic violence is commonplace although no cases involving abuse of women have ever been heard in a Burundian court. Children are often used for forced labor, have been subjected to violence, and have lost family members to the civil war.

Burundi's poor human rights record remains unchanged, with failure to control excesses by security forces, including reprisals against civilians following rebel attacks. Abductions are commonplace. Prison conditions are life threatening.

HEALTH

Following independence, the World Health Organization (WHO) assisted in the organization of public health services and the training of sanitarians and public health nurses for Burundi. Students from Burundi received medical training at universities in France and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. WHO coordinated all public health programs and helped in campaigns against smallpox, tuberculosis, and malaria. WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and UNICEF also provided aid for nutrition and maternal and child health programs. Following the assassination of the president of Burundi in 1993, widespread violence involving tribal groups uprooted many of the country's people. Approximately 683,000 people fled to neighboring countries, rural villages, or towns where sanitation is poor.

Outbreaks of group A meningitis are occurring in Burundi. There have been over 2,500 cases of meningitis. Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), borne by the tsetse fly, is a problem in the Ruvuvu River Valley. Malaria and schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) are common along the Ruzizi River. Intake of animal protein and fat is inadequate and almost all diseases associated with malnutrition are found in Burundi. In 1995, 2,297 cases of cholera were reported. A four-year program covering 3040% of the country, started in 1986, was intended to rehabilitate and expand rural water supplies. Approximately 58% of the population had access to safe water.

In 2004, there were an estimated 5 doctors, 28 nurses, and 1 pharmacist per 100,000 people. Total health care expenditures were estimated at 3.7% of GDP.

In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 64.39, down from 102 per 1,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate of 1,900 per 100,000 live births was one of the highest in Africa. Only 9% of married women (ages 15 to 49) practiced contraception. In 1999, Burundi immunized children up to one year of age as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 74% and measles, 75%. Approximately 38% of children under five years old were considered to be malnourished.

Average life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 50 years, up from 42 years in 2000. There were approximately 8,000 war-related deaths during the conflict between the Tutsis and Hutus from 1988 to 1992. The death rate was estimated at 16 per 1,000 as of 2002. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 6.00 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 250,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 25,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

Civil war has caused homelessness through displacement of residents and destruction of homes. In 2004, about 1.2 million people were still without basic permanent shelter. Foreign assistance programs for reconstruction and improvements in housing are underway. The basic type of housing in the rural areas is the hut, most commonly beehive shaped, made of strips of wood woven around poles, and covered with tin (thatch has become scarce). The huts are generally not grouped into villages but are organized in groups on a family basis. Government resettlement projects have been considering plans to build mud and cement brick dwellings with roofs of corrugated iron sheets or ceramic tile. The average dwelling is a two- or three-room home, which generally houses about five people.

EDUCATION

Until 1954, all education was provided by religious missions; it was almost entirely limited to the primary grades. Education is now compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Primary education lasts for six years. General secondary education lasts for seven years. At the secondary level, students also have an option of technical studies (five years) or vocational schooling (seven year). The academic year runs from October to June. The languages of instruction in schools are Kisundi and French.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 57% of age-eligible students; 62% for boys and 52% for girls. The same year, secondary school enrollment was estimated at about 9% of age-eligible students; 10% for boys and 8% for girls. In 2000, it was estimated that only about 26.7% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was estimated at about 50:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 19:1.

The University of Burundi, in Bujumbura (founded in 1960), is the country's only institution of higher learning. In 2001, there were about 11,000 students enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 58.9%, with 66.8% for males and 51.9% for females.

The Ministry of National Education is the primary administrative body. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.9% of GDP, or 13% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

There are about 60 public libraries in Burundi, with the largest in and around the capital. Libraries in Bujumbura include the Public Library, which has 27,000 volumes; the library of the University of Burundi, with 192,000 volumes; and a specialized collection at the Department of Geology and Mines. The French Cultural Center in Bujumbura holds 33,000 volumes.

The National Museum in Gitega (founded in 1955) houses a collection of musical instruments, weapons, witchcraft implements, and a sizeable library. The Musée Vivant, established in 1977 in Bujumbura, contains exhibits reflecting all aspects of life in the country. It also includes a reptile house, aquarium, aviary, openair theater, and botanical gardens.

MEDIA

In 2003, there were an estimated three mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 4,700 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately nine mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

In 2001, there were four FM radio stations, two of which were owned by the government, including the Voice of the Revolution, broadcasting in Kirundi Swahili, French, and English. There were eight privately owned radio stations in 2004, including Radio Isanganiro, Bonesha FM, and African Public Radio (RPA); all of these are broadcast in French, Kirundi, and Kirundi Swahili. Some stations receive funding from international donors. Transmissions can be received from British Broadcasting and Radio France Internationale. A television service, Télévision Nationale du Burundi, was established in 1984, and began color transmission in 1985. In 2004, there was only one television station, which was owned by the government. In 2003, there were an estimated 220 radios and 35 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 1.8 personal computers for every 1,000 people and two of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were two secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

The government issues a French-language daily, Le Renouveau du Burundi, with a circulation of 20,000 in 2002, and several periodicals, including a weekly newspaper, Ubumwe, published in Kirundi, with a 1999 circulation of 20,000, and Burundi Chrétien, another weekly published in French. There were five private weekly papers as of 2004 and eight private Internet and fax newssheets.

Though there are no official restrictions upon expression or the press, the regime owns the only daily newspaper and two of the major radio stations, and information is said to be slanted toward pro-government opinions.

ORGANIZATIONS

Various commercial, agricultural, cultural, social, and welfare organizations exist in Burundi. The Burundi Chamber of Commerce and Industry is located in Bujumbura. The UPRONA has affiliate labor, youth, and women's organizations.

The National Council of Churches of Burundi has a membership of 500,000 Protestant denominations and congregations. The group supports issues of social welfare, peace, reconciliation, human rights, and general educational as well as evangelical activities.

Youth organizations include the National Youth Council, the Young Catholics Movement, the Red Cross Youth, YMCA, Boy Scouts, and Girl Guides. There are sports associations representing such pastimes as tennis, handball, and track and field. There are a number of women's organizations, including the Burundi Women's Union, which serves to encourage participation in government and politics, and the multinational Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, UNICEF, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Caritas.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Due to an ongoing civil war, tourism in Burundi has declined since 1993, although it has many tourist attractions. Lake Tanganyika is internationally famous for its scenic beauty. Points of interest include Bujumbura, the capital, on Lake Tanganyika; Gitega, the former capital, with its museum and traditional handicraft center; and the Mosso area in the southeast, with its fairly abundant wildlife. The northeast has a great variety of tropical birds. Burundi is rich in folk art; the dances and drummers of the Tutsi are particularly well known.

In 2003, tourist expenditure receipts totaled $1.2 million. All visitors require a valid passport and visa. A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is recommended along with precautions for malaria.

In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Burundi at $184 per day.

FAMOUS BURUNDIANS

Mwami Ntare I Rushatsi (c.1500), a warrior and astute administrator, succeeded in unifying the country under Tutsi rule. Mwambutsa IV (191378), the last mwami under the Belgian administration, was deposed in July 1966. Prince Louis Rwagasore (193061), the son of Mwambutsa, was the founder of UPRONA. Michel Micombero (194083) was president from 1966 until 1976, when he was replaced by Jean-Baptiste Bagaza (b.1946). Bagaza served until 1987, when he was succeeded by a military junta led by Pierre Buyoya (b.1949).

DEPENDENCIES

Burundi has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chrétien, Jean-Pierre. The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History. New York: Zone Books, 2003.

Eggers, Ellen. Historical Dictionary of Burundi. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1997.

Forster, Peter G. Race and Ethnicity in East Africa. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Janzen, John M. Do I Still Have a Life?: Voices from the Aftermath of War in Rwanda and Burundi. Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2000.

Jennings, Christian. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Heart of Darkness. London: Phoenix, 2001.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Ould Abdallah, Ahmedou. Burundi on the Brink, 199395: A UN Special Envoy Reflects on Preventive Diplomacy. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2000.

Scherrer, Christian P. Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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BURUNDI

Republic of Burundi

Major City:
Bujumbura

Other Cities:
Bururi, Gitega, Ngozi

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated August 1994. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

The Republic of BURUNDI is a landlocked country in a mountainous, isolated region of central Africa. Once a German East African possession, it later was administered by Belgium as part of Ruanda-Urundi, first under a League of Nations mandate, and later as a United Nations trust territory. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1962 and a republic in 1966.

An unusual aspect of Burundi is the scarcity of towns and villagesits traditional social structure is based on scattered farmsteads. Life centers around hillside hut compounds, called rugos, where about 95 percent of the population lives, engaging primarily in subsistence agriculture. A few coffee trees or tea bushes also provide cash income. The lyre-horned cattle, seen throughout the countryside, form another important part of Burundi's traditional rural life.

MAJOR CITY

Bujumbura

Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, is a small city in beautiful surroundings, with an agreeable year-round tropical climate. Its population is about 278,000. Downtown Bujumbura stretches along the flat northeastern edge of Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world (after Lake Baikal in southern Siberia), and once thought to be the source of the Nile. The wealthier residential area slowly has been climbing the hillsides east of the city, and some of the villa-like homes have magnificent views of the lake, the Ruzizi River plain, and the beautiful mountains of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), just 15 miles away across the lake.

Bujumbura is a small but colorful city, which can be traversed by car in a matter of minutes. Many of the main streets are paved, and traffic is rarely a problem, except during commuter hours. Streets throughout much of the residential area are not paved but remain passable, even during the rainy season. Flowering trees in Bujumbura include flamboyants, acacia, jacaranda, and frangipani. Tropical ornamental plants thrive here, and flowers are plentiful in any season.

In the downtown commercial area, the streets are lined with small shops, usually owned by Greeks, Belgians, or Asians. Among these are various food businesses, general dry goods shops, sales and service establishments, shoe stores, some European gift shops, pharmacies, and a flower shop. Street vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables. A large open-air market thrives in the mornings, selling basketry, foods, charcoal, used clothing (much of it from the U.S.), cloth, and small items for African consumers.

Three hotels in Bujumbura, the Source du Nil, Novotel, and the Club des Vacances provide international rooms and service. Other hotels are available at much lower cost, but are not normally used by Americans.

Bujumbura's lakefront is dominated by a port area which is visited weekly by two steamers transporting goods and passengers up and down the 400-mile lake under the Tanzanian flag. Just south of the port is a scenic beach area, where residents like to drive in the evenings to view the sunset and look for hippopotami who live in the reeds and waters along the beach.

The residents of Bujumbura live in and around the city in various "quarters" and suburbs which have developed according to ethnic origin and economic status. Large foreign groups include Zairians, Belgians, Indians, Ismaili Muslims, French, and a few Arabs. Although Kirundi and French are the official languages in Burundi, many of these foreign groups use Swahili for commerce. At least some knowledge of French is necessary for shopping and social life, as little English is spoken here.

The American community is limited to the U.S. diplomatic staff and a few business people and missionaries. There is little tourism in Burundi.

Food

Fresh tropical fruits (such as bananas, papayas, pineapples, man-goes, lemons, avocados, tangerines, strawberries, and oranges) and vegetables (including cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, beets, lettuce, potatoes, turnips, onions, peas, leeks, green onions, green peppers, and parsley) are available at reasonable prices, although some are seasonal.

Lake Tanganyika provides Bujumbura with succulent whitefish, such as capitaine, sangala, and bangabanga, which are mild flavored and of varying size. An indigenous freshwater sardine that makes a tasty cocktail snack when deep fried can be found.

Local beef and poultry are expensive, and quality varies. Local pork and lamb are quite good. Three local European butcher shops make a variety of sausages and bacon and several types of ham and lunch meat. Other sausages, ham, special meats, and shellfish imported from Kenya and Europe are expensive.

Local milk is not considered safe; yogurt and butter are good but not always available. Cheeses, when available, are good. European cheeses, ice cream, poultry, temperate zone fruit, and other special foods are available in food stores that cater to Europeans or can be special ordered from Europe, but prices are high because of air freight costs.

Bakeries in town produce a variety of European-type breads and some pastries. Bread always seems to be available locally, but flour shortages do occur.

Burundi's locally grown and processed arabica coffee is excellent. Good locally produced tea is also available. The local brewery makes fine light and dark beers in addition to bottling cola, orange and lemon sodas, tonic, and a good soda water. Brief shortages of these beverages sometimes occur.

Some stores carry a large selection of canned goods and other European and Kenyan food and household products, but prices are high.

Clothing

Summer clothes are worn throughout the year in Burundi. Little ready-made clothing is sold locally. Tailors are available, but the selection of yard goods is small, and any high-quality wash-and-wear fabric is expensive. All clothing should be washable, as dry cleaning is of questionable quality.

Lightweight suits, similar to those worn in summer in Washington, D.C., are appropriate year-round. Short-sleeved shirts are acceptable at work, but a coat and tie are preferred for special business visits. Men also wear safari suits, made to order in Bujumbura or in Nairobi. For most evening social occasions, a sport shirt without tie and coat is worn. A dinner jacket is rarely needed. For trips into the mountains, a light jacket or sweater is useful. A variety of footwear is recommended.

Women find that summer dresses, slacks, or pantsuits are worn to the office or around town. Hosiery is unnecessary. A good supply of shoes is needed; open styles are best for this tropical climate, along with tennis or hiking shoes for outdoor activities. For most evening occasions, the dress is tenue relaxe, which for women usually means long dresses or evening pants outfits that range from casual to dressy, depending on the occasion and the host. One or two long dresses will serve for more formal occasions. A stole is useful for cooler evenings, and mountain trips call for a light jacket or sweater. Some find raincoats too hot in the tropics, but umbrellas are necessary.

A generous supply of washable children's clothing as well as shoes are needed for any extended stay. Jeans and T-shirts are as popular in Burundi as elsewhere. Boys of all ages wear shorts as well as long pants. Smaller children wear rubber boots during the rainy season. Sweaters are needed occasionally in the evening.

All family members should bring appropriate gear for swimming, boating, tennis, golf, horseback riding, or other sports in which they plan to participate.

Supplies & Services

There is a lack of some services and products in Bujumbura. Most basic hygiene items, such as soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and feminine hygiene products are available, but at high prices. Limited supplies of play materials and household products are also expensive, as are gift wrap and party favors (which are depleted rapidly during holiday seasons). Local pharmacies stock basic needs, but do not often have special items. Photographic supplies must be ordered from abroad.

Bujumbura has no reliable dry cleaning service. Some tailors are available, and best results can be obtained through personal recommendations. Four beauty shops and two barbershops operate in Bujumbura, and the beauty shops serve both men and women.

Some skilled European electricians work in the capital, but labor and materials are expensive.

Religious Activities

In Bujumbura, Catholic Sunday services are held in Kirundi or French at the Cathedral Regina Mundi. Protestant services are offered in Kirundi or French in various churches around town. In addition, a number of English-speaking missionaries in rotation conduct Protestant Fellowship services often featuring visiting speakers from all over the world. A children's English Sunday School is held during the fellowship service.

Domestic Help

Reliable household help is available. Most households employ a combination houseboy/cook, who does the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. The employer is responsible for the medical care of the servant and his family. The employer may also provide work clothing and give an additional month's pay for a New Year's bonus.

Larger families often hire servants who specialize in particular functions, such as laundry, cooking, and child care. Servants generally are male, and speak French.

Education

Bujumbura has no English-language schools. However, American children at nursery, elementary, and secondary levels are successfully pursuing their studies in French at the French School of Bujumbura, which is a member of the French overseas school system, and partially supported by the Government of France. Some American students also enroll in the Belgian School of Bujumbura, which is also highly regarded.

Because studies are conducted in a language other than English, supplemental tutoring in French is provided, as is additional course work to help students maintain their U.S.-system grade level. Tutors are also available for supplemental English classes to help school-aged children attain appropriate levels of reading, writing, grammar, and spelling in English. Some expatriate children attend school in Europe or return to the U.S. In addition, there are English-language boarding schools in Kenya, but matriculation is sometimes difficult.

Special educational opportunities are limited, or nonexistent, depending on the availability of qualified instructors which varies from year to year. Official Americans and their families are eligible for French and Swahili lessons, following the guidelines of the Foreign Service Institute program. Kurundi lessons are available from private tutors. Adult and child education in art, music, or dancing is available.

Recreation

Soccer is Burundi's national sport, and matches usually are played on Sunday afternoons. The various sporting clubs sponsor occasional competitions or tournaments but, otherwise, spectator sports are infrequent. Basketball and volleyball are played in the schools.

The few organized activities that take place center around private clubs, where dues are reasonable and where no special clothing is required, except for tennis whites. The clubs include:

Entente Sportive, a social and sports club with a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, a nine-hole golf course, outdoor basketball, and a club house with an excellent restaurant that is the center of social activities in the city.

Cercle Hippique, a riding club where rates are reasonable and formal riding attire is not required. Lessons are available for adults and children.

Cercle Nautique, a small yacht club on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, with mooring for sailboats and power boats. Water-skiing is common here, and fishing from the pier is popular on weekend afternoons, although catches are marginal. Cercle Nautique is a gathering spot for drinks and snacks in the early evenings and on weekends. A good bar that serves light lunches on weekends is also available.

In addition to the club facilities in Bujumbura, there is a popular swimming beach located at the Club des Vacances Hotel. The hotel is situated on the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika, approximately four miles from Bujumbura. The Castle, near Rumonge, a 45-to 60-minute drive south from Bujumbura, features an uncrowded, pleasant, sandy beach and crystal-clear water, making it another popular spot. Bring any beach equipment, such as chairs and umbrella. Such items here, if available, are expensive.

All along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, some danger exists from crocodiles and hippopotami, as well as from bilharzia, a waterborne disease spread by a tiny snail that breeds near reeds in still water. Swimming from a boat in the middle of the lake is considered safe from these dangers. No restrictions on beach attire exist.

Hunting permits are difficult to obtain, and importation of firearms, even for use in a neighboring country, should not be done without consulting authorities.

Burundi has no proper campsites, but camping opportunities are extensive in neighboring Tanzania, as well as in Kenya. Campers should bring all necessary gear, including tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, lanterns, camp stoves, and eating and cooking utensils. Tents can be rented at some campsites. Several attractive picnic areas are within a short drive from Bujumbura.

Burundi is a birdwatcher's paradise, with a region in the north noted for its various species. Bujumbura is full of colorful birdlife, as is the Ruzuzi River plain.

The mountainous interior of Burundi is beautiful. Except for the few paved truck roads, traveling is difficult. Hotels and restaurants are found only in three or four towns.

A 40-minute drive (21 miles) along the paved road to Bugarama leads to the over 6,000-foot crest between the Nile and Zaire River basins. The area offers many picnic sites, including the beautiful tea plantation at Teza.

Road trips outside the country are feasible to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) and to Rwanda. Travel by car from Bujumbura north to Kigali, Rwanda, takes five hours. From Kigali, it is possible to reach the Akagera Game Park in northeastern Rwanda. The park has abundant wildlife, and its flora has not been damaged by elephants and giraffes, as is sometimes the case in East Africa. Rwanda also has the highly scenic volcano region in the northwest, around Lake Kivu, where gorillas can be seen. The nearby twin towns of Gisenye (Rwanda) and Goma (DRC) offer pleasant hotel accommodations.

The same Lake Kivu area can be reached by going from Bujumbura to Bukavu, DRC, (about 90 miles) and from Bukavu to Goma (about 150 miles) along the western shore of Lake Kivu. The Bukavu-Goma road is twisting, rough, and slippery during the rainy season, but the magnificent scenery is worth the effort. In the Goma vicinity, there are opportunities for hiking up to volcanos, some of which are still active. Two-and-a-half hours north of Goma is lovely Virunga Game Park, with a good hotel. The park is known for its hippos, elephants, lions, and Cob antelope. Bukavu has a park with a mountain gorilla group, just 24 miles from town. The sometimes exhausting hike through the thick forest to find and observe the gorillas is a unique experience.

The closest modern rest spot is Nairobi, Kenya, which is 500 air miles and 960 land miles from Bujumburamuch of it over difficult roads in Uganda. (Currently, travelers are discouraged from making this trip by land because of Ugandan political conditions.)

Many people take advantage of the proximity to Tanzania, which contains some of the best game parks in Africa. Travel by road, while sometimes difficult, provides an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Entertainment

Entertainment is limited in Bujumbura. Movies at the three cinemas are always in French. Several excellent restaurants are patronized by the American community; the menus are somewhat varied, and the cuisine is generally French, Greek, or Belgian. Prices range from moderate to expensive. Musée Vivant, a small museum with a botanical garden, reptile house, aviary, and crafts village is an interesting spot.

Private social activity is informal and frequent, usually revolving around home entertainment such as barbecues, poker nights, or dinner and a movie. There is some entertaining in private clubs or restaurants, but this is expensive. Two nightclubs in town have recorded or taped music. Bujumbura also has several discotheques, but private clubs offer the best opportunity for meeting new people.

Much of the American community is organized around the Bujumbura American Recreation Association (BARA). It operates the Torchlight Club, a nightclub-like place for parties and movies. BARA also has a video club with over 300 films.

Lions Club International, Rotary Club, and Round Table are represented in Bujumbura, and these groups also serve in forming international contacts.

Burundians value courtesy and good manners. At the same time, they do not necessarily follow Western conventions of social conduct. Personal contact generally plays a much greater role here. Burundians seem to enjoy the relaxed, informal style of entertaining favored by many Americans.

OTHER CITIES

Located in the southwestern section of the country, BURURI has sites of interest including mosques and Roman Catholic churches. The tropical climate allows the growth of various fruits, corn, and rice. Fishing on nearby Lake Tanganyika makes the production of smoked fish a major industry here.

Burundi's only community of appreciable size (other than the capital) is the small city of GITEGA in the central part of the country. Gitega is located approximately 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of Bujumbura and is connected to the capital by a major road. It is a center for education and religion. Several primary, secondary, and technical schools are located here along with places of worship for Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims. Crops such as sorghum, bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes, beans, and corn are grown in areas surrounding Gitega. Industrial enterprises in Gitega are limited to peat exploitation and a small tannery. It is the location of the National Museum, opened in 1955, with its well-displayed historical and folk exhibits, as well as the site of a library. A Catholic mission here operates an art school that sells some native carvings, bas-reliefs, and ceramic work. There also are a few hotels and restaurants in the city. Gitega's population is approximately 27,000.

NGOZI is a small town located in north-central Burundi. A government hospital is located here along with several churches and mosques. Cassava, sweet potatoes, beans, coffee, bananas, and tea are grown near the town. In recent years, tin mining has become a growing industry near Ngozi. Ngozi has a population of roughly 15,000.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Republic of Burundi, measuring 10,747 square miles, is about the size of Maryland. It is located in the heart of central Africa, along the northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. To the north is Rwanda, a country of about equal size, with the same local language and many of the same customs. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) is to the west, across the shared Ruzizi River and Lake Tanganyika, both forming a part of the western section of the Great Rift Valley. To the south and east lies Tanzania.

Mountains rise steeply from the Tanganyika shore to almost 9,000 feet along the Zaire-Nile watershed divide to the east of Bujumbura, which itself is situated at an altitude of 2,600 feet. Green valleys and hillsidesintensively cultivated in wheat, peas, corn, and teatypify the rest of the countryside on the divide. East of the divide, the central plateau (3,500 to 6,000 feet) gradually becomes more open and rolling, with predominating crops of bananas, corn, beans, and coffee. Toward the Tanzanian border, the altitude drops sharply at some eastern points into largely uninhabited valleys, such as the Mosso in southeastern Burundi.

The Bujumbura area has a distinct dry season and two rainy seasons. The short rainy interval extends from October to December. The long rainy period begins in February and continues through mid-May. Average annual rainfall in Bujumbura measures about 31 inches, but twice that amount occurs in the mountains. During the long, dry, summer season (mid-May to early October), a haze often obscures the mountains and even much of the lake view, but a brisk breeze around midday helps to freshen the air.

Temperatures in Bujumbura generally range from about 72°F at night to between 85°F-91°F during the day. However, temperatures may be hotter at midday during the dry season or cooler (below 80°F) on cloudy days during the rainy period. The equatorial sun at Bujumbura's altitude can be intense and very hot, with attendant sunburn problems. Humidity during the rainy season is not as severe or oppressive as in coastal African towns. Cool evenings may require a light sweater or stole, particularly after acclimatization brings sensitivity to minor temperature changes.

Much cooler temperatures are recorded in the mountains of the interior, where there are occasional night frosts in June and July. Hailstorms sometimes occur during the rainy season. Daytime temperatures in the shade are usually in the upper 60s or low 70s along the crest, and nighttime lows are about 50°F. However, midday exposure of unprotected skin to strong suneven for brief periodsat altitudes greater than 6,000 feet can result in severe burns.

Population

Burundi's population is estimated at 5.9 million. With a population density of approximately 600 people per square mile, Burundi is one of the most densely inhabited countries in Africa. Three ethnic groups comprise the indigenous population: Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, all of whom speak Kirundi as their native tongue.

The official languages of Burundi are French and Kirundi, although Swahili is spoken in Bujumbura and a few other commercial sectors. Because Kirundi is a difficult tonal language that requires a long learning process, most Westerners rely on French to communicate with Burundians. In recent years, the government has stressed English in schools, and some Burundian officials now have a good knowledge of English.

Government

Burundi, formerly known as Urundi, came under the German East African Administration at the close of the 19th century. In 1919, the area called Ruanda-Urundi (now Rwanda and Burundi) was ceded to Belgium under a League of Nations mandate, which in turn became a United Nations trustee-ship after World War II. Burundi was granted independence July 1, 1962 as a constitutional monarchy.

A military coup d'état in November 1966 overthrew the king (mwami ), and established a republic under the leadership of Capt. (eventually Lt. Gen.) Michel Micombero. A second military coup 10 years later ousted Micombero on charges of corrupt and inefficient government, and brought to power Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, who had received university-level military training in Belgium. Bagaza was elected by direct suffrage in 1984. However, Bagaza's regime became increasingly repressive and unpopular. In September 1987, Bagaza was overthrown in a military coup. His replacement, Major Pierre Buyoya, suspended Burundi's constitution and named a 31-member Military Committee for National Salvation (CMSN) to govern the country. The CMSN remained the primary governmental authority until mid-1990, when it was replaced by a civilian-led National Security Council. A new constitution adopted in 1991 provided for a directly elected president, a prime minister, and an 81-seat National Assembly. It was supplanted on 6 June 1998 by a Transitional Constitution which enlarged the National Assembly to 121 seats and created two vice presidents.

Two national, mainstream governing parties are the Unity for National Progress or UPRONA; and the Burundi Democratic Front or FRODEBU. A multiparty system was introduced after 1998.

Burundi is divided into 16 provinces, each headed by a governor. Provinces are subdivided into communes, communal subsectors called zones, and groups of hills and individual hills (collines ) which traditionally organize along family lines.

The Burundi flag consists of a white diagonal cross on green and red quarters, with three red stars (for unity, work, and progress) on a central circle.

Arts, Science, Education

There is no compulsory education in Burundi. The country's literacy rate in 1995 was about 35 percent.

The University of Burundi, including the semi-autonomous Teachers College (ENS) in Bujumbura, has an estimated 3,300 students. Its law, arts and letters, economics, and agricultural departments, as well as the ENS, offer four years of study leading to a degree. The University of Burundi has a medical school. A large number of French, Belgian, Swiss, Russian, and other foreign professors teach at the university.

Five schools in Bujumbura operate for foreign students, offering classes from kindergarten through high school.

Four private kindergartens operate for preschool children aged three to five.

Commerce and Industry

Burundi's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Over 90 percent of Burundi's people are engaged in subsistence farming. Burundi's principal product is arabica coffee, most of which is sold to the European Community (EC). Coffee provides up to 80 percent of Burundi's export earnings. Other cash crops include tea, cotton, tobacco, and palm oil.

The manufacturing sector in Burundi is small and centered primarily in Bujumbura. The city has a few light industries producing beer, soft drinks, soap, metal parts, insecticides, textiles, cigarettes, and paint.

High-grade nickel deposits and other minerals were discovered in the 1980s, providing new resource potential. The government, international organizations, and several firms are studying techniques for exploiting these minerals. In 1985, Amoco began a major oil exploration program in Burundi.

Wood is Burundi's main source of energy. The Mugere hydroelectric dam, constructed by the Chinese, was opened in 1986 and supplies part of the electrical power consumed in Bujumbura.

EC countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Belgium are Burundi's main trading partners.

Burundi is extremely dependent on foreign aid. The EC nations, China, the United States, World Bank, and the United Nations have all contributed substantial amounts of economic assistance.

The Chambre de Commerce et de l'Industrie du Burundi has an office in Bujumbura. The postal address is B.P. 313.

Transportation

No domestic transportation system is acceptable except weekly Air Burundi flights to Gitega. A World War I era German navy steamer transports passengers and cargo around Lake Tanganyika. Bujumbura International Airport is located approximately 10 miles (15 kilometers) from Bujumbura. Direct air service exists between Bujumbura and Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Uganda, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Russia, and Belgium. Participating airlines are Air France, Aeroflot, Air Tanzania, Air Zaire, Kenya Airlines, Cameroon Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Sabena.

Although all-weather roads provide access to the game parks in Zaire and Rwanda, as well as overland travel to Uganda and Kenya, political conditions may discourage such travel. Travelers can reach the game parks in Tanzania by car, but distances are great, and roads may be impassable.

Taxis are available within Bujumbura. Fares are negotiated at the beginning of a trip. A vehicle with a driver may be rented, but rates are high. Tips (always less than 10 percent) are welcome, but not mandatory.

The country's rudimentary public transportation system makes a dependable, personally owned automobile a necessity. Burundi, and its most easily reached neighbors, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), use left-hand drive, but right-hand-drive cars are permitted. A valid operator's license is the only requirement for obtaining a permit to drive in Burundi.

Most roads outside the city of Bujumbura are unpaved. However, there is a good, all-weather highway to Kigali, Rwanda; a fair road connects the city to Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire); and, within the country, roads to the cities of Rumonge, Gihofi, Nyanza Lac, Muyinga, and Gitega are paved. Generally rough roads dictate the need for a car with adequate ground clearance.

The Americans living in Burundi own an equal mix of American and foreign-made cars. Outside the U.S. community, predominant makes include Toyota, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Land or Range Rovers. Smaller cars prevail because of the extremely high cost of gasoline. Local dealers and service are available for the above makes, but there is no guarantee of parts availability. Cars built for the American market have different specifications from those built for Burundi. Ideally, vehicles should be equipped with heavy-duty suspension, cooling systems, heavy-duty batteries, and tube-type tires.

Air conditioning is a welcome feature, but not essential. It is advisable to keep an extra supply of oil, gas, and air filters; spark plugs; oil, brake, and transmission fluid; fan belts; windshield wipers; and various bulbs and fuses to simplify maintenance and reduce costs.

Communications

Bujumbura has a relatively dependable local telephone service, although it is subject to interruptions. Service within the country is fairly good. Delays are often encountered when placing international calls, but a ground-satellite relay station usually produces clear connections.

Commercial cable service is available, but extremely expensive. The rate system is complex.

International airmail service to and from Burundi is generally good. Letters to Europe take about five days for delivery, and to the U.S., about 10 days. Surface mail is in transit four to eight months to or from the U.S. Packages are subject to customs problems, and service is often unreliable.

The one radio station in Burundi is the government-controlled La Voix de la Révolution. It broadcasts on several FM frequencies in French, Kirundi, Swahili, and English.

A shortwave radio is a must for international and sports news. A good receiver can pick up British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA), Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), as well as non-English broadcasts.

Burundi's television service, Télévision Nationale du Burundi broadcasts from a station in Bujumbura. Programs are in Kirundi or consist of French-language news and films. Also, Zaire television can be seen on a set capable of receiving SECAM standard broadcasts for color or, CCIR standard for black-and-white. Many expatriates have American standard (NTSC) television and VCRs and order commercially or privately made tapes from the U.S.

The only local Western-language newspaper is Le Renouveau du Burundi, an eight-page, daily, French-language paper published by the Burundi Ministry of Information. It often features good and accurate international news, but generally arrives one day late. The most widely read English-language newspaper is the International Herald Tribune, which arrives from The Hague one to five days late. Editions of Time, Newsweek, and The Economist, or Sunday editions of the New York Times and the Washington Post can be ordered by mail, but these subscriptions often are three to four weeks in arriving.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

General medical practitioners, both European and Burundian, can be consulted in Bujumbura. Local opto-metrical and ophthalmological care is not recommended, but good care is available in Nairobi. Burundi's hospitals do not meet Western standards and, except in emergencies, most Western expatriates use facilities in Kenya or South Africa.

Routine dental care is unavailable in Bujumbura. However, Nairobi, Kenya has good dental facilities. Orthodontic work cannot be done in Bujumbura. Western Europe or South Africa offer the nearest acceptable facilities.

Community Health

Malaria, viral infections, colds, insect bites, and easily infected cuts are the most common ailments in Bujumbura. Those suffering from asthma or allergies also may have problems, particularly during the dusty dry season.

The level of public sanitation compares favorably with other developing countries, but falls below U.S. standards. Open drains, lack of a sewage system, garbage piles, open field burning, and other unsanitary practices are still common.

Preventive Measures

Malaria prophylaxis should be initiated at least one week before arriving in Burundi. Mefloquine is recommended because the mosquitoes are chloroquine resistant. The list of inoculations recommended by the U.S. Department of State for its employees includes those for yellow fever, smallpox, tetanus, typhoid, and polio; gamma globulin shots also are on the list. Yellow fever and cholera immunizations are required for entry into the country.

AIDS is a major problem, especially among prostitutes. In Africa, AIDS is primarily a heterosexual disease and extreme caution is urged.

Although the water supply in Bujumbura is considered safe, boiling and filtering is recommended because of the doubtful condition of pipes, particularly in the older downtown areas. In restaurants, locally bottled beverages are readily available (cola, soda water, tonic, orange and lemon-lime soft drinks, and an excellent beer). Scrupulous care must be taken in the preparation of food. Vegetables should be washed and all household staff members who handle food should receive periodic physical examinations.

The risk of bilharzia exists along much of the Lake Tanganyika shoreline, although some beaches and mid-lake areas are less dangerous.

Persons with pets should bring flea and tick collars, spray, or powder. Competent veterinary care is available, but it is often necessary to purchase veterinary medicines and vaccines from Nairobi, Europe, or the U.S.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Feb. 5 Unity Day

Mar/Apr. Easter*

May 1 Labor Day

May/June Ascension Day*

July 1 Independence Day

Aug. 15 Assumption Day*

Oct. 13 Prince Louis Rwagasore Day

Oct. 21 President Ndadaye's Day

Nov. 1 All Saints' Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

*Variable

NOTE FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

Travel to Burundi is nearly always by air, although it is possible to cross the border by road or ferry. Travelers generally transit Paris, Brussels, or Nairobi, Kenya. Most flights go through Nairobi, and provide an opportunity for last-minute shopping.

A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever and meningococcal meningitis are required. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian Embassy are eligible for entry stamps, without a visa, at the airport upon arrival. These entry stamps are not a substitute for a visa, which must be obtained from the Burundi Immigration Service within 24 hours of arrival. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007; telephone (202) 342-2574 or the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest Burundian embassy or consulate.

Travelers who wish to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda may experience difficulties at DRC airports or other ports of entry. Some travelers with those visas or exit/entry stamps have been detained for questioning in DRC.

Americans living in or visiting Burundi are encouraged to register at the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Burundi and obtain updated information on travel and security within Burundi. The U.S. Embassy is located on the Avenue des Etats-Unis. The mailing address is B.P. 34, 1720 Bujumbura, Burundi. The telephone number is (257) 223-454, fax (257) 222-926.

Pets

All pets entering Burundi must have accredited rabies and health certificates. The rabies vaccination should be given 30 to 60 days before arrival, and the health certificate should be dated within 48 hours of the start of the pet's travel. Quarantine is not required for arriving animals.

Pet food is available, but extremely expensive and often past the date of expiration on the label. Most expatriates prepare pet food from meat products that are locally available.

The time in Burundi is Greenwich Mean Time plus two.

Currency, Banking and Weights and Measures

The official currency is the Burundi franc (BFr), linked directly to the U.S. dollar. Currency importation is not restricted, but must be declared.

No U.S. banks have affiliated offices in Bujumbura.

The metric system of weights and measures is used.

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Africa South of the Sahara 1992. London: Europa Publications, 1991.

Kay, Reginald. Burundi Since the Genocide. London: Minority Rights Group, 1987.

Powzyk, J.A. Tracking Wild Chimpanzees in Kibira National Park. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1988.

Wolbers, Marion T. Burundi. Places& Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1989.

views updated

BURUNDI

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Burundi

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Location: Central Africa. Bordering nations—Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda.

Area: 27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Bujumbura (pop. 300,000). Other cities—Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

Climate: Warm but not uncomfortable in Bujumbura; cooler in higher regions.

Terrain: Hilly, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.


People

Nationality: Noun—Barundi (sing. and pl.); adjective—Burundian(s).

Population: (2002 est.) 6.85 million. Annual growth rate: 2002, 4.5 %; 2003 est., -1.5%.

Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%; Tutsi 14%; Twa 1.0%.

Religions: Roman Catholic 60%-65%; Protestant 10%-15%; traditional beliefs 15%-20%; Muslim 5%.

Languages: Official—Kirundi, French; other—Kiswahili, English.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—84.05% male, 62.8% female. Literacy—34% adult.

Health: (2002 est.) Life expectancy—40.5 yrs. (men), 42 yrs. (women). Infant mortality rate—129/1,000.


Government

Type: Republic; 3-year transitional government as of November 1, 2001.

Independence: July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).

Constitution: A transitional Constitution was adopted October 18, 2001.

Branches: Executive—transitional president, transitional vice president, 26-member Counsel of Ministers. Legislative —186-member National Assembly (85 elected, 101 appointed by the signatories to the Arusha Peace Accords), 54-member Senate, 3 seats reserved for former presidents, including one for former transitional President Buyoya, 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority, 2 from each of the 16 provinces and the city of Bujumbura, one Hutu and one Tutsi, plus 14 appointed by the president according to his own criteria. Judicial—constitutional and subsidiary courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura, 117 communes.

Political parties: Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership) and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP (the People's Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), CNDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Hutu), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).

Suffrage: Universal adult; elections to be held in accordance with the Arusha Peace Accords and the transitional Constitution before November 2004.


Economy

GDP: (2002) $628.06 million; (2003 est.) $583.09 million.

Real growth rate: (2002) 4.5%; (2003 est.) -1.5.

Per capita GDP: (2002) $104.7; (2003 est.) $97.2.

Inflation rate: (2002) -1.4%; (2003 est.) 11%.

Central government budget: Receipts—(2002) $127.2 million; (2003 est.) $116.6 million; spending—(2002) $162.9 million; (2003 est.) $172.8 million.

Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum deposits not yet exploited, vanadium.

Agriculture: (2002, 41% of GDP) Products—coffee, tea, sugar, cotton fabrics and oil, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides, livestock feed, rice. Arable land—44%.

Industry: (2002, 18.5% of GDP) Types—sugar refining, coffee processing, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, food processing, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, light consumer goods, assembly of imported components.

Services: (2002) 40.5% of GDP.

Mining: Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium, and other; peat mining.

Trade: (2002) Exports—$31.2 million: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets—U. K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports—$103.9 million: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum and products. Major suppliers—Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan. Total external debt (2002) $1.136 billion.




PEOPLE

At 206.1 persons per sq. km., Burundi has the second-largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil. The population is made up of three major ethnic groups—Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language, French and Kiswahili also are widely spoken. Intermarriage takes place frequently between the Hutus and Tutsis. The terms "pastoralist" and "agriculturist," often used as ethnic designations for Tutsi and Hutu, respectively, are only occupational titles which vary among individuals and groups. Although Hutus encompass the majority of the population, historically Tutsis have been politically and economically dominant.


HISTORY

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary econo mic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) which owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire—a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.


Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.


Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent governmental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup lead by Capt. Michel Micombero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new Constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza's human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.


In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya overthrew Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform.


In 1991, Buyoya approved a Constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a parliament. Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutu-dominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien


Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylve stre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional Constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued.


In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. While the establishment of a transitional government represents significant progress toward representative government and elections, failure to reach agreement with the rebel factions on an end to the fighting has delayed implementation of military reform and other social and political measures called for by the Arusha Accords. A permanent cessation of hostilities will be essential for the complete implementation of the democratization and security provision of the Arusha Accords. President Ndayizeye continues to negotiate with the CNDD-FDD on an integration plan under the auspices of Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. There are plans for local and national elections before the conclusion of the transitional period in November 2004.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 12/10/03


President: Ndayizeye, Domitien
Vice President: Kadege, Alphonse

Min. of Agriculture & Livestock:Ndikumagenge, Pierre

Min. of Civil Service: Kobako, Gaspard

Min. of Commerce & Industry: Minani, Thomas

Min. of Communal Development: Hicintuka, Cyrille

Min. of Communications & Spokesman for the Government: Nduwimana, Onesime

Min. of Development, Planning, & Reconstruction: Wakana, Seraphine

Min. of Energy & Mines: Nkundikije, Andre

Min. of External Relations & Cooperation: Sinunguruza, Therence

Min. of Finance: Gahungu, Athanase

Min. of Handicrafts, Vocational Training, & Adult Literacy: Hakizimana, Godefroid

Min. of Institutional Reforms, Human Rights, & Relations with Parliament: Rungwamihigo, Deogratias

Min. of Interior: Nyandwi, Simon

Min. of Justice & Keeper of the Seals: Kiganahe, Didace

Min. of Labor & Social Security: Nditabiriye, Dismas

Min. of Land Management, Environment, & Tourism: Mbonerane, Albert

Min. of National Defense: Niyungeko, Vincent, Maj. Gen.

Min. of National Education: Ntihabose, Salvator

Min. of Public Health: Kamana, Jean

Min. of Public Security: Dwima-Bakana, Fulgence

Min. of Public Works & Infrastructure:Ntahomenyereye, Salvator

Min. of Repatriation, Reinsertion, & Reintegration: Ngendahayo, Francoise

Min. of Social Action & Promotion of Women: Nduwimana, Marie-Goretti

Min. of Transportation, Posts, & Telecommunications: Ndikumugongo, Severin

Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Muteragiranwa, Barnabe

Min. in Charge of Mobilization for Peace & National Reconciliation: Butoyi, Antoine

Min. in the Office of the President in Charge of HIV/AIDS: Rukingama, Luc

Min. of State in Charge of Good Governance: Nkurunziz, Pierre

Governor, Central Bank: Toyi, Salvator Ambassador to the US: Ndikumana, Thomas

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Nteturuye, Marc



Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).




ECONOMY

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 41% of GDP in 2002. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor force, the majority of whom are subsistence farmers. Although Burundi is potentially self-sufficient in food production, the ongoing 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 9.4% of imports in 2002.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for 50% of exports in 2002. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi's vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. In recent years, the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, with some success. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. In 2003, a combination of floods and insect infestation resulted in a severe drop in coffee production. Revenues are estimated to be less than one-fifth those in 2002.


Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point. The trade embargo, lifted in 1999, negatively impacted trade and industry.


Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.136 billion in 2002. A series of largely unsuccessful 5-year plans initiated in July 1986 in partnership with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempted to reform the foreign exchange system, liberalize imports, reduce restrictions on international transactions, diversify exports, and reform the coffee industry.


IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of the crisis in 1993; the IMF re-engaged in Burundi in 2002 with a post-conflict credit. The World Bank has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Other serious problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.


To protest the 1996 coup by President Buyoya, neighboring countries imposed an economic embargo on Burundi. Although the embargo was never officially ratified by the UN Security Council, most countries refrained from official trade with Burundi. Following the 1996 coup, the United States suspended all but humanitarian aid to Burundi. The regional embargo was lifted on January 23, 1999, based on progress by the government in advancing national reconciliation through the Burundi peace process.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Burundi's relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. Hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians are in neighboring countries as a result of the ongoing civil war. Most of them, more than 750,000 since 1993, are in Tanzania. Some Burundi an rebel groups have used neighboring countries as bases for insurgent activities. The 1993 embargo placed on Burundi by regional states negatively impacted its diplomatic relations with its neighbors; relations have improved since the 1999 suspension of these sanctions.


Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the African Union, and the African Development Bank, and will become a member of COMESA, the free-tariff zone of east and south Africa, in January 2004.




U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

Burundi is an important factor in regional stability in the Great Lakes region. The United States encourages political stability, democratic change, respect for human rights, and shared economic development in Burundi. The United States supports the Arusha/Tanzania peace process aimed at national reconciliation and the eventual formation of a constitutional government, and encourages a peaceful solution to the civil conflict in Burundi. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent.

The United States has provided financial support for the peace process. U.S. bilateral aid with the exception of humanitarian assistance was ended following the 1996 coup. In view of progress in the peace talks, the United States and other international donors are reconsidering their policy of assistance. A State Department Travel Advisory was listed for Burundi in August 1999.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Bujumbura (E), B.P. 1720, Avenue Des Etas-Unis, Tel [257] 22-34-54, after-hours Tel 21-48-53, Fax 22-29-26; AID/OFDA Tel 22-59-51, Fax 22-29-86. E-mail: (user last name plus initials) @bujumburab.us-state.gov

AMB: James Yellin
AMB OMS: Brenda Moos
DCM: [Vacant]
ECO/CON: John Marietti
POL/PAO: Scott Stepien
MGT: John Moos
RSO: Gordon Hills
GSO: David Womble
IPO: Don Snead
FAA: Edward Jones (res. Dakar)
AID/OFDA: Denise Gordon
AID/REDSO: David Aasen
DAO/DATT: Tracy Higgins
DAO/OPSCO: Michael Van da Velde
RELO: Davis L.C. Kay (res. Dakar)
IRS: Marty Sartiti (res. Paris)
DEA: Robert Shannon (res. Cairo)

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003


TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
May 5, 2003


Americans planning travel to Burundi should read the Travel Warning for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov.


Country Description: Burundi is a small, inland African nation that entered a period of instability following the assassination of Burundi's first democratically elected president in 1993. A three-year transitional government was established on November 1, 2001. While the Government has concluded cease-fire agreements with three of the four rebel groups, hostilities continue with the fourth. Violations of the cease-fire with the largest rebel faction occur frequently. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited. The capital is Bujumbura. The official language is French.


Entry and Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian embassy are eligible for entry stamps, with out a visa, upon arrival at the airport. These entry stamps are not a substitute for a visa, which must be obtained from the Burundi Immigration Service within twenty-four hours of arrival. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007; telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at telephone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Burundian embassy or consulate.

Travelers who wish to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and who have visas and/or entry/exit stamps from Burundi, Rwanda or Uganda, may experience difficulties at DRC airports or other ports of entry. Some travelers with these visas or exit/entry stamps have been detained for questioning in the DRC.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. Americans in Burundi are urged to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times. Due to continuing hostilities between government and rebel forces, including danger on the road to and from Bujumbura's airport, and the requirement to observe curfew hours, the U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness.


In light of continuing political tensions, all areas of Burundi are potentially unstable. Fighting between rebel forces and the Burundian military continues to be a problem in the interior and in the outskirts of the capital. Burundian rebels regularly attack the outlying suburbs of Bujumbura and vehicles on the roadways. Throughout the early months of 2003, government forces and rebels clashed repeatedly just outside the capital. Rebels continue to operate in the province surrounding the capital, rebel forces have launched several rocket and mortar attacks on the city, and local authorities are unable to guarantee safety. The U.S. Embassy emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant and respecting any curfews in effect. For the most up-to-date curfew information, please check with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura. Given the ongoing insecurity, travelers should also check with the U.S. Embassy before traveling out of the capital.

Crime: Street crime in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, poses a high risk for visitors. Crime includes muggings, purse-snatching, pick-pocketing, burglary, auto break-ins, and auto-hijackings, including during daylight hours. Criminals operate individually or in small groups. Muggings of persons jogging or walking alone in all sections of Bujumbura have been reported, especially on public roads bordering Lake Tanganyika. For the last several years, expatriate employees of several international non-governmental organizations have occasionally become the victims of armed robberies in their offices, homes, and on the road.


If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you in finding appropriate medical care, contacting family members or friends, and explaining how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa," for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited in Burundi. Medicines and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable. Travelers should carry properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars (US). Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.


Other Health Information: Travelers planning to visit Burundi should consider taking prophylaxis against malaria. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. P. falciparum malaria, the serious and sometimes fatal strain found in Burundi and many parts of Central Africa, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Burundi are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam - tm), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone – tm). The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate antimalarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. In addition, other personal protective measures, such as the use of insect repellents, help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimal arials, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health website at: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.


Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC_FAXX (1-888-232-3299); or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, please consult the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter driving conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning driving in Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor/Not Recommended
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Non-existent


Drivers without drivers' licenses, and the ease with which a driver's license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less than careful, considerate, or predictable.


There are no traffic signals or signs in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights and shoulders make driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous. Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital, Bujumbura. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.


Big holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in and around the capital; when driving in the countryside, it is recommended that travelers carry multiple spare tires. Service stations are rare outside of major cities. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.


Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, or shot at and stopped by rebels or bandits.


Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $10 U.S.) and your driver's license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not consider drunk driving a crime. In the city of Bujumbura, the number for police assistance is 22-37-77; there is no comparable number outside the capital. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station. In most cases, other drivers will assist you. Ambulance assistance is nonexistent.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.


Local Aviation Safety: As a result of an attack on a Sabena passenger flight at night and the danger of attack on the road to and from the airport at night because of the ongoing conflict between government and rebel forces in Burundi, the U.S. Embassy continues to restrict U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness or during the Embassy's curfew hours. The curfew changes from time to time due to changing security conditions; please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information.


Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Burundi at present, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Burundian Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Burundi's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Burundian law, even unknowingly, may be deported, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Burundi are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.


Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.


Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Burundi are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Burundi. The U.S. Embassy is located on the Avenue des Etats-Unis, mailing address B.P. 34, 1720 Bujumbura, Burundi. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached at tel. (257) 22-34-54; or fax (257) 22-29-26.

Travel Warning
August 12, 2003


This Travel Warning is being issued to inform American citizens that the Department of State has lifted the ordered departure status of non-emergency employees at the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. However, the Department continues to alert U.S. citizens to ongoing safety and security concerns in Burundi and the surrounding Great Lakes Region. This supersedes the Travel Warning of July 13, 2003.


Although non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura are now permitted to return to Burundi, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. The Department urges private American citizens in Burundi to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times.


Burundi has been plagued by civil war since 1993. As the result of a peace process undertaken by many of Burundi's political parties, a three-year transition government was installed on November 1, 2001. Two rebel factions continue combat operations, one concentrated around Bujumbura and the other in several areas of the country. Fighting between rebel forces and government troops can be in tense, and often involves non-government, noncombatant targets.


Rebels have launched rocket and mortar attacks on Bujumbura and other major cities. Gunfire in and around the capital has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. Vehicles on the nation's major roads have been attacked regularly. The Embassy assesses that further attacks are possible.

The U.S. Embassy in Burundi operates with a limited staff and restricts the travel of U.S. Government personnel within the capital, while travel outside the capital is limited to travel by air only. Family members are prohibited from accompanying U.S. Government employees assigned to Burundi, and personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed. U.S. Government personnel are strictly prohibited from flying to, from, or within Burundi during the hours of darkness.


The Government of Burundi maintains a curfew for Bujumbura, as does the U.S. Embassy. Curfew hours may be adjusted from time to time due to changing security conditions. Please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information.


U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning should establish and maintain contact with the U.S. Embassy. American citizens needing up dated travel and security information should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at Avenue Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 223-454, fax (257) 222-926.


For further information on travel abroad, please consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information publications, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, which are available at http://travel.state.gov.

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BURUNDI

Republic of Burundi

République du Burundi

Republika yu Burundi

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Burundi is a landlocked state in Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, south of Rwanda, and west of Tanzania. It has an area of 27,830 square kilometers (10,745 square miles), slightly smaller than Maryland. Burundi's capital city, Bujumbura, is located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near the country's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

POPULATION.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimated Burundi's population at 6.97 million in 2000, growing at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 40.46 births per 1,000 population while the death rate was 16.44 deaths per 1,000. The population is expected to reach 10.37 million by 2015 and 16.94 million by 2050. In 1999, only 9 percent of Burundians lived in urban habitats, which was one of the lowest levels of urbanization in Africa. About 67 percent of Burundians are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics, while 23 percent hold some form of indigenous beliefs, and 10 percent are Muslims.

Approximately 99 percent of the citizens of Burundi are Rundi (or Barundi) and speak Kirundi. Kirundi and French are the country's official languages. Ethnic groups include the Hutu (85 percent), Tutsi (14 percent), and Twa (1 percent). Due to conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, and among different Tutsi groups, the country experienced mass emigration of refugees. Many people fled to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, hoping to avoid violence. The net emigration rate was estimated to be 7.43 emigrants per 1,000 people in 2000.

Burundi has a very young population with 47 percent aged 14 or younger and just 3 percent aged 65 or older. As the younger half of the population grows to maturity and reproduces, Burundi's already high population density of 260 per square kilometer (100 per square mile) is expected to reach dangerous levels. However, the terrifying death toll of the AIDS epidemic may retard such population growth.

It is estimated that 39,000 Burundians died from AIDS in 1999 and 30 percent of all 25-29 year olds were HIV positive. The national rate of HIV infection stood at 11.32 percent. The social and economic costs of the disease are high. For example, the drawn out nature of death from AIDS requires a large amount of care and attention. As a result many of the population (mostly women) who could be employed are instead providing long-term care for the dying. In addition, by 1999 the estimated number of orphans created due to AIDS in Burundi reached 230,000.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Agricultural production dominates Burundi's national economy. During the colonial period (1899-1962) the German and Belgian administrations forced Burundi's workers to produce goods like coffee and tea for export to Europe. This pattern of production continues, while the mining, manufacturing, and service sectors are less developed.

Violence and political conflict between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups plagued Burundi after its independence from Belgium in 1962. By the 1990s the instability caused by civil war, Burundi's landlocked status, its colonial legacy, a limited material base, and the general decline of investment in Africa throughout the 1990s led to an overall collapse of the economy. In 1986 the government agreed to a program of economic liberalization with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. However, a brief but brutal resumption of ethnic massacres in 1988, and the resumption of the conflict in 1993, halted this program of economic development.

While Burundi's gross domestic product enjoyed an average annual growth rate of 4.4 percent between 1980-1990, during 1990-1999 the annual growth rate declined by an average of 2.9 percent. Agricultural production fell by 2 percent, industrial production fell by 6.7 percent, and services production fell by 2.5 percent annually during the 1990s. The failing economy was aggravated by an economic embargo imposed by regional and Western powers in an attempt to encourage Burundi's politicians to make peace. This embargo and economic instability contributed to the national economy's balance of payments deficit of US$54 million in 1998 and US$27 million in 1999.

In 1980 Burundi's total external debt stood at US$166 million, but with a government surplus of 9.8 percent of gross domestic product (including external aid) the country was able to pay interest on its debt. By 1998 Burundi's total external debt was US$1.12 billion while the government had a deficit equal to 5.4 percent of the gross domestic product. Burundi's financing of debt as a percentage of exports rose from 20.4 percent in 1985 to 40 percent in 1998, draining the foreign capital generated from exports. Due to the national crisis, external donors were reluctant to lend money to Burundi, and external aid per capita fell from US$53.1 in 1992 to US$11.6 in 1998. The country continues to rely on a decreasing level of foreign aid while it is unable to pay off debts. The inflation rate was recorded at 26 percent in 1999. At the dawn of the 21st century, Burundi was a country in deep economic crisis.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Burundi was ruled by a king (mwami) from the 1500s until colonization. European colonial powers Germany (1899-1916) and Belgium (1916-62) forced Burundians to cultivate crops for European consumption (such as coffee and tea), to act as porters and laborers, and to pay taxes. When Burundi achieved independence in 1962, Belgium still influenced its government and politics. When legislative elections were held in 1961, a Tutsi-dominated party which included Hutus, the Parti de l'Unité et du Progrés National du Burundi (UPRONA), won 80 percent of the votes. Prince Louis Rwagasore was appointed Prime Minister, but at the end of 1961 Rwagasore was assassinated in a plot by the Belgian-sponsored Hutu party, the Parti du Peuple (PDC).

Burundi's main political parties are the multiethnic Front pour la démocratie au Burundi (FRODEBU), UPRONA, and the militant Hutu party Parti de la libération du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU). The army is also of central importance in Burundi's politics, as are militia groups, which are often linked to political parties. After an extensive period of military rule, Melchior Ndadaye of FRODEBU won 1993 multiparty elections with 65 percent of the vote. However, after only a few months President Ndadaye was assassinated by the Tutsi-dominated military. This led to a series of large-scale massacres of both Hutu and Tutsi by various militias and the army.

In 1996 Major Pierre Buyoya became president after a military coup. In 1998 Buyoya ushered in a new constitution, which gave executive powers to an elected president and gave legislative power to the 812-member elected Assembly. He led the creation of a 10-year power sharing agreement in 2000, which brought together many of Burundi's political and military organizations. However, a full compromise remained elusive despite mediation and financial inducements by the European Union and the United States. Over 300,000 people, mainly civilians, were killed between 1993 and 2000. Hundreds of thousands more were displaced, and over 0.5 million Hutus were forcibly relocated by the army to live in camps.

The revenue collecting capabilities of the Burundian government are minimal. Tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product amounted to only 12.7 percent in 1999, falling from a 1990 level of 16.3 percent. The IMF estimates that in 1998, taxes on goods and services amounted to 43.2 percent of government revenue, tax on international trade was 28.6 percent, and taxes on income and profits constituted 22.6 percent. The most important individual source of revenue was taxes on the brewing industry, which provided around 40 percent of total government tax receipts. Petroleum provided around 8 percent of indirect taxes .

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Burundi's transport infrastructure is very limited. A crumbling network of 14,480 kilometers (8,998 miles) of roads, of which 1,028 kilometers (639 miles) are paved, is used by only 19,000 passenger cars and 12,300 commercial vehicles. In 2000 the World Bank encouraged a 50 percent reduction of tanker trucks bringing in fuel to Burundi to reduce the erosion of the country's roads. A 30 percent refined petrol and diesel price rise at the beginning of 2000 helped to create a fuel shortage. The majority of Burundi's trade is conducted across Lake Tanganyika with the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is no rail infrastructure. As Burundi is landlocked it relies on the sea ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya. Burundi has 1 international airport, which is located at Bujumbura, while another 3 airports exist but are unpaved. Only 12,000 people traveled by air in Burundi in 1998.

Burundi's power needs are partially supplied by the parastatal Regideso. It controls 4 small hydroelectric power stations that produced 127 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 1998. Burundi is also an importer of electricity which is drawn from hydroelectric plants in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of this power is consumed within Bujumbura. With only 17,000 telephone main lines, 343 mobile cellular phones in use by 1995, and no Internet hosts, Burundi's telecommunications system was underdeveloped.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Because Burundi is landlocked, its exports are costly. They also lose competitiveness due to the tariffs imposed on them from neighboring countries. The most important and largest sector in the economy is agriculture, both for the domestic supply of food and for the provision of

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Burundi 3 71 4 N/A 0 0.7 N/A 0.00 2
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Rwanda 0 102 0 N/A 1 0.1 N/A 0.00 5
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

foreign currency through the export of coffee and tea. However, Burundi's dependence on agricultural commodities is a weakness since coffee and tea production are subject to the constant fluctuation of the weather, and the change of prices on international markets. The agricultural sector provided 46 percent of Burundi's GDP in 1998 and employed 93 percent of its people. Comparatively, industry contributed 17 percent of GDP and employed 1.5 percent, while services contributed 37 percent and employed 1.5 percent. Four percent of the country's workers are employed by the government.

AGRICULTURE

Burundi's agricultural sector benefits from a mild climate due to high elevation of the land and regular rainfall. However, deforestation and poor farming methods have caused extensive soil erosion and depletion. It is estimated that there will be no more arable land left in Burundi by 2020, at current depletion rates. The agricultural sector provided 46 percent of GDP in 1998, and 93 percent of the labor force was employed in agricultural production. In the 10-year period from 1988-1997 Burundi produced an annual average of US$80 million of agricultural exports. The most important of these exports were cash crops such as coffee, tea, tobacco, and cotton.

The export of coffee accounts for around 80 percent of all export earnings. In 1992, 40,000 metric tons of Burundian coffee was sold abroad. However, due to the civil war and economic embargo, coffee exports dropped between 1993 and 1996 with an annual average export of only 18,500 tons. By 1997 the coffee sector recovered with 32,000 tons exported. Tea accounts for around 10 percent of all export earnings. Exports actually grew slightly during the civil war and economic embargo. Between 1988-1992 an annual average of 4,600 tons of dry green tea leaves were exported, yet between 1993-1997 an annual average of 5,400 tons was recorded. In 1999 the parastatal Office du Thé du Burundi raised the price of tea by 15 percent in order to encourage farmers to raise production for 2000. However, there was a price slump of both coffee and tea on international markets in 2000 and early 2001.

Burundi's major food crops consist of bananas, cassava, sorghum, rice, maize, and millet. Production of these crops was steady between 1989 and 1997 except for rice, which grew by more than 50 percent from 40,000 tons to 64,000 tons, and cassava, which grew from 569,000 tons to 610,000 tons. However, over the same 9-year period Burundi imported an average of US$16.4 million of food per year.

INDUSTRY

Industry is very limited in Burundi. The industrial sector accounted for 19 percent of GDP in 1990, but due to the instability caused by civil war this fell to 17 percent by 1998.

MINING.

Burundi has extensive mineral reserves. By 2001, gold, tungsten, and cassiterite (tin ore) were mined on a small scale. One gold reserve was estimated to contain 60 tons of gold ore. It is estimated that about 5 percent of world nickel reserves are on Burundian territory, and there are significant reserves of uranium, platinum, and vanadium. Due to political instability, the country's landlocked status, and its limited infrastructure, many of these highly profitable mineral deposits remain untouched.

MANUFACTURING.

Manufacturing is based in Bujumbara. Reaching a high of US$11 million of exports in 1992, manufacturing exports fell to US$1 million by 1997. Imports of manufactured goods heavily outweigh exports with US$55 million imported in 1992, falling to US$33 million in 1997.

A key manufacturing sector within Burundi's economy is the brewing of beer. In 1996, 40 percent of all government tax receipts were received from only 1 brewery, the Dutch-and government-owned company Brarudi. Due to rising inflation Brarudi lost money throughout 1998-1999. High inflation caused a rise in the price of raw material imports used to manufacture beer. Sales fell by 10 percent in 1999 due to the price increases that were passed on to consumers. Other products manufactured in the country include soft drinks, cigarettes, soap, glass, textiles, insecticides, cosmetics, cement, and some agricultural processing.

SERVICES

The service sector in Burundi is of minimal importance. Credit and banking services are limited and the retail sector is based on small trading and shops. Due to the instability caused by civil war the export of commercial services declined from US$7 million in 1990 to US$3 million in 1998.

TOURISM.

Although Burundi has a great deal to offer tourists, such as rare wildlife, beautiful green mountainous landscapes, national parks, and access to one of Africa's largest lakes (Lake Tanganyika), terrible massacres and roaming militia members act as a considerable deterrent to tourists. In 1992, before the outbreak of the political crisis, 86,000 tourists arrived in Burundi (the majority from Africa and Europe), by 1996 only 26,670 were recorded entering the country.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Burundi's balance of trade showed an average annual deficit of US$39.5 million between 1985-1999. In 1999 the deficit stood at US$52 million on exports of US$56 million and imports of US$108 million. To counter this deficit the government consistently resorted to borrowing in order to maintain its spending levels. This led to greater indebtedness and a rise in annual debt repayment levels. Imports and exports were partially reduced in 1996 due to an embargo imposed by regional countries and the European Union in an attempt to force a peace agreement. However, due to smuggling to and from Burundi this embargo was soon rendered ineffective. At the outset of 1999 civil conflict had lessened in intensity, yet shortages of sugar and fuel raised the population's discontent.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Burundi
Exports Imports
1975 .032 .062
1980 .065 .168
1985 .112 .189
1990 .075 .231
1995 .106 .234
1998 .065 .158
SOURCE : International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated Burundi's principal imports in 1997 as US$70.4 million of intermediate goods , US$63.1 million of capital goods , US$55.1 million of food, and US$31.2 million in energy. The main origins of these imports were neighboring Tanzania which supplied 14.8 percent of the total, Kenya (14 percent), the United States (11.1 percent), Belgium-Luxembourg (8.3 percent), and Germany (5.1 percent). The import of refined petroleum products represented around 15 percent of Burundi's total imports, and took between 20-30 percent of all national foreign exchange earnings.

In 1997, Burundi's most important exports were coffee, which sold US$45.2 million, tea (US$20.7 million), hides (US$4.6 million), and cassiterite (US$3.7 million). Burundi's main export partners for these goods were based in the European Union. Belgium and Luxembourg consumed 36.1 percent of all Burundi's exports, while Germany consumed 20.6 percent. Other destinations for Burundi's exports were the Netherlands, which imported 4.1 percent, the United Kingdom (2 percent), and the United States (1 percent).

MONEY

Due to a lack of confidence in Burundi's national economy since the 1993 conflict, the Burundi franc (BFr) consistently declined in value against the U.S. dollar. In 1995, BFr249.76 bought US$1, while in 2000 a dollar was

Exchange rates: Burundi
Burundi francs per US$1
Jan 2001 782.36
2000 720.67
1999 563.56
1998 477.77
1997 352.35
1996 302.75
SOURCE : CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

the equivalent of BFr720.67. The decline in value of the Burundi franc meant that the average citizen was paying more and more in order to obtain even the most essential products. This process of inflation led to a rise in the price of consumer goods by 31 percent in 1997 and 17 percent in 1998. This meant that, in constant Burundi francs, the price of sugar rose from BFr230 in 1996 to BFr350 in 1999, and the price of petrol per liter rocketed from BFr165 to BFr350. In sum, inflation contributed considerably to the rise of extreme poverty between 1993 and 2000.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

With an annual average GDP per capita of US$730 in 1999, Burundi was one of the poorest countries in the world with 60 percent of the population living in conditions of extreme poverty. The vast majority of Burundians were farmers on small plots of land used for subsistence agriculture or for the cultivation of cash crops such as coffee and tea. The poorest 40 percent of the country controlled only 20 percent of the wealth, whereas the richest 40 percent controlled 63.7 percent. The government spent only 0.6 percent of its gross domestic product on health but 5.8 percent on military expenditures. The majority of Burundian citizens struggled to supply themselves and their families with even the most basic

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Burundi 162 176 198 206 147
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Rwanda 233 321 312 292 227
SOURCE : United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Burundi
Lowest 10% 3.4
Lowest 20% 7.9
Second 20% 12.1
Third 20% 16.3
Fourth 20% 22.1
Highest 20% 41.6
Highest 10% 26.6
Survey year: 1992
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE : 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

health care, with only 6 doctors and 17 nurses per 100,000 people. The daily intake of calories for the average Burundian fell from 2,104 in 1970 to only 1,685 in 1997. Over the same period the daily supply of protein fell by 30.8 percent and the intake of fat by 26.7 percent.

WORKING CONDITIONS

In 1998, the minimum wage in Burundi for urban areas was US$0.37 a day and $0.24 a day for the rest of the country; this represents a considerable decline from the 1994 minimum wage of $0.63 and $0.42 respectively. Considering that inflation, nation-wide instability, and the economic embargo led to a dramatic price increase of consumer goods throughout the late 1990s, the decline of the minimum wage over the same period meant that Burundi's 4 million workers were having to pay more to survive with reduced means to do so. The very low level of organization and influence of trade unions and their division along ethnic and religious grounds meant that Burundi's workers lacked a sufficient mechanism to assert their rights against declining pay and poor working conditions.

The rate of illiteracy in Burundi gradually improved through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985 illiteracy amongst the population aged 15 and above was 68 percent. By 1997 this had been reduced to 55 percent, but this was still 13 percent below the African average. This level of illiteracy worsened due to the civil war, which helped to reduce the level of primary school enrollment from 73 percent in 1990 to 54.2 percent in 1998. In addition, it will be difficult for a government with such limited revenue to provide sufficient education and vocational training for the large number of Burundi's youth. This has significant implications for the country's economic development as the labor force remains generally unskilled. The problem of an unskilled workforce will be accentuated by the AIDS epidemic, which hits the mature working sector the hardest.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1500s. Kingdom of Burundi is formed.

1885. Burundi is allocated to Germany at the Berlin Congress of European colonial powers.

1899. Burundi becomes a full military district of the German Empire.

1916. Belgium occupies Burundi in World War I.

1961. Prince Louis Rwagasore is elected president, and is assassinated less than 5 months later.

1961. Burundi gains independence and the ethnic violence begins.

1972. Massacre by the army and militias claims 200,000 lives and 150,000 Hutu flee the country.

1986. Burundi adopts a program of economic liberalization as prescribed by the IMF and World Bank.

1993. Assassination of democratically elected President Melchoir Ndadaye leads to civil war.

1996. Major Pierre Buyoya becomes president in a military coup.

FUTURE TRENDS

Even though Nelson Mandela and many others have attempted to assist Burundi's peace process it remains unlikely that a long-term solution will be found to the highly complex and tragic conflict in Burundi. This is in part due to the exclusion of certain Hutu militias from talks and the involvement of the Burundian army and Hutu militia groups in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. External donors such as the IMF, World Bank, and European Union are eager to provide aid to the country if it is able to properly adapt free market reforms and end the conflict. In fact, it seems likely that these donors will accept any kind of reform as an excuse to provide much needed capital in this devastated country whose crisis has negative effects on the region as a whole. If a suitable peace agreement can be reached the national economy will enjoy significant growth due to the input of promised external aid, the reconstruction of the national infrastructure, and increased economic stability.

DEPENDENCIES

Burundi has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Africa Institute. Africa A-Z: Continental and Country Profiles. Pretoria, Republic of South Africa: Africa Institute of South Africa, 1998.

Amnesty International. Burundi: Protecting Human Rights: An Intrinsic Part of the Search for Peace. London: Amnesty International, January 2000.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). <http://www.comesa.int>. Accessed March 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Rwanda, Burundi. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.

Human Rights Watch. Burundi: Neglecting Justice in Making Peace. New York: HRW, Volume 12, Number 2(A), April 2000.

International Monetary Fund. Burundi: Statistical Annex, IMF Staff Country Report No.99/8. Washington DC: IMF, February 1999.

International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2000. Washington DC: IMF, 2000.

Jennings, C. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi and the Heart of Darkness. London: Victor Gollancz, 2000.

Lemarchand, R. Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide. NewYork: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1996.

Mazrui, A. M. "Ethnicity in Bondage: Is Its LiberationPremature?" in Ethnic Violence, Conflict Resolution, and Cultural Pluralism. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), 1995.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. <http://www.uneca.org>. Accessed March 2001.

United Nations, Statistical Yearbook, Forty-Third Issue, 1996. New York: United Nations, 1998.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed July 2001.

World Bank. World Development Report 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press 2000.

Liam Campling

CAPITAL:

Bujumbura.

MONETARY UNIT:

Burundi Franc (BFr). The largest Burundian note in circulation is BFr5,000 and the smallest is BFr10. There are also BFr20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 notes. The only coins in circulation are BFr1, 5, and 10.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Coffee, tea, cotton, cigarettes, soft drinks, and beer.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Cement, asphalt, petroleum, fertilizer, pesticides, textiles, and vehicles.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$885 million (purchasing power parity, 1998 est.). [Source: 2000 World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2000.]

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$56 million (1999 est.). Imports: US$108 million (1999 est.).

views updated

Burundi

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

Compiled from the July 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Burundi

PROFILE

Geography

Location: Central Africa. Bordering nations—Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.

Area: 27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Bujumbura (pop. 300,000). Other cities—Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

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, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Burundian(s).

Population: (July 2007 est.) 8,390,505.

Annual growth rate: (2007 est.) 3.593%.

Ethnic groups: (estimated) Hutu 85%; Tutsi 14%; Twa 1.0%.

Religions: (estimated) 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), English.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—84.05% male, 62.8% female. Literacy—51.6% of total adult population (2003 estimate).

Health: (2007 est.) Life expectancy—total population: 51.29 years; male: 50.48 years; female: 52.12 years. Infant mortality rate—61.93/1,000.

Government

Type: Republic. Democratically elected, post-transition government established August 26, 2005.

Independence: July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).

Constitution: A transitional constitution was adopted October 18, 2001. The parliament adopted a post-transition constitution on September 17, 2004, which was approved in a nation-wide referendum held February 28, 2005.

Government branches: Executive—President, First Vice President in charge of political and administrative affairs, Second Vice President in charge of social and economic affairs, 20-member Council of Ministers. Legislative—A 100-member directly elected National Assembly plus additional deputies appointed as necessary (currently 18 appointed) to ensure an ethnic and gender composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, 30% female, and 3 Batwa members. A 54-member Senate (3 seats reserved for former presidents; 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority; 2 Senators, one Hutu and one Tutsi, from each of the 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura appointed by an electoral college comprised of members of locally elected communal and provincial councils; 14 Senators appointed by the president according to the president's own criteria. Women must comprise 30% of the Senate.) Judicial—constitutional and subsidiary courts.

Political subdivisions: 17 provinces including Bujumbura, 117 communes.

Political parties: Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which CNDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Hutu), FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership), and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP

(the People's Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).

Suffrage: Universal adult.

Economy

GDP: (2006 est.) $776 million.

Real growth rate: (2006) 3.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2004) $96; ($700 using purchasing power parity, 2006 est.).

Inflation rate: (2006) 11%.

Budget: (2006 est.) Revenues—$239.9 million; expenditures—$297 million, including capital expenditures.

Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone.

Agriculture: (2006 est., 44.9% of GDP) Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides. Arable land—35.57% (2005 est.).

Industry: (2006 est., 20.9% of GDP) Types—beverage production, coffee and tea processing, cigarette production, sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, light food processing, textiles, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, consumer goods, assembly of imported components, light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap.

Services: (2006 est.) 34.1% of GDP.

Mining: Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium, and other; peat mining.

Trade: (2006 est.) Exports—$55.68 million f.o.b.: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets—U.K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports—$207.3 million f.o.b.: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum products. Major suppliers—Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan.

Total external debt: (2004 est.) $1.4 billion.

PEOPLE

At 206.1 persons per sq. km., Burundi has the second-largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil. The population is made up of three major ethnic groups—Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language; French and Kiswahili also are widely spoken. Intermarriage takes place frequently between the Hutus and Tutsis. Although Hutus encompass the majority of the population, historically Tutsis have been politically and economically dominant.

HISTORY

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) that owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire—a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagas-ore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent governmental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup lead by Capt. Michel Micomb-ero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza's human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.

In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya overthrew Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform.

In 1991, Buyoya approved a constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a parliament. Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutu-dominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habya-rimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup

ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued.

In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buy-oya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. In October and November 2003 the Burundian Government and the former rebel group the CNDD-FDD signed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements, and in March 2004 members of the CNDD-FDD took offices in the government and parliament. The World Bank and other bilateral donors have provided financing for Burundi's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants.

National and regional mediation efforts failed to reach a compromise on post-transition power-sharing arrangements between the predominantly Hutu and Tutsi political parties, and in September 2004 over two-thirds of the parliament—despite a boycott by the Tutsi parties—approved a post-transition constitution. The Arusha Peace Agreement called for local and national elections to be held before the conclusion of the transitional period on October 31, 2004.

On October 20, 2004, however, a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted a previously approved draft constitution as an interim constitution that provides for an extension of transitional institutions until elections are held. On February 28, 2005, Burundians overwhelmingly approved a post-transitional constitution in a popular referendum, setting the stage for local and national elections. In April 2005, Burundi's transitional government was again extended and an electoral calendar was established at a regional summit held in Uganda.

In accordance with the new electoral calendar, the Burundian people voted in Commune Council direct elections on June 3, 2005 and National Assembly direct elections on July 4, 2005. An electoral college of commune and provincial councils indirectly elected Senate members on July 29, 2005. A joint session of the parliament elected Pierre Nkurunziza as President of Burundi on August 19, 2005 in a vote of 151 to 9 with one abstention, establishing the post-transition government. Finally, the Burundian people established Colline (hill) councils through direct elections on September 23, 2005.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Pierre NKURUNZIZA

First Vice Pres.: Yves SAHINGUVU, Dr.

Second Vice Pres.: Gabriel NTISEZERANA

Min. of Agriculture & Livestock: Ferdinand NDERAGAKURA

Min. of Civil Service, Labor, & Social Security: Clotilde NIRAGIRA

Min. of Environment, Territorial Development, & Public Works: Anatole KANYENKIKO

Min. of External Relations & Cooperation: Antoinette BATUMUBWIRA

Min. of Finance, Economy, Cooperation, & Development: Clotilde NIZIGAMA

Min. of Health: Emmanuel GIKORO, Dr.

Min. of Information, Communication, & Relations With Parliament & Govt. Spokesman: Hafsa MOSSI

Min. of Interior & Communal

Development: Venant KAMANA

Min. of Justice & Keeper of the Seals: Jean-Bosco NDIKUMANA

Min. of National Defense & War Veterans: Germain NIYOYANKANA, Lt. Gen.

Min. of National Education & Scientific Research: Saidi KIBEYA

Min. of National Solidarity, Repatriation, National Reconstruction, Human Rights, & Gender: Immaculee NAHAYO

Min. of Public Security: Alain Guillaumme BUNYONI

Min. of Regional Integration: Venerand BAKEVYUMUSAYA

Min. of Trade, Industry, & Tourism: Euphrasie BIGIRIMANA

Min. of Transport, Posts, & Telecommunications: Philippe NJONI

Min. of Water, Energy, & Mines: Samuel NDAYIRAGIJE

Min. of Youth, Sports & Culture: Jean-Jacques NYENIMIGABO

Min. in the Office of the Pres. in Charge of AIDS: Bonhima BARNABE, Dr.

Min. in the Office of the Pres. in Charge of Good Governance, Privatization, & General Inspection of the State & Local Admin.: Martin NIVYABANDI

Governor, Central Bank: Jean Isaac BIZIMANA

Ambassador to the US: Celestin NIYONGABO

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Joseph NTAKIRUTIMANA

Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).

ECONOMY

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 44.9% of GDP in 2006. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor 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.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for some 50% of exports in 2003. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi's vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. Although the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, plans for the privatization of this sector have stalled. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have likewise stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. Coffee production, after a severe drop in 2003, returned to normal levels in 2004. Revenues from coffee production and exports are likewise estimated to return to pre-2003 levels.

Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.4 billion in 2004. IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of violence in 1993; the IMF re-engaged Burundi in 2002 and 2003 with post-conflict credits, and in 2004 approved a $104 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility loan. The World Bank is preparing a Transition Support Strategy, and has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Both the IMF and the World Bank are assisting the Burundians to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Serious economic problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction. Based on Burundi's successful transition from war to peace and the establishment of a democratically elected government in Burundi in September 2005, the United States Government lifted all sanctions on assistance to Burundi on October 18, 2005. Burundi also became eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in December 2005.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Burundi's relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. Hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled to neighboring countries during the civil war. Most of them, more than 750,000 since 1993, are in Tanzania. Burundi maintains close relations with all neighbors in the Great Lakes region, including Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the African Union, the African Development Bank, COMESA, the free-tariff zone of eastern and southern Africa, and the East Africa Community (EAC).

U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

U.S. Government goals in Burundi are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based upon democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, ongoing democratic reforms, political openness, respect for human rights, and economic development in Burundi. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent.

The United States supported the Arusha peace process, providing financial support through our assessed contributions to a UN peacekeeping force established in 2004.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

BUJUMBURA (E) Avenue des Etats-Unis, 257-22-22 34 54, Fax 257-22-22 29 26, INMARSAT Tel iridium: 8816-3148-8141/7138, Workweek: 5 days–Mon–Thu 7:30-5:30–Fri–7:30–12:30, Website: http://bujumbura.usembassy.gov.

AMB OMS:Marita J. Lawson
DCM/CHG:Joanne Wagner
ECO:Lewis Carroll
HRO:George Lawson
MGT:George Lawson
PO/CON:Matthew Garrett
POL ECO:Lewis Carroll
AMB:Patricia Moller
CON:Matthew Garrett
DCM:Joanne Wagner
PAO PO:Caren Brown
GSO:Lynn Whiteheart
RSO:Chris Bakken
AID:Jim Anderson (Aid/Ea)
CLO:None At Post
DAO:Marga Suwarno
EEO:Erik Olerud
FIN:George Lawson
FMO:George Lawson
ICASS:Chair Lewis Carroll
IMO:Eley Johnston
ISSO:Erik Olerud
POL:Caren Brown

State ICASS: George Lawson

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 18, 2007

Country Description: Burundi is a small, inland African nation that entered a period of instability following the assassination of its first democratically elected president in 1993. Relatively peaceful democratic elections were held in 2005. While the potential for future violent incidents remains, Burundi has been in a state of relative calm since July 2006. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited.

Entry Requirements: A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian embassy are eligible for a visa upon arrival at the airport. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at tele-phone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006. Visit the Embassy of Burundi's web site at www.burundiembassy-usa.org/ for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: The Department of State continues to caution U.S. citizens traveling to Burundi. Burundi was plagued by a civil war from 1993-2006 that often involved non-government, non-combatant targets. In April 2006, the Burundian government lifted the curfew within Bujumbura that had been in effect for decades. In September 2006, the government and the last remaining hold-out rebel group from the peace process, the PALIPEHUTU—FNL, signed a cease-fire agreement. While many of the cease-fire provisions have not been implemented and the rebels still retain the capability to conduct indirect fire attacks on the capital, Bujumbura has remained free of attacks since July 2006. Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city. Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and carjackings. Armed criminals often ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. Due to insufficient resources, local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance in case of need.

Crime: Crime poses a high risk for visitors throughout Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Street crimes include mugging, purse-snatching, pick pocketing, burglary, automobile break-ins and carjacking. Many criminal incidents involve armed attackers. U.S. Government personnel are restricted from walking on the streets during the hours of darkness and using local public transportation. Criminals in Bujumbura operate in pairs or in small groups involving six or more individuals. Foreigners, whether in vehicles or at home, are always a potential target of crime. Americans should exercise common sense judgment and take the same precautions as one would in any major city.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and provide a list of local attorneys if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: There are no medical facilities with Western standards of care in Burundi. Travelers should carry an ample supply of properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them, as certain medications and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable. Hospital care should only be utilized in only the most serious cases.

Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel to all parts of Burundi. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. The embassy does not provide medical evacuation coverage to American citizens.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While travel by road is generally safe during the day, travelers must maintain constant vigilance. There have been regular reports of attacks on vehicles throughout the country. U.S. Government personnel are required to travel upcountry via two-vehicle convoy and have their trips pre-approved by the Regional Security Officer. The Embassy recommends that Americans not travel on the national highways from dusk to dawn. Drivers without drivers’ licenses, and the ease with which a driver's license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less than careful, considerate, or predictable.

There are no traffic signals in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights or shoulders make driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous. Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital, Bujumbura. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.

Big holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in and around the capital; when driving in the countryside, it is recommended that travelers carry multiple spare tires. Service stations are rare outside of major cities. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.

Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $10 U.S.) and your driver's license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not consider drunk driving a crime.

In the city of Bujumbura, the number for police assistance is 22-22-37-77; there is no comparable number outside the capital. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station. In most cases, other drivers will assist you. Ambulance assistance is non-existent.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Burundi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Burundi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: There are no ATMs located in the country and most Burundian hotels and businesses do not accept credit cards. Many hotels in Bujumbura accept payment in U.S. dollars or Euros only from non-Burundians. Travelers should be aware that Burundian banking practices prohibit acceptance of U. S. currency printed before the year 2003.

The Embassy recommends that visitors do not photograph airports, military installations, or other government buildings, and obtain permission from an individual before taking his/her photograph.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Burundian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Burundi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans who travel to, or remain in, Burundi are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura for information on the Embassy's current security policies, including areas that are off-limits to U.S. Government personnel for security reasons, and to register at the State Department's travel registration web site. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 22-22-34-54, fax (257) 22-22-29-26. Updated information on travel and security in Burundi is available at 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, and for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, consult the Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. The Embassy's Internet web site is http://bujumbura.usembassy.gov

Travel Warning

December 10, 2007

This Travel Warning is being reissued to provide updated security information on the situation in Burundi and to remind Americans of precautions to take while traveling in Burundi. Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006. In December 2007, all dependents were authorized to return. This supersedes the Travel Warning of August 9, 2007.

The Department of State continues to caution U.S. citizens traveling to Burundi. Burundi was plagued by a civil war from 1993 to 2006 that often involved non-government, non-combatant targets. In September 2006, the government and the last remaining hold-out rebel group from the peace process, the PALIPEHUTU-FNL, signed a cease-fire agreement. While many of the cease-fire provisions have not been implemented and the rebels still retain the capability to conduct indirect fire attacks on the capital, Bujumbura has remained free of attacks since July 2006. Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city.

Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, robberies, and carjackings. Visitors should be careful when stopped in heavy traffic due to the threat of robbery by roving bands of criminals. The U.S. Embassy has received reports of armed criminals ambushing vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. U.S. Government personnel are restricted from walking on the streets during hours of darkness, and prohibited from using local public transportation. Due to insufficient resources, local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance in case of need.

Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006, and all dependents, including minors, were authorized to return in December 2007. Nonetheless, Embassy employees are still subject to certain travel restrictions. Certain areas of the capital of Bujumbura are off-limits to Embassy personnel. In addition, the Embassy's Regional Security Officer must pre-approve all travel outside the capital by U.S. Embassy personnel, and employees must travel in two-vehicle convoys. The Embassy recommends that Americans not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn.

Americans who travel to, or remain in, Burundi despite this travel warning are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura for information on the latest Embassy security guidelines, and to register at the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 22-22-34-54, fax (257) 22-22-29-26. For further information, consult the Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov. Updated information on travel and security in Burundi is available at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, and for callers in other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

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Burundi

Culture Name

Burundian

Orientation

Identification. Burundi has to two distinct ethnic groups: the Hutu and the Tutsi. While these cultures have coexisted in the area for centuries and now share a common language and many common cultural elements, they remain separate in terms of group identification.

Location and Geography. Burundi is a small landlocked country in east central Africa, bordering Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its total area is 10,750 square miles (27,830 square kilometers). The country is situated on a high plateau, with the altitude ranging from 2,532 feet (772 meters) at Lake Tanganyika in the east, to 8,760 feet (2,670 meters) at the highest point, Mount Heha. The country lies along the East African rift and experiences occasional tremors and earthquakes. Forty-four percent of the land is arable, but only 9 percent is planted with permanent crops. One-third of the country is used as pastureland. The most fertile areas are in the highlands, where temperatures are moderate and rainfall averages sixty inches (152 centimeters) a year. The mountain slopes are dense with trees. The plateau is also wooded, particularly at the higher altitudes. The wildlife includes elephants, hippopotamus, crocodiles, buffalo, warthogs, baboons, and antelopes. These animals are being threatened as development encroaches on their natural habitat, and the country has not established national park areas or sanctuaries where species are protected. Laws against poaching are not strictly enforced. The country also is experiencing deforestation and soil erosion because of overgrazing and the spread of farming.

Demography. The population was estimated at 6,054,714 in 2000, with one of the highest population densities in Africa. Through much of the country's history, the majority (around 85 percent) of the people have been Hutu. The Tutsi, the largest minority, traditionally have accounted for about 14 percent of the population. One percent of the people are Twa. The ethnic balance has begun to shift as Hutu from Burundi have fled to neighboring Rwanda to escape ethnic persecution and Tutsi have escaped violence in Rwanda and settled in Burundi. The Tutsi now make up closer to 20 percent of the population. There is a small population of three thousand Europeans and two thousand South Asians; most of these immigrants live in the capital, Bujumbura, and are involved in church-related activities.

Linguistic Affiliation. Both the Hutu and the Tutsi speak Kirundi, a Bantu language. The Twa also speak Kirundi, although theirs is a slightly different dialect. Along with French, Kirundi is the official language. Swahili, a mixture of Arabic and Bantu languages that is the language of trade and business in much of East Africa, also is spoken, mostly in the region of Lake Tanganyika and in the capital city. English is taught in some schools.

Symbolism. The Tutsi are historically a herding society, and the cow therefore holds a great deal of symbolic power in the national culture. This is reflected in the language: a typical Kirundi greeting, Amashyo, translates as "May you have herds of cattle." The language is full of references in which cattle stand for health, happiness, and prosperity.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The original inhabitants of present-day Burundi are thought to be the Twa people, descendants of the pygmies. The Hutu arrived from the west in a gradual migration between the seventh and the eleventh centuries. They outnumbered the Twa and put their own regional kings, called bahinza, in place. Most of the Twa retreated farther into the forested highlands. The Tutsi began to appear in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, migrating from the Nile region in present-day Sudan and Ethiopia south and west in search of new cattle pastures. The Tutsi are tall, martial people, and while they never accounted for more than their current 15 percent of the population, they established economic and political control of the region, effectively subduing the Twa and the Hutu majority. From the seventeenth through the nineteen centuries, the kingdom continued to expand, eventually encompassing parts of present-day Rwanda and Tanzania. However, rule was decentralized, following a system similar to that of feudal lords, and internal conflicts led to a situation in which the king controlled only half the land that was nominally part of his domain by 1900.

In 1885, Germany declared present-day Burundi and Rwanda part of its sphere of influence, forming a territory it called German East Africa; however, Germans did not begin to settle in the area until 1906. They made a deal with the Tutsi king, guaranteeing him protection from his enemies in exchange for following German commands, thus making the king a puppet. The European conflict of the World War I spread to the African continent, and in 1916 Belgium sent 1,400 troops to Burundi. They wrested control of the land from the Germans with little opposition. In 1923, Burundi and Rwanda were officially declared a Belgian mandate by the League of Nations. The territory was known as Ruanda-Urundi.

After the World War II, the mandate was superseded by a United Nations trusteeship. Throughout colonial times, internal strife continued to build. When independence was declared in 1962, the area reverted to Tutsi rule. In the first elections, which were overseen by the Belgians, the Tutsi-led Union for National Progress and Unity (UPONA) won a majority in the National Assembly. The first prime minister, Louis Rwagasore, from the UPONA party, was assassinated a few weeks after the election and was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Andre Muhirwa. Because Burundi and Rwanda were populated by the same ethnic groups and spoke the same language, the United Nations thought that they should remain one nation, but the two wanted independence separately, and the United Nations acquiesced. Rwanda, unlike Burundi, was controlled by the Hutu, and before European rule, the two had never constituted a single political entity.

Anti-Tutsi sentiment began to intensify among the Hutu in Burundi. In a 1964 election, a Hutu won the popular vote but the Tutsi refused to accept a Hutu prime minister. In 1965, a Hutu rebellion was put down violently. A coup in 1966 replaced the monarchy with a military government and put Michel Micombero in power. Micombero's party, UPONA, was declared the only legal political party, and Micombero consolidated his power by declaring himself both president and prime minister. The coup resulted in further Hutu deaths. A civil war that began in 1971 caused some Tutsi deaths in addition to the Hutu toll of 100,000 to 150,000 dead and 100,000 displaced or homeless.

Another coup in 1976 left the country with a one-party government and elected the coup's leader, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, as president. Bagaza declared the goal of eliminating corruption in the government; however, in the subsequent election in 1982, he was the only candidate. Bagaza's regime harbored suspicion toward Catholics, who were considered dangerously sympathetic to the Hutu. In 1986, the government seized control of the seminaries, banned Catholic prayer meetings, and arrested and jailed several priests. These policies were largely unpopular, however, and Bagaza began to soften his stance.

The year 1987 saw the coup engineered by Major Pierre Buyoya. Buyoya suspended the constitution that had been in place since 1981 and installed a transitional government. In the following year, twenty thousand Hutu were killed in the ongoing ethnic conflict. As president, Buyoya attempted to make peace between the two groups, including representatives of both parties in the cabinet.

In 1992, a new constitution established a multi-party system, and in the following year, Melchior Ndadaye, the nation's first Hutu ruler, was elected president. Five months after assuming office, Ndadaye and several other Hutu leaders were assassinated in a failed coup attempt. A further outbreak of violence ensued, resulting in the deaths of 150,000 people (both Hutu and Tutsi) in two months and the emigration of an estimated eighty thousand.

The National Assembly named another Hutu, Cyprien Ntaryamira, to replace Ndadaye in 1994. Later that year, he and Juvenal Habyarimana, the president of Rwanda, died in a plane crash under suspicious circumstances. The next president, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, held office for two years, until a 1996 coup by the Tutsi installed Pierre Buyoya as president again. The president of Tanzania, who had led peace talks between the Hutu and the Tutsi, called for sanctions against the Buyoya regime, and the rest of the world responded by halting trade and international flights. Despite the crippling effect on the economy, no change was effected; the bloodshed that had begun in 1993 continued with little sign of abatement, and the peace process was put on hold. In 1999, the sanctions were lifted, and at the end of that year Nelson Mandela was appointed as moderator of the peace talks. However, no clear end to the fighting is in sight.

National Identity. The country's history of ethnic strife goes back centuries. Cultural identity stems from tribal affiliation rather than from any unifying national characteristic. The domination of the Hutu majority by the Tutsi minority has not resulted in a fusion but in extreme divisiveness in terms of national identity. Neither tribe is contained within the borders of current-day Burundi; the Hutu-Tutsi conflict also has affected neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, the latter of which was part of the same territory under colonial rule. Belgium's influence as a colonial power did little to unite the two tribes.

Ethnic Relations. Relations between the Hutu and the Tutsi are extremely antagonistic. While the two tribes share a good deal culturally, their mutual disdain is evident. The Hutu have a number of sayings reflecting the rapacious nature of the Tutsi, and the Tutsi, traditionally cattle herders, look down upon the farming tradition of the Hutu. Animosity and resentment have led to continued violence and political unrest. The violence and hatred extend beyond the borders of the country; Rwanda is engaged in similar ethnic warfare. Whereas in Burundi much of the violence is perpetrated on the Hutu by the Tutsi, in Rwanda the situation is reversed. However, the two nations are closely linked, and events in one often influence and precipitate events in the other. The small population of Twa in Burundi remain isolated from both groups, preferring to live in the forest as hunter-gatherers, although as their land has been lost, some have adopted different trades and have settled closer to the Hutu and the Tutsi.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The capital city, Bujumbura, is the populous and most industrialized city. It is located on the north shore of Lake Tanganyika, and its port is the country's largest. Cement, textiles, and soap are manufactured there, and it is home to one of the country's two coffee-processing facilities. Bujumbura, once known as Usumbura, was also the colonial capital, and many of its buildings reveal a European influence. The majority of foreigners in the country are concentrated in the capital, which gives the city a cosmopolitan feel. Large sections of the city, however, are almost entirely untouched by colonial influence. The second-largest city, Gitega, is east of Bujumbura on the Ruvuvu River. It was the old capital of the kingdom under Tutsi rule and has grown rapidly in the last several decades from a population of only five thousand in 1970. Gitega is in the fertile highlands and is surrounded by coffee, banana, and tea plantations. It has a coffee-processing plant and a brewery that manufactures beer from bananas.

These are the only two urban centers. Ninety-two percent of the population lives in a rural setting, mostly in family groupings too small to be called villages that are scattered throughout the highlands. A number of market towns draw inhabitants of surrounding rural zones to buy, sell, and trade agricultural products and handicrafts.

Burundians traditionally built their houses of grass and mud in a shape reminiscent of a beehive and wove leaves together for the roof. The traditional Tutsi hut, called a rugo, was surrounded by cattle corrals. Today the most common materials are mud and sticks, although wood and cement blocks also are used. The roofs are usually tin, since leaves are in short supply as a result of deforestation. Each house is surrounded by a courtyard, and several houses are grouped together inside a wall of mud and sticks.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. The most common foods are beans, corn, peas, millet, sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes, and bananas. The diet consists mainly of carbohydrates; vitamins and minerals are provided by fruits, vegetables, and combinations of grains, but little fat and protein are available. Meat accounts for 2 percent or less of the average food intake. As a result, kwashiorkor, a disease caused by protein deficiency, is common. Fish is consumed in the areas around Lake Tanganyika. Meal production is labor-intensive. The cassava root is washed, pounded, and strained, and sorghum is ground into flour for pancakes or porridge. The porridge is rolled into a ball with one hand and dipped in gravy or sauce.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Beer is an important part of social interactions and is consumed at all important occasions, such as the marriage negotiations between two families. It is drunk through straws. A number of food customs revolve around the treatment of cows, which are considered sacred. For example, milk cannot be heated or boiled or drunk on the same day that peas or peanuts are consumed. When a cow dies, the family eats its meat and then plants its horns in the soil near the house to bring good luck.

Basic Economy. Burundi has one of the lowest gross national products in the world. It is moving toward a free-enterprise economy, with a system that is partly state-run and partly private. There is a severe trade imbalance as the country imports twice as much as it exports. The entire economy has been severely altered by the ethnic warfare that has plagued the country since 1993, resulting in 250,000 deaths and the displacement of 800,000 people and leaving the country with limited supplies of food, medicine, and electricity. In 1990, before the violence began, 36 percent of the population lived below the poverty line; in rural areas, this number approached 85 percent. Ninety percent of the population supports itself through subsistence farming, growing cassava, corn, sweet potatoes, bananas, and sorghum. Four percent of the population is employed by the government, 1.5 percent by industry and commerce, and 1.5 percent in the service sector.

Land Tenure and Property. In the system imposed by the Tutsi in the fifteenth century, Hutu worked as serfs for Tutsi landholders. This system, which is called cattle clientage, meant that the Hutu cared for the land and the cattle but did not own it. In fact, they were in effect possessions of the Tutsi. This contract was called ubugabire. After independence, the Tutsi did not want to relinquish their land and managed to keep the ubugabire system in place until 1977. The legacy of this system remains, as much of the land is still owned by the Tutsi minority.

Commercial Activities. Farmers cultivate a large number of crops for domestic consumption, including bananas, dry beans, corn, sugarcane, and sorghum. They also raise goats, cattle, and sheep. These products are transported to local markets and to the capital. Bartering is still common, particularly the use of cattle as currency.

Major Industries. There is little industry and development is slow because of a lack of trained workers and little investment or aid from foreign countries. It is difficult to develop industry in a country in which most people cannot afford to purchase the goods industry would produce. Currently, the country is involved mainly in processing food (primarily coffee), brewing beer, and bottling soft drinks. There is some production of light consumer goods, including blankets, shoes, and soap. The country also engages in the assembly of imported components and public works construction.

Trade. Coffee, which was introduced to the area in 1930, is the main cash crop, accounting for 80 percent of foreign revenue. This leaves the economy vulnerable to variations in weather and to fluctuations in the international coffee market. To combat this problem, Burundi has been attempting to diversify its economy by increasing the production of other products, such as tea and cotton. Other exports include sugar and cattle hides. It exports mainly to the United Kingdom, Germany, Benelux nations, and Switzerland. Burundi receives goods from the Benelux nations, France, Zambia, Germany, Kenya, and Japan. The main imports are capital goods, petroleum products, and food. While the country produces some electricity from dams on the Mugere River, it receives the majority of its power from a hydroelectric station at Bukavu in the Congo and by importing oil from the Persian Gulf. Burundi had a large trade deficit in the 1980 and 1990s, but this was mostly alleviated by foreign aid from Belgium, France, and Germany.

Division of Labor. The Hutu have a long tradition of working the land. The Tutsi were originally cattle herders, although much of the labor of caring for their cattle was done by the Hutu. This class division is still evident, as most of the few prestigious jobs are held by the Tutsi, who dominate both the government and the military. A few Hutu have attained positions in business and government, but the majority are farmers.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Since the Tutsi came to power in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, they have occupied a higher social position than the Hutu. Agricultural Hutu were forced to become caretakers for the large Tutsi cattle herds. The ruling class was composed entirely of Tutsi. It was possible, although rare, for Hutu (or even occasionally Twa) to join the Tutsi class through acts of unusual bravery or honor, and Tutsi could fall into the Hutu class by committing a dishonorable act. The Tutsi still are represented disproportionately in the government and among the wealthy. This discrepancy has been exaggerated by Tutsi violence specifically targeting Hutu with professional jobs and training. Thus, the Hutu as a whole have been left even more disproportionately illiterate and poor.

Symbols of Social Stratification. The possession of a large number of cattle is traditionally the sign of a wealthy person. Even today, especially among rural people, cattle are a visible token of prosperity, and people are reluctant to slaughter them even when the sale of the meat could bring money to the family. Other traditional status symbols include the spear, which is carried on ceremonial occasions, and drums. The ultimate symbol of power traditionally was the drum of the mwami, or king. Being selected to play this drum was considered one of the highest achievements a young man could attain. Traditional attire consists of brightly colored wraps for women and white clothing for men. Today, especially in the cities and among the wealthier classes, Western-style clothes are common.

Political Life

Government. The constitution ratified in 1992 established a plural political system that was suspended after a military coup in 1996. In 1998, it was replaced by a transitional constitution that enlarged the National Assembly and created two vice presidents. The president, who is elected for a maximum of two five-year terms, is both chief of state and head of the government. The legislative branch is the unicameral National Assembly, which has 121 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Technically there is universal suffrage, but the current president came to power through a coup, at which point he suspended all elections for the National Assembly. The country is divided into fifteen provinces that are administered by governors appointed by the president. These regions are further subdivided into arrondissements, then into communes or townships.

Leadership and Political Officials. Political leaders are not trusted among the population. Instability and frequent changes in regime, as well as the disregard for the democratic process shown by many rulers, have led to a feeling of disenfranchisement and bitterness, especially among the Hutu. A number of elected Hutu leaders have been assassinated since independence. While it has been exacerbated in recent years, this sentiment of distrust dates back centuries to the long standing domination by the Tutsi in a nonrepresentative governmental system.

Social Problems and Control. The legal system is based on traditional tribal customs and the German and French models introduced by the Belgians. The highest level of legal recourse is the Supreme Court, under which there are several lower levels of courts. Crime rates are high in and around the capital. The most pressing social problem is the ongoing ethnic violence, which often is dealt with brutally by the police and military forces.

Military Activity. At independence, the country had a separate army and police force. The two were consolidated in 1967. Since that time a navy and an air force have been added. The armed forces include an army, an air force, a navy, and a paramilitary organization for police action and riot control. The army is dominated by the Tutsi, who have used it since independence to ensure their control of the government. Males are eligible for military service at sixteen.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The social welfare system provides health care only for people who are employed and earn a salary and therefore is largely ineffective in dealing with the country's health problems. Money is scarce, and the government has no effective mechanism in place for dealing with the many widespread problems that affect the country, ranging from unemployment, to illiteracy and lack of education, to AIDS.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

The United Nations has been a presence since the country gained independence in 1962, especially through the World Health Organization, which has provided money and training to combat smallpox, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, and AIDS. Catholic and Protestant churches have a long history of sending missionaries and aid workers to the region.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Women's primary duties are childbearing and child care. They are also responsible for household chores, including cleaning and food preparation. In rural regions, women also work in agriculture and do most of the work of planting, as their fertility is believed to be transferred to the seeds. Women are almost entirely unrepresented in business and at all levels of government.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women are respected, particularly for their power as life bearers. The role of the mother is highly honored, but in practice, women have little decision-making authority in the family or in society as a whole. Fatherhood is considered an important responsibility, and it is the man who is in charge of the family. Women's status is little higher than that of children, and like them, women are expected to defer to the wishes of any adult male.

Marriage, Family and Kinship

Marriage. Polygamy was practiced traditionally. Despite being forbidden by both civil law and the Christian churches, it still exists. Traditionally, it was the duty of the father to find a first wife for his son. It is still common practice for the parents of a young man to meet with his potential bride and her parents and discuss issues such as the bridewealth. This is the equivalent of a dowry, but it is given by the groom's family to the bride's. Traditionally, it consisted of cattle, goats, and hoes, but today it can include cash, clothing, and furniture. The bridewealth is delivered on the wedding day, when the bride leaves her parents (who do not attend the wedding ceremony) to participate in the festivities at the husband's home.

Domestic Unit. Each family generally has its own house, and these houses are grouped together in compounds that include the homes of extended family members. Upon marriage, a woman becomes part of her husband's family. In Tutsi tradition, wives and husbands live separately, but in Hutu practice, they share a house.

Inheritance. Inheritance passes from the male head of the family to his oldest son after the father's death. This is symbolized by the bequest of the ceremonial spear.

Kin Groups. Family ties are very powerful, and extended families live in close proximity as a clan. Particularly in the countryside, the extended family is the primary social unit, as kin groups live together in relative isolation from other groups. The Tutsi divide themselves into four ganwa (royal) clansthe Batare, Bezi, Bataga, and Bambutsu descendants of the four dynasties that once ruled the country.

Socialization

Infant Care. Birth usually occurs at home, assisted by midwives and other women. Six days after a baby is born, a ceremony called ujusohor is observed in which he or she is presented to the family. The mother receives a crown of flowers and gifts of beer and money. Children are named in the kuvamukiriri ceremony. The paternal grandfather bestows on the child a proper name, a clan name, and one or two nicknames. If the family is Christian, baptism occurs at the same time. This is not done until the child reaches the age of about one year, as infant mortality is high.

Children are breast-fed for as long as possible. At age two or three, they begin to be fed the typical national diet. Mothers generally tie their babies to their backs (or when they are older, perch them on their hips) and carry them everywhere.

Child Rearing and Education. Children are highly valued. They are viewed partly as insurance for the future, as one proverb suggests: "The greatest sorrow is to have no children to mourn for you." Traditionally, male Tutsi children are given extensive training in public speaking, storytelling, traditional dances, and military skills. In the agricultural Hutu culture, the work ethic is inculcated early; both boys and girls begin to be assigned chores at around the age of five. They also are schooled in proper behavior and in communal and family values. Those values include treating elders with supreme respect and responding promptly and willingly to their commands.

The overall literacy rate is 35 percent: 49 percent for men and 22 percent for women. Education is free and technically mandatory for children between the ages of seven and twelve, but only an estimated 50 percent of eligible children attend primary school; for secondary school, the figure is only 8 percent. The functioning of the schools has been hindered by political instability, a severe shortage of teachers, and a lack of supplies. Many families prefer to keep their children at home to work in the fields and care for younger siblings. School is taught in Kirundi in the lower grades and in French at the secondary level.

Higher Education. There is one university, located in Bujumbura, which was opened in 1960. There are two technical colleges in the capital that train people in crafts, mechanics, carpentry, and other skilled labor. Several institutions provide training in teaching and other professions.

Etiquette

Exchanges often include literal or figurative references to cattle. A typical greeting involves both parties wishing each other large herds. Handshakes are important, and the type varies by location. One version involves touching one's left hand to the other person's elbow. People stand close together in conversation and often continue holding hands for several minutes after shaking. Social gatherings, whether large or small, formal or informal, often include food and drink, especially beer. It is considered rude to turn down food or drink when it is offered.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Sixty-seven percent of the population is Christian (62 percent Roman Catholic and 5 percent Protestant); 23 percent of the people follow exclusively traditional beliefs, and the remaining 10 percent are Muslim. The first Roman Catholic mission was set up in 1898, and the Protestants arrived in 1926. In addition to converting a large percentage of the population, they established schools and hospitals. Although the majority of the people today profess to be Christian, many retain some animist beliefs and practices.

Traditional beliefs place a strong emphasis on fate as opposed to free will. Everything is in the hands of Imana, the source of all life and goodness. The traditional religion is a form of animism in which physical objects are believed to have spirits. There is great respect for dead ancestors. In the Hutu tradition, these spirits often visit with evil intent, whereas in Tutsi belief, the ancestors' influence is more benign. Cattle are invested with a special spiritual force. They are cared for according to specific customs dictated by the religion and are objects of prayer and worship.

Religious Practitioners. Diviners, or fortune-tellers, are believed to have a special connection with the spirit world and can be called upon as go-betweens. The Hutu sometimes use their services to appease the spirits of their ancestors. When Burundi was a Tutsi kingdom, the mwami, or king, played an important role in some religious ceremonies.

Rituals and Holy Places. Kubandwa is one of the most important religious festivals. It celebrates the grain harvest and pays homage to Kiranga, a spirit who is the leader of all the dead ancestors. At this ceremony, young men decorate their bodies and engage in traditional chants and dances; one of them dresses as Kiranga. At the end of the festival, people bathe in a stream in a cleansing ritual. Another central ritual is a fertility ceremony called umuganuro, in which a sacred drum is played and a virgin plants the first sorghum seeds to assure a good harvest.

Death and the Afterlife. Departed ancestors are considered an essential part of the culture. There are various practices and ceremonies to exalt and appease their spirits, which are seen as powerful influences in the world of the living.

Medicine and Health Care

Burundi has extremely poor health conditions and few doctors to alleviate those problems. Malaria, influenza, diarrhea, and measles are common. Diseases are spread through poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water. While access to potable water has increased in the last decades, it is still low, particularly in rural areas. Epidemics of infectious diseases such as cholera are relatively rare, but when they occur, the death toll is high. The country has a high birthrate and a high infant mortality rate. As in much of Africa, AIDS is the major health problem today. As a result, life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world: forty-seven years for females and forty-five years for males. The AIDS epidemic has resulted in lower population growth and a low proportion of males to females.

Secular Celebrations

Independence Day is celebrated on 1 July.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The Center of Burundi Culture, founded in 1977, provides support for traditional art forms. Located in Bujumbura, it sponsors a "living museum" that honors the artistic aspects of people's daily lives as well as an open-air theater, a botanical garden, a music pavilion, and a crafts village. Gitega is home to a national museum that contains folk art, historical artifacts, and a library. That city also has an art school. Cultural programs have suffered as a result of poverty and political upheaval.

Literature. Because of widespread poverty and illiteracy written literature is virtually nonexistent. However, there is a strong oral tradition consisting of stories, legends, fables, poems, riddles, and songs. In this way, history and culture are passed from one generation to the next. Storytellers are highly respected, and it is part of their duty to train young people in the art. There are a number of epic poems about cattle. Storytelling is used as a way to report news, but subtlety and creative figures of speech are more valued than is strict accuracy.

Graphic Arts. While people value the artistic expression of craftsmen, all the items they produce are functional as well as decorative. Baskets traditionally are woven by Tutsi women with the help of their servants. They are made from papyrus root, bast fiber, and banana leaves and are decorated with mud dyes in elaborate patterns. The baskets serve a variety of purposes, from water canisters, to carrying containers for the head, to storage vessels for food and seasonings. Other handicrafts include leather goods and ironwork, both of which are often decorated with geometric patterns similar to those used in baskets. Blacksmiths fashion spears for warfare and hunting, which are handed down from father to son. The Twa are famous for pottery, a tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Performance Arts. Burundi has a unique and long-standing musical heritage. At family gatherings imvyino songs with a short refrain and a strong beat that often include improvised verses, are sung. The indirimbo song is a more subdued form that is performed by a single singer or a small group. Men sing kwishongora, a rhythmic song with shouts and trills, whereas the bilito, a sentimental musical expression, is generally a female form. "Whispered singing" is also typical of Burundian music. It is performed at a low pitch so that the accompaniment of the instruments can be heard more clearly. Songs are played on the inanga, an instrument while six to eight strings stretched over a hollow wooden bowl; the idono, a fiddle with one string; the ikihusehama, a clarinetlike woodwind; and the ikimbe, a linguaphone. Drums are important not only as musical instruments but as symbols of power and status. Several men play one drum at the same time and alternate playing solos.

Dance is an integral part of the culture. One form of Tutsi dance, performed by a group of highly trained men, has gained international attention. The troop Les Tambouinaires du Burundi has performed in New York and Berlin. The dancers dress in leopard fur and headdresses and enact an elaborate choreography of leaps. This form has its roots in the dances of the royal court in the time of the Tutsi kingdom.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Because of the extreme poverty and lack of education, facilities for the study of the social and physical sciences are virtually nonexistent. There is a run-down geology museum and a reptile park in the capital.

Bibliography

Bonvin, Jean. Social Attitudes and Agricultural Productivity in Central Africa, 1986.

Daniels, Morna, compiler. Burundi, 1992.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Rwanda, Burundi, 1999.

Eggers, Ellen K. Historical Dictionary of Burundi, 1997.

Jennings, Christian. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Heart of Darkness, 2000.

Lemarchand, René. Rwanda and Burundi, 1970.

Longman, Timothy. Proxy Targets: Civilians in the War in Burundi, 1998.

Melady, Thomas Patrick. Burundi: The Tragic Years, 1974.

Ndarubagiye, Léonce. Burundi: The Origins of the Hutu-Tutsi Conflict, 1996.

Webster, John B. The Political Development of Rwanda and Burundi, 1966.

Weinstein, Warren. Political Conflict and Ethnic Strategies: A Case Study of Burundi, 1976.

Wolbers, Marian F. Burundi, 1989.

Web Sites

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). State of Burundi's Children, 1995, http://www.HORN/burundi/UNICEF/burundi

U.S. State Dept. Central Intelligence Agency. Burundi, http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/by

Eleanor Stanford

views updated

Burundi

Compiled from the January 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Burundi

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Location: Central Africa. Bordering nations—Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.

Area: 27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital—Bujumbura (pop. 300,000). Other cities—Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

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, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Burundian(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 8,090,068.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 3.7%.

Ethnic groups: (estimated) Hutu 85%; Tutsi 14%; Twa 1.0%.

Religions: (estimated) 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), English.

Education: Years compulsory—6. Attendance—84.05% male, 62.8% female. Literacy—51.6% of total adult population (2003 estimate).

Health: (2006 est.) Life expectancy—total population: 50.81 years; male: 50.07 years; female: 51.58 years (2006 est.). Infant mortality rate—63.13/1,000.

Government

Type: Republic. Democratically elected, post-transition government established August 26, 2005.

Independence: July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).

Constitution: A transitional constitution was adopted October 18, 2001. The parliament adopted a post-transition constitution on September 17, 2004, which was approved in a nation-wide referendum held February 28, 2005.

Government branches: Executive—President, First Vice President in charge of political and administrative affairs, Second Vice President in charge of social and economic affairs, 20-member Council of Ministers. Legislative—A 100-member directly elected National Assembly plus additional deputies appointed as necessary (currently 18 appointed) to ensure an ethnic and gender composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, 30% female, and 3 Batwa members. A 54-member Senate (3 seats reserved for former presidents; 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority; 2 Senators, one Hutu and one Tutsi, from each of the 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura appointed by an electoral college comprised of members of locally elected communal and provincial councils; 14 Senators appointed by the president according to the president’s own criteria. Women must comprise 30% of the Senate.) Judicial—constitutional and subsidiary courts.

Political subdivisions: 17 provinces including Bujumbura, 117 communes.

Political parties: Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which CNDD (the National Council for the Defense: of Democracy, Hutu), FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership), and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP (the People’s Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).

Suffrage: Universal adult.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $730 million.

Real growth rate: (2005) 1.1%.

Per capita GDP: (2004) $96; ($700 using purchasing power parity; 2005 est.).

Inflation rate: (2005) 16%.

Budget: Revenues—$215.4 million; expenditures—$278 million, including capital expenditures (2005 est.).

Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone.

Agriculture: (2003, 47.4% of GDP) Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides. Arable land—44%.

Industry: (2003, 19.3% of GDP) Types—beverage production, coffee and tea processing, cigarette production, sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, light food processing, textiles, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, consumer goods, assembly of imported components, light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap.

Services: (2003) 33.3% of GDP.

Mining: Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium, and other; peat mining.

Trade: (2003 est.) Exports—$46.8 million: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets—U.K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports—$127.5 million: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum and products. Major suppliers—Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan.

Total external debt: (2003 est.) $1.2 billion.

PEOPLE

At 206.1 persons per sq. km., Burundi has the second-largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil. The population is made up of three major ethnic groups—Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language; French and Kiswahili also are widely spoken. Intermarriage takes place frequently between the Hutus and Tutsis. Although Hutus encompass the majority of the population, historically Tutsis have been politically and economically dominant.

HISTORY

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) that owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire—a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent governmental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup lead by Capt. Michel Micombero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza’s human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.

In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya overthrew Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform. In 1991, Buyoya approved a constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a parliament. Burundi’s first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutu-dominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere’s death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued. In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. In October and November 2003 the Burundian Government and the former rebel group the CNDD-FDD signed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements, and in March 2004 members of the CNDDFDD took offices in the government and parliament. The World Bank and other bilateral donors have provided financing for Burundi’s disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants.

National and regional mediation efforts failed to reach a compromise on post-transition power-sharing arrangements between the predominantly Hutu and Tutsi political parties, and in September 2004 over two-thirds of the parliament—despite a boycott by the Tutsi parties—approved a post-transition constitution. The Arusha Peace Agreement called for local and national elections to be held before the conclusion of the transitional period on October 31, 2004. On October 20, 2004, however, a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted a previously approved draft constitution as an interim constitution that provides for an extension of transitional institutions until elections are held. On February 28, 2005, Burundians overwhelmingly approved a post-transitional constitution in a popular referendum, setting the stage for local and national elections. In April 2005, Burundi’s transitional government was again extended and an electoral calendar was established at a regional summit held in Uganda.

In accordance with the new electoral calendar, the Burundian people voted in Commune Council direct elections on June 3, 2005 and National Assembly direct elections on July 4, 2005. An electoral college of commune and provincial councils indirectly elected Senate members on July 29, 2005. A joint session of the parliament elected Pierre Nkurunziza as President of Burundi on August 19, 2005 in a vote of 151 to 9 with one abstention, establishing the post-transition government. Finally, the Burundian people established Colline (hill) councils through direct elections on September 23, 2005.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/24/2007

President: Pierre NKURUNZIZA

First Vice Pres.: Martin NDUWIMANA

Second Vice Pres.: Marina BARAMPAMA

Min. of Agriculture & Livestock: Jean de Dieu MUTABAZI

Min. of Commerce & Industry: Donatien NIJIMBERE

Min. of Energy & Mines: Herman TUYAGA

Min. of External Relations & Cooperation: Antoinette BATUMUBWIRA

Min. of Finance: Denise SINANKWA

Min. of Good Governance & General Inspection of the State & Local Administration: Venant KAMANA

Min. of Information, Communication, & Relations With Parliament & Government Spokesman: Ramadhan KARENGA

Min. of Interior & Public Security: Evariste NDAYISHIMYE, Brig.

Min. of Justice & Keeper of the Seals: Clotilde NIRAGIRA

Min. of National Defense & Former Fighters: Germain NIYOYANKANA, Maj. Gen.

Min. of National Education & Culture: Saidi KIWEA

Min. of National Solidarity, Human Rights, & Gender: Francoise NGENDAHAYO

Min. of Planning & National Reconstruction: Jean BIGIRIMANA

Min. of Public Health: Triphonie NKURUNZIZA, Dr.

Min. of Public Service & Social Security: Juvenal NGUGWANUGU

Min. of Public Works & Equipment: Potame NIZIGIRE

Min. of Territorial Development, Environment, & Tourism: Odette KAITESI

Min. of Transport, Posts, & Telecommunications: Marie Goreth NIZIGAMA

Min. of Youth & Sports: Jean-Jacques ENYENIMIGABO

Min. at the Presidency in Charge of AIDS: Bonhima BARNABE, Dr.

Governor, Central Bank: Gabriel NTISEZERANA

Ambassador to the US: Celestin NIYONGABO

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Joseph NTAKARUTIMANA

Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).

ECONOMY

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 47% of GDP in 2003. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor 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.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for some 50% of exports in 2003. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi’s vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. Although the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, plans for the privatization of this sector have stalled. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have likewise stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. Coffee production, after a severe drop in 2003, returned to normal levels in 2004. Revenues from coffee production and exports are likewise estimated to return to pre-2003 levels.

Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi’s distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.4 billion in 2004. IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of violence in 1993; the IMF re-engaged Burundi in 2002 and 2003 with post-conflict credits, and in 2004 approved a $104 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility loan. The World Bank is preparing a Transition Support Strategy, and has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Both the IMF and the World Bank are assisting the Burundians to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Serious economic problems include the state’s role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.

Based on Burundi’s successful transition from war to peace and the establishment of a democratically elected government in Burundi in September 2005, the United States Government lifted all sanctions on assistance to Burundi on October 18, 2005. Burundi also became eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in December 2005.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Burundi’s relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. Hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed into Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled to neighboring countries during the civil war. Most of them, more than 750,000 since 1993, are in Tanzania. Burundi maintains close relations with all neighbors in the Great Lakes region, including Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the African Union, the African Development Bank, COMESA, the free-tariff zone of eastern and southern Africa, and the East Africa Community (EAC).

U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

U.S. Government goals in Burundi are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based upon democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, ongoing democratic reforms, political openness, respect for human rights, and economic development in Burundi. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent. The United States supported the Arusha peace process, providing financial support through our assessed contributions to a UN peace-keeping force established in 2004.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BUJUMBURA (E) Address: Avenue des Etats-Unis; Phone: 257-22 34 54; Fax: 257-22 29 26; INMARSAT Tel: iridium: 8816-3148-8141/7138; Workweek: 5 days–Mon–Thu 7:30-5:30–Fri–7:30–12:30.

AMB:Patricia Moller
AMB OMS:Ardis Ward-Stott
DCM:Ann Breiter
DCM/CHG:Ann Breiter
POL/ECO:Lewis Carroll
CON:Lewis Carroll
MGT:George L. Lawson
AID:Robert Luneberg (REDSO)
CLO:Marita Lawson
DAO:Chris Brooks
ECO:Lewis Carroll
EEO:Erik Olerud
FIN:George L. Lawson
FMO:George L. Lawson
GSO:Lynn Whiteheart
ICASS Chair:Kerri Ardner
IMO:Eley Johnston
ISSO:Erik Olerud
RSO:Michael Jordan
State ICASS:Kerri Ardner

Last Updated: 10/3/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : December 21, 2006

Country Description: Burundi is a small, inland African nation that entered a period of instability following the assassination of its first democratically elected president in 1993. Relatively peaceful democratic elections were held in 2005. Nevertheless the potential for future violent incidents remains. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian embassy are eligible for a visa upon arrival at the airport. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at telephone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006.

Safety and Security: In September 2006, the government and the last remaining hold-out rebel group from the peace process, the PALIPEHUTU—FNL, signed a cease-fire agreement. Nevertheless, the rebels still retain the capability to conduct indirect fire attacks on the capital, Bujumbura. The last recorded attack took place in July 2006. Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city. Due to insufficient resources, local authorities are often unable to provide assistance in case of need. The U.S. Embassy lifted its curfew on U.S. Government personnel in April 2006, after the Burundian government lifted the curfew within Bujumbura, which had been in effect for decades. In August 2006, the U.S. Embassy lifted the ban on U.S. Government personnel flying into Bujumbura at night due to improved security at the airport and on the airport road.

For the most up-to-date information on areas declared off-limits for official U.S. government personnel for security reasons, please check with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura. Travelers should also check with the U.S. Embassy before traveling out of the capital. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Travel Warning for Nepal and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crime poses a high risk for visitors throughout Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Street crimes include mugging, purse-snatching, pick pocketing, burglary, automobile break-ins and carjacking. Many criminal incidents involve armed attackers. U.S. Government personnel are restricted from walking on the streets during the hours of darkness and using local public transportation. Criminals in Bujumbura operate in pairs or in small groups involving six or more individuals. Foreigners, whether in vehicles or at home, are always a potential target of crime. Americans should exercise common sense judgment and take the same precautions as one would in any major city.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities are limited in Burundi. Medicines and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable. Travelers should carry properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Drivers without drivers’ licenses, and the ease with which a driver’s license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less than careful, considerate, or predictable.

There are no traffic signals or signs in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights and shoulders make driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous. Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital, Bujumbura. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road. Big holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in and around the capital; when driving in the countryside, it is recommended that travelers carry multiple spare tires. Service stations are rare outside of major cities. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. While travel by road is generally safe during the day, travelers must maintain constant vigilance. There have been reports of attacks on vehicles throughout the country. U.S. Government personnel can travel upcountry via two-vehicle convoy. The Embassy recommends that Americans not travel on the national highways from dusk to dawn. Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $10 U.S.) and your driver’s license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not consider drunk driving a crime. In the city of Bujumbura, the number for police assistance is 22-37-77; there is no comparable number outside the capital. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station. In most cases, other drivers will assist you. Ambulance assistance is non-existent.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Burundi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Burundi’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: There are no ATMs located in the country and most Burundian hotels and businesses do not accept credit cards. Many hotels in Bujumbura accept payment in U.S. dollars only from non-Burundians. Travelers should be aware that Burundian banking practices prohibit acceptance of U. S. currency printed before the year 2003.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Burundian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Burundi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Burundi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Burundi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura, Burundi and can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54. The mailing address is B.P. 1720, Bujumbura, Burundi. The Consular Section of the Embassy can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54 or by fax at (257) 22-29-26. The Embassy’s Internet web site is http://bujumbura.usembassy.gov/.

Travel Warning : January 24, 2007

This Travel Warning is being reissued to provide updated information on the security situation and to remind Americans of the dangers of travel to Burundi. This supersedes the Travel Warning of June 23, 2006.

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. Burundi had been plagued by civil war since 1993 that often involved non-government, non-combatant targets. Gunfire in and around the capital resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. In September 2006, the government and the last remaining hold-out rebel group from the peace process, the PALIPEHUTU—FNL, signed a cease fire agreement. Nevertheless, many of the cease-fire provisions have not been implemented and the rebels still retain the capability to conduct indirect fire attacks on the capital, Bujumbura. The last recorded attack took place in July 2006. Rebels are still present throughout Bujumbura Rural, which surrounds the capital city. Due to insufficient resources, local authorities are often unable to provide assistance in case of need. Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits, poses a high risk for foreign visitors in Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and carjackings. Armed criminals often ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.

Adult dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel in Burundi were authorized to return to Burundi in June 2006. However, minor children of embassy personnel are still prohibited from accompanying the employee to Burundi. All travel outside the capital by U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer, and many areas of Bujumbura have travel restrictions for USG personnel. The U.S. Embassy lifted its curfew on U.S. Government personnel in April 2006, after the Burundian government lifted the curfew within Bujumbura that had been in effect for decades. In August 2006, the U.S. Embassy lifted the ban on U.S. Government personnel flying into Bujumbura at night due to improved security at the airport and on the airport road. Nevertheless, personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed with little notice.

Americans who travel to, or remain in, Burundi despite this Travel Warning are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura for information on areas that are off-limits to U.S. Government personnel for security reasons, and to register at the State Department’s travel registration web site, https://travelregistration.state.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 22-34-54, fax (257) 22-29-26. Updated information on travel and security in Burundi is available at 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, and for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, consult the Consular Information Sheet for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov.

views updated

BURUNDI

Compiled from the December 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Burundi


PROFILE

Geography

Location:

Central Africa. Bordering nations—Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.

Area:

27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities:

Capital—Bujumbura (pop. 300,000). Other cities—Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

Climate:

Warm but not uncomfortable in Bujumbura; cooler in higher regions.

Terrain:

Hilly, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Burundian(s).

Population (2004 est.):

6.8 million.

Annual growth rate (2004 est.):

2.2%.

Ethnic groups (estimated):

Hutu 85%; Tutsi 14%; Twa 1.0%.

Religions (estimated):

Roman Catholic 60%-65%; Protestant 10%-15%; traditional beliefs 15%-20%; Muslim 5%.

Language:

Official—Kirundi, French; other—Kiswahili, English.

Education:

Years compulsory—6. Attendance—84.05% male, 62.8% female. Literacy—37% adult.

Health (2004 est.):

Life expectancy—42.73 yrs. (men), 44 yrs. (women). Infant mortality rate—70.4/1,000.

Government

Type:

Republic; democratically elected, post-transition government established August 26, 2005.

Independence:

July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).

Constitution:

A transitional constitution was adopted October 18, 2001. The parliament adopted a post-transition constitution on September 17, 2004, which was approved in a nation-wide referendum held February 28, 2005.

Branches:

Executive—President, First Vice President in charge of political and administrative affairs, Second Vice President in charge of social and economic affairs, 20-mem-ber Council of Ministers. Legislative—A 100-member directly elected National Assembly plus additional deputies appointed as necessary (currently 18 appointed) to ensure an ethnic and gender composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, 30% female, and 3 Batwa members. A 54-member Senate (3 seats reserved for former presidents; 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority; 2 Senators, one Hutu and one Tutsi, from each of the 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura appointed by an electoral college comprised of members of locally elected communal and provincial councils; 14 Senators appointed by the president according to the president's own criteria. Women must comprise 30% of the Senate.) Judicial—constitutional and subsidiary courts.

Administrative subdivisions:

16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura, 117 communes.

Political parties:

Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which CNDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Hutu), FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership), and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP (the People's Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).

Suffrage:

Universal adult.

Economy

GDP (2003):

$595 million; (2004 est.) $668 million.

Real growth rate (2003): -0.5%; (2004 est.) 5.4%.

Per capita GDP (2003):

$87.3; (2004 est.) $96.

Inflation rate (2003):

10.7%; (2004 est.) 9.1%.

Central government budget:

Receipts—(2003) $135.2 million; (2004 est.) $138.9 million; spending—(2003) $169.4 million; (2004 est.) $212.9 million.

Natural resources:

Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum deposits not yet exploited, vanadium.

Agriculture (2003, 47.4% of GDP):

Products—coffee, tea, sugar, cotton fabrics and oil, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides, livestock feed, rice. Arable land—44%.

Industry (2003, 19.3% of GDP):

Types—beverage production, coffee and tea processing, cigarette production, sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, light food processing, textiles, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, consumer goods, assembly of imported components.

Services (2003):

33.3% of GDP.

Mining:

Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium, and other; peat mining.

Trade (2003 est.):

Exports—$46.8 million: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets—U.K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports—$127.5 million: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum and products. Major suppliers—Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan.

Total external debt (2003 est.):

$1.2 billion.


PEOPLE

At 206.1 persons per sq. km., Burundi has the second-largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil. The population is made up of three major ethnic groups—Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language; French and Kiswahili also are widely spoken. Intermarriage takes place frequently between the Hutus and Tutsis. Although Hutus encompass the majority of the population, historically Tutsis have been politically and economically dominant.


HISTORY

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) which owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire—a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent govern-mental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup lead by Capt. Michel Micombero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza's human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.

In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya over-threw Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform.

In 1991, Buyoya approved a constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a

parliament. Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutu-dominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued.

In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. In October and November 2003 the Burundian government and the former rebel group the CNDD-FDD signed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements, and in March 2004 members of the CNDD-FDD took offices in the government and parliament. The World Bank and other bilateral donors have provided financing for Burundi's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants.

National and regional mediation efforts failed to reach a compromise on post-transition power-sharing arrangements between the predominantly Hutu and Tutsi political parties, and in September 2004 over two-thirds of the parliament—despite a boycott by the Tutsi parties—approved a post-transition constitution. The Arusha Peace Agreement called for local and national elections to be held before the conclusion of the transitional period on October 31, 2004. On October 20, 2004, however, a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted a previously approved draft constitution as an interim constitution that provides for an extension of transitional institutions until elections are held. On February 28, 2005, Burundians overwhelmingly approved a post-transitional constitution in a popular referendum, setting the stage for local and national elections. In April 2005, Burundi's transitional government was again extended and an electoral calendar was established at a regional summit held in Uganda.

In accordance with the new electoral calendar, the Burundian people voted in Commune Council direct elections on June 3, 2005 and National Assembly direct elections on July 4, 2005. An electoral college of commune and provincial councils indirectly elected Senate members on July 29, 2005. A joint session of the parliament elected Pierre Nkurunziza as President of Burundi on August 19, 2005 in a vote of 151 to 9 with one abstention, establishing the post-transition government. Finally, the Burundian people established Colline (hill) councils through direct elections on September 23, 2005.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 9/6/2005

President: Pierre NKURUNZIZA
First Vice President: Martin NDUWIMANA
Second Vice President: Alice NZOMUKUNDA
Min. of Agriculture & Livestock: Eli VUZOYA
Min. of Commerce & Industry: Denise SINAGHWA
Min. of Energy & Mines: Herman TUYAGA
Min. of External Relations & Cooperation: Antoinette BATUMUBWIRA
Min. of Finance: Dieudonne NGOWEMBONA
Min. of Good Governance & General Inspection of the State & Local Administration: Joseph NTAKIRUTIMANA
Min. of Health: Bonhima BARNABE, Dr.
Min. of Information, Communication, Relations With Parliament, & Government Spokesman: Karenga RAMADHANI
Min. of Interior & Public Security: Salvator NTACOBAMAZE
Min. of Justice & Keeper of the Seals: Clotilde NIRAGIRA
Min. of National Defense & Former Fighters: Germain NIYOYANKANA, Maj. Gen.
Min. of National Education & Culture: Saidi KIWEA
Min. of National Solidarity, Human Rights, & Gender: Francoise NGENDAHAYO
Min. of Planning & National Reconstruction: Marie Goreth NIZIGAMA
Min. of Public Service & Social Security: Juvenal NGUGWANUGU
Min. of Public Works & Equipment: Potame NIZIGIRE
Min. of Territorial Development, Environment, & Tourism: Odette KAITESI
Min. of Transport, Posts, & Telecommunications: Jean BIGIRIMANA
Min. of Youth & Sports: Jean-Jacques ENYENIMIGABO
Min. at the Presidency in Charge of AIDS: Triophodie NKURUNZIZA, Dr.
Governor, Central Bank: Salvator TOYI
Ambassador to the US: Antoine NTAMOBWA
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Marc NTETURUYE

Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).


ECONOMY

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 47% of GDP in 2003. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor 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.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for some 50% of exports in 2003. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi's vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. Although the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, plans for the privatization of this sector have stalled. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have likewise stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. Coffee production, after a severe drop in 2003, returned to normal levels in 2004. Revenues from coffee production and exports are likewise estimated to return to pre-2003 levels.

Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point. The trade embargo, lifted in 1999, negatively impacted trade and industry.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.2 billion in 2003. A series of largely unsuccessful 5-year plans initiated in July 1986 in partnership with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempted to reform the foreign exchange system, liberalize imports, reduce restrictions on international transactions, diversify exports, and reform the coffee industry.

IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of the crisis in 1993; the IMF re-engaged Burundi in 2002 and 2003 with post-conflict credits, and in 2004 approved a $104 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility loan. The World Bank is preparing a Transition Support Strategy, and has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Both the IMF and the World Bank are assisting the Burundians to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Serious economic problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.

Burundi was not eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2003.

To protest the 1996 coup by President Buyoya, neighboring countries imposed an economic embargo on Burundi. Although the embargo was never officially ratified by the UN Security Council, most countries refrained from official trade with Burundi. Following the 1996 coup, the United States suspended all but humanitarian aid to Burundi. The regional embargo was lifted on January 23, 1999, based on progress by the government in advancing national reconciliation through the Burundi peace process.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Burundi's relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. Hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled to neighboring countries during the civil war. Most of them, more than 750,000 since 1993, are in Tanzania. The 1993 embargo placed on Burundi by regional states negatively impacted its diplomatic relations with its neighbors; relations have improved since the 1999 suspension of these sanctions.

Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the African Union, and the African Development Bank, and became a member of COMESA, the free-tariff zone of eastern and southern Africa, in 2004.


U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

U.S. Government goals in Burundi are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based upon democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, democratic change, respect for human rights, and economic development in Burundi. The United States supported the Arusha peace process, and has supported the regional efforts to mediate post-transition power-sharing negotiations between the Burundian political parties. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent.

The United States provided financial support for the peace process, including through our assessed contributions to a UN peacekeeping force established in 2004. U.S. bilateral aid, with the exception of humanitarian assistance, was ended following the 1996 coup.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BUJUMBURA (E) Address: Avenue des Etats-Unis; Phone: 257-22 34 54; Fax: 257-22 29 26; INMARSAT Tel: iridium: 8816-3148-8141/7138; Work-week: 5 days - Mon-Thu 7:30-5:30 Fri - 7:30-12:30

AMB:Patricia Moller
AMB OMS:Ardis Ward-Stott
DCM:Ann Breiter
DCM/CHG:Ann Breiter
POL:Christopher Leslie
POL/ECO:Robert Marks
CON:Robert Marks
MGT:Judes E. Stellingwerf
AFSA:Matt Blong
AID:Melissa Rosser (OTI); Denise Gordon (OFDA); Robert Luneberg (REDSO)
DAO:Mark (Duke) Ellington
ECO:Robert Marks
EEO:Judes E. Stellingwerf
FIN:Judes E. Stellingwerf
FMO:Judes E. Stellingwerf
GSO:Matthew Blong
ICASS Chair:Chris Leslie
IMO:Harold Griffin
IPO:Donald Snead
RSO:Michael Jordan
State ICASS:Chris Leslie
Last Updated: 12/10/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 15, 2004

Country Description:

Burundi is a small, inland African nation that entered a period of instability following the assassination of its first democratically elected president in 1993. The three-year transitional government established on November 1, 2001, has been extended to allow for democratic elections to be held in 2005. Fighting between the government and rebels occurs frequently. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian embassy are eligible for a visa upon arrival at the airport. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at telephone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Burundian embassy or consulate.

Safety and Security:

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. Americans in Burundi are urged to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times. Due to continuing hostilities between government and rebel forces, including danger on the road to and from Bujumbura's airport and the requirement to observe curfew hours, the U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness.

In light of continuing political tensions, all areas of Burundi are potentially unstable. Fighting between rebel forces and the Burundian military continues to be a problem in the interior and in the outskirts of the capital. Burundian rebels regularly attack vehicles on the roadways and in the outlying suburbs of Bujumbura. Major clashes between government forces and rebels occurred repeatedly just outside the capital. In July 2003, the U.S. Embassy temporarily evacuated non-emergency staff after sustained rebel attacks on Bujumbura. Rebels continue to operate in the province surrounding the capital, Bujumbura Rural, and have launched several rocket and mortar attacks on the city. Local authorities are unable to guarantee safety. The U.S. Embassy emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant and respecting any curfews in effect. A nationwide curfew is in place. For the most up-to-date curfew information and for information on areas declared off-limits for official U.S. government personnel for security reasons, please check with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura. Given the ongoing insecurity, travelers should also check with the U.S. Embassy before traveling out of the capital.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crime poses a high risk for visitors throughout Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Street crime includes muggings, purse-snatchings, pick-pocketings, burglaries, auto break-ins and carjackings. The roads leading out of Bujumbura are often the location for armed ambushes; these types of violent attacks occur frequently. Criminals in Bujumbura operate in pairs or in small groups involving six or more individuals. Foreigners are always a potential target of crime, whether in vehicles or at home. There is also the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a rebel shelling or during crossfire while armed groups combat each other.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities Other Health Information:

Medical facilities are limited in Burundi. Medicines and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable. Travelers should carry properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter driving conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning driving in Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Drivers without drivers' licenses, and the ease with which a driver's license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less than careful, considerate, or predictable.

There are no traffic signals or signs in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights and shoulders make driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous. Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital, Bujumbura. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.

Big holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in and around the capital; when driving in the countryside, it is recommended that travelers carry multiple spare tires. Service stations are rare outside of major cities. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.

Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, or shot at and stopped by rebels or bandits.

Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $10 U.S.) and your driver's license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not consider drunk driving a crime. In the city of Bujumbura, the number for police assistance is 22-37-77; there is no comparable number outside the capital. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station. In most cases, other drivers will assist you. Ambulance assistance is non-existent.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Burundi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Burundi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances:

As a result of an attack on a Sabena passenger flight at night and the danger of attack on the road to and from the airport at night because of the ongoing conflict between government and rebel forces in Burundi, the U.S. Embassy continues to restrict U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness or during the Embassy's curfew hours. The curfew changes from time to time due to changing security conditions; please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Burundi laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Burundi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Burundi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Burundi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura, Burundi and can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54. The mailing address is B.P. 1720, Bujumbura, Burundi. The Consular Section of the Embassy can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54 or by fax at (257) 22-29-26. The Embassy's internet web site is http://bujumbura.usembassy.gov/.

Travel Warning

October 19, 2005

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. A series of elections was held in Burundi between June and September 2005. Despite some isolated security incidents during the municipal elections in June, the polls generally passed peacefully. Although the security situation has stabilized in much of the country, the risk of sudden outbreaks of armed violence, acts of banditry or cross-border incursion by rebel groups remains. The Department urges private American citizens in Burundi to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times.

Burundi has been plagued by civil war since 1993. Though six rebel groups have signed cease-fire agreements with the government, one rebel faction continues combat operations, particularly in the province surrounding the capital, Bujumbura Rural. Fighting between rebel forces and government troops can be intense, and often involves non-government, non-combatant targets.

Rebels have launched rocket and mortar attacks on Bujumbura. Gunfire in and around the capital has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. Vehicles on the nation's major roads have been attacked regularly. The Embassy assesses that further attacks are possible.

Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits, also poses a high risk for foreign visitors in Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and carjackings. Armed criminals often ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.

The U.S. Embassy in Burundi operates with a limited staff and restricts the travel of U.S. Government personnel within the capital, while travel outside the capital is limited to travel by air only. Family members are prohibited from accompanying U.S. Government employees assigned to Burundi, and personnel assigned to Burundi on a temporary basis may have their visits cancelled or curtailed. U.S. Government personnel are prohibited from flying to, from, or within Burundi during the hours of darkness.

The Government of Burundi maintains a curfew for Bujumbura, as does the U.S. Embassy. Curfew hours may be adjusted from time to time due to changing security conditions. Please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information and for information on areas off-limits to U.S. government personnel for security reasons. U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to register through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov.

By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis, telephone (257) 22-34-54, fax (257) 22-29-26.

Updated information on travel and security in Burundi may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

For further information, please consult the Consular Information sheet for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

views updated

Burundi

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Burundians

35 Bibliography

Republic of Burundi

République du Burundi;Republika yu Burundi

CAPITAL: Bujumbura

FLAG: The national flag consists of a white circle in the center with arms extending to the four corners. The circle contains three red stars with green borders. Upper and lower fields formed by the circle and its arms are red; the fields on the sides are green.

ANTHEM: Burundi Bwacu (Our Burundi), beginning “Burundi bwacu, Burundi buhire” (“Our Burundi, O blessed land”).

MONETARY UNIT: The Burundi franc (BFR) is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, and 10 francs, and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 francs. BFr1 = $0.00088 (or $1 = BFr11,138) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 1 July; Assumption, 15 August; Victory of UPRONA, 18 September; 13 October; All Saints’ Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Burundi is a landlocked country in east-central Africa. It has an area of 27,830 square kilometers (10,745 square miles). About 7% of Burundi’s land area is made up of lakes. The area occupied by Burundi is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. The country shares borders with Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a total boundary length of 974 kilometers (605 miles). Burundi’s capital city, Bujumbura, is located in the western part of the country.

2 Topography

Burundi is composed mainly of mountains and plateaus. A western range of mountains runs north-south and continues into Rwanda. The highest point is Mount Heha at 2,670 meters (8,760 feet). From the mountains eastward, the land declines gradually, dropping to about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) toward the southeastern and southern border. The average elevation of the central plateau is about 1,525 to 2,000 meters (5,000 to 6,500 feet). The lowest point is at Lake Tanganyika, with an elevation of 772 meters (2,533 feet).

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 27,830 sq km (10,745 sq mi)

Size ranking: 142 of 194

Highest elevation: 2,670 meters (8,760 feet) at Mount Heha

Lowest elevation: 772 meters (2,533 feet) at Lake Tanganyika

Land Use*

Arable land: 36%

Permanent crops: 13%

Other: 51%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 83.8 centimeters (33.0 inches)

Average temperature in January: 23.1°c (73.6°f)

Average temperature in July: 22.1°c (71.8°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

The major rivers form natural boundaries for most of the country. The Kanyaru and the Kagera separate Burundi from Rwanda along many sections of the common border. The Kagera and the Ruvubu are important as the southernmost sources of the Nile. Most of Burundi’s southern border is formed by the Muragarasi River, which is the longest in the country with a length of 560 kilometers (348 miles). Lake Tanganyika is the country’s largest lake, with a total area of 33,020 square kilometers (12,700 square miles). Other principal lakes are Cohoha and Rweru.

3 Climate

Burundi in general has a tropical highland climate, with a wide daily temperature range in many areas. Temperature also varies considerably from one region to another, mostly as a result of differences in altitude. The central plateau enjoys pleasantly cool weather, with an average temperature of 20°c (68°f). The area around Lake Tanganyika is warmer, averaging 23°c (73°f). The highest mountain areas are cooler, averaging 16°c (60°f). Burundi receives an average of 83.8 centimeters (33 inches) of rainfall a year.

4 Plants and Animals

Most of the country is savanna grassland. There is little forest left. Burundi is one of the most eroded and deforested countries in all of Africa. Of the remaining trees, the most common are eucalyptus, acacia, fig, and oil palms along the lake shores.

Wildlife was abundant before the region became agricultural. Still found are the elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, wild boar, lion, antelope, and flying lemur, as well as such game birds as guinea fowl, partridge, duck, geese, quail, and snipe. Some 451 breeding bird species have been reported. The crowned crane is prevalent. As the region becomes more densely populated, some species are dwindling or disappearing.

In Lake Tanganyika there is a great variety of fish, including the Nile perch, freshwater sardines, and rare tropical specimens. Most of the 133 fish species in Lake Tanganyika are found nowhere else in the world.

5 Environment

There are no national parks in Burundi. Laws against hunting and poaching are not enforced. Wildlife survives only in those areas of the country not heavily cultivated. Rapid population growth is reducing the amount of uncultivated land. The cutting of forests for fuel is uncontrolled despite laws requiring permits. Only 5.7% of Burundi’s total land area is protected. Soil erosion due to deforestation, improper terracing, and overgrazing is also a serious problem. Burundi also has a problem with maintaining the purity of its water supply.

As of 2006, seven species of mammals were considered threatened. An example is the mountain gorilla, whose existence is endangered due to poaching and damage to its living environment from deforestation. Six species of birds in a total of 451 were similarly threatened. Two species of plants were threatened in 2006.

6 Population

One of the most densely populated countries in Africa, Burundi in 2005 had an estimated population of 7.8 million, for an average of about 284 persons per square kilometer (over 735 per square mile). A population of 13.9 million was projected for the year 2025. Bujumbura, the capital, had a population of about 378,000 in 2005. Other urban areas are small and serve mainly as commercial and administrative centers.

7 Migration

At the end of 1996, it was estimated that 500,000 Burundians were still displaced internally because of war and political unrest within the country and in neighboring countries. In 2003, there were 381,000 internally displaced persons living in Burundi. As of 2003, 48,805 people were registered as refugees. The net migration rate for 2005 was estimated at zero.

8 Ethnic Groups

The residents of Burundi are generally called Burundians. About 85% of the population is made up of the Hutu (also known as Bahutu) ethnic group, a Bantu people. Hutu are traditionally farmers. The Tutsi (also known as Watutsi, Watusi, and Batutsi), regarded as warriors, make up less than 14% of the population, but dominate the government and military.

9 Languages

The main language is Kirundi, a Bantu language. Kirundi and French are the official languages. Swahili is widely spoken along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area.

10 Religions

About 60% of the population are Roman Catholic, about 10% are Muslim, and 5% are Protestant. The remainder practice indigenous religions or have no religious affiliation.

Currently, the religious holidays that are officially observed are primarily Catholic. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution.

11 Transportation

Lack of adequate transportation has slowed Burundi’s development. The country is land-locked, and there are no railroads. Roads total 14,480 kilometers (8,998 miles). In 2003 there were 24,000 passenger cars and 23,500 commercial vehicles. Air service is maintained by Air Burundi, which operates domestic service and flies to Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC). International service is provided by Air Zaïre, Sabena, and other airlines.

12 History

The first known inhabitants of what is now Burundi were the Twa, a tribe of hunters. Between the seventh and tenth centuries, the Hutu, a Bantu agricultural people, occupied the region, probably coming from the Congo River basin. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Tutsi (believed to have come originally from Ethiopia) entered the area.

The Tutsi, a nomadic (wandering) people, gradually enslaved the Hutu and other inhabitants of the region. A social system of castes, or classes, the conquering Tutsi and the enslaved Hutu, developed. The Hutu did the farming and grew the food in return for cattle, but generally had no part in government. The Tutsi were the ruling caste and did no manual labor. The ownership of land was gradually transferred from the Hutu tribes to the king of the Tutsi, called the “mwami.”

Foreign Exploration In 1871, British explorers Henry Stanley and David Livingstone landed at Bujumbura and explored the Ruzizi River region. Later, other explorers, mostly German, visited Burundi. After the Berlin Conference of 1884–85, the German zone of influence in East Africa was extended to include Rwanda and Burundi.

The history of Burundi under German control was marked by constant struggles and rivalry, in contrast to the peaceful state of affairs in Rwanda. In 1923, the League of Nations gave Belgium control of the region known as Ruanda-Urundi (present-day Rwanda and Burundi). The Belgians adopted the same policy of indirect government employed by the Germans. In 1946, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations trust territory under Belgian control.

Burundi Independence On 1 July 1962, Burundi became an independent kingdom headed by Mwami (King) Mwambutsa IV. He was removed from office in July 1966 and was replaced in September by his heir, Mwami Ntare V. On 29 November 1966, Mwami Ntare V in turn was overthrown by a military takeover headed by Premier Michel Micombero. Burundi was declared a republic with Micombero as president. In 1969 and 1972, the Micombero government was threatened by Hutu-led takeover attempts, the second of which resulted in widespread civil war and 100,000 deaths. By the end of 1973, however, the government was fully in control.

On 1 November 1976, President Micombero was stripped of all powers by a military takeover led by Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. Bagaza was then named president. The new government, like the old one, was dominated by Tutsi. A new constitution was adopted in 1981, and a National Assembly was elected in 1982. Bagaza was reelected unopposed to a new five-year term in 1984. In September 1987, he was overthrown by the military while he was attending a conference in Canada. Major Pierre Buyoya became president.

Ethnic Violence Between 5,000 and 25,000 Hutu were massacred in an eruption of ethnic violence in 1988. Afterward, there was a call for reform of the political system. Major Buyoya agreed to the restoration of multiparty politics in 1991. A new constitution was approved in March 1992. In the elections of June 1993, Buyoya was defeated by Melchior Ndadaye. Ndadaye’s government included 9 Tutsis (one of whom was the prime minister) among the 23 ministers. However, on 21 October 1993, Burundi’s first elected president, also its first Hutu president, and several cabinet members were assassinated by Tutsi soldiers in an unsuccessful military take-over attempt. In the resulting violence, as many as 100,000 people may have been killed.

In February 1994, Ndadaye’s successor, Cyprien Ntaryamira, was inaugurated. His liberal

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Pierre Nkurunziza

Position: President of a republic

Took Office: 29 August 2005

Birthplace: Bujumbura, Burundi

Birthdate: 18 December 1963

Religion: Christian

Education: Studied education and sports at the University of Burundi

Spouse: Married

Children: Two sons

Of interest: First democratically elected president since the start of Burundi’s civil war in 1993

government was unable to restore order, however, and in an effort to negotiate peace, he went to Tanzania for meetings. He was returning to Burundi, along with Rwanda’s President Habyarimana, when his plane was shot down near Kigali, Rwanda’s airport. Two other members of his cabinet also died in the attack.

Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was elected president following the death of Ntaryamira. He was able to maintain relative calm, at least in comparison to neighboring Rwanda. In Rwanda, 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed in genocidal violence. However, Burundi did suffer significant social unrest and violence.

In 1996, Major Pierre Buyoya seized power in a coup. Violence continued and in September 1996, Archbishop Joachim Ruhuma was assassinated. Many of Burundi’s African neighbors cut their ties with the country, demanding a return to democratic rule.

Conflict erupted in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998. Burundian troops intervened in the conflict, to try to restore peace to the border region. The troops were soon brought back to Burundi, however. They were needed to fight rebels operating within the country and from across the Congolese border. The fighting went on for several years. The government and the main Hutu rebel group signed a cease-fire in December 2002.

On 30 April 2003, Pierre Buyoya stepped down under the terms of a peace accord, making way for a Hutu vice president, Domitien Ndayizeye. However, even though cease-fire agreements had been signed, fighting occurred on a daily basis.

On 28 February 2005, Burundians approved a constitution in a national referendum. Elections were then scheduled to take place throughout the summer of 2005. On 19 August 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza became the president.

13 Government

According to the 2005 constitution, the president can be elected to a maximum of two five-year terms. The permanent, post-transition government was established on 26 August 2005, consisting of a 100-seat directly elected National Assembly and a Senate. The assembly must be composed of at least 30% women and have an ethnic composition of 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, and 3 Batwa members. Additional seats are reserved for all former presidents. In 2005, the Senate had a total membership of 29 seats.

Burundi is divided into 17 provinces.

14 Political Parties

Until 1993, Burundi’s Party for Unity and National Progress (UPRONA) controlled the country. But in the 1993 elections, President Ndadaye’s party, the Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU) received 72% of the vote and 65 of parliament’s 81 seats. UPRONA won the remaining seats with 21% of the ballots cast. Other parties include the Burundi People’s Party, the Party for the Reconciliation of the People, and the People’s Party.

Newer, smaller parties have emerged in recent years, including the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Rally for Democracy and Economic and Social Development, and the Party for National Redress.

15 Judicial System

Traditionally, the judicial system has been based on German and French models. The coup in 1996, however, ended the 1992 constitution and replaced it with a transitional decree. As of 2005, the judicial system was divided into the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and three Courts of Appeal.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, Burundi had an army of about 50,500 soldiers. The troops included seven infantry battalions, one air defense battalion, and one artillery battalion. Paramilitary forces numbered 5,500. The defense budget in 2005 was $46.1 million.

17 Economy

Burundi’s economy is based on agriculture and livestock, with more than 90% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture. Bananas, plan-tains, sweet potatoes, and manioc are Burundi’s staple crops, followed by beans, taro, and maize. Coffee and tea are the main export crops. Cotton is emerging as an important export, although crops have been damaged by floods.

Since 1993, ethnic tensions and ongoing violence have severely disrupted the economy, bringing the government’s economic reforms to a halt. International sanctions in 1996 made the poor economic situation worse, causing further food shortages and high inflation. There was a 50% increase in the number of people falling

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

below the poverty line. Violence continued into 2004, as one million people fled their homes. More than 300,000 people since 1993 have been killed in Burundi’s civil war. Nearly 1 in 10 adults were infected with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) as of 2003, and medicines are in short supply.

18 Income

In 2005, Burundi’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $4.4 billion, or $700 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1.1% in 2005. In 2002, the inflation rate was 14%.

19 Industry

Industrial activities are mostly concentrated in Bujumbura and accounted for an estimated 20% of the gross domestic product in 2004. The industrial sector primarily transforms agricultural and forestry products (like cotton, coffee, tea, vegetable oil, and woods) into finished products. The future of industrial development was largely linked to the development of electric power and transportation, as well as improved commercial relations with neighboring countries.

Since 2001, the construction industry recovered somewhat, as new building projects were started in Bujumbura. Brarudi, a brewery, is the country’s largest and most reliable source of tax revenue. Brarudi beer is a popular beverage in the region.

20 Labor

The total labor force in 2002 was 3.0 million. Of the total labor force, 93.6% were engaged in agriculture, mostly on small farms. The average minimum wage is $0.15 per day, which is not enough income for a family to live on.

The labor code restricts child labor, but in 1999, 48% of children between ages 10 and 14 years reportedly worked. The minimum age for military service is 18, but there are many reports of child soldiers.

21 Agriculture

About 90% of the population depends on agriculture for a living. Most agriculture consists of subsistence farming, with only about 15% of the total production marketed. An estimated 35% of the total land area is arable, or suitable for farming. In 2004, agriculture accounted for 46% of the gross domestic product.

Agricultural production in 2004 included 1.6 million tons of bananas (mostly for wine),

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

710,000 tons of manioc, 834,000 tons of sweet potatoes, 220,000 tons of beans, 74,000 tons of sorghum, 123,000 tons of corn, 8,800 tons of peanuts, and 9,900 tons of yams.

The primary export crop is coffee, chiefly of the arabica variety. In 2004, coffee production was 20,100 tons. Coffee alone accounted for over 39% of exports in 2003. Other export crops are cotton and tea. In 2004, seed cotton production was 3,000 tons and cotton fiber production (after ginning) was about 1,300 tons. That year, tea production was 6,600 tons. Tea exports in 2004 represented 3% of total exports. Tobacco and wheat cultivated in the highland areas also yield some cash income.

22 Domesticated Animals

Livestock in 2004 included about 325,000 head of cattle, 750,000 goats, 230,000 sheep, 70,000 pigs, and 4.3 million chickens. Social prestige has traditionally been derived from ownership of cattle. In 2004, total milk production was estimated at 19,200 tons. Meat consumption is estimated at only 48 calories per person per day, only one-tenth of the world’s average. Production of meat in 2004 was 23,400 tons. The herds hinder economic development by cutting down the amount of land available for food growing and they destroy pastureland by overgrazing.

23 Fishing

There are three main methods of fishing in Lake Tanganyika: industrial, native, and traditional. Industrial fishing is carried out by small trawlers accompanied by several rowboats. Native fishing is in catamarans equipped with lights, nets, and engines. Traditional fishing is in pirogues (canoes made by hollowing out trees) equipped with lights and landing nets. In 2003, the total catch for native and traditional fishing was 14,897 tons.

24 Forestry

Soil erosion and wood cutting (chiefly to use for fuel) have almost entirely eliminated Burundi’s forests. Since the 1980s, the country has shifted from wood cutting to reforestation. Forests and woodlands cover 325,000 hectares (803,000 acres). Natural forest covered 3.7% of the land area in 2000. Forestry output should continue to grow as the result of a World Bank-sponsored tree planting program. In 2003, roundwood production was at 8.6 million cubic meters (303 million cubic feet), of which 99% was for fuel.

25 Mining

The country has been known to produce columbium-tantalum ore, gold, kaolin (china clay), tin, tungsten ore, limestone, peat, sand, and gravel. Burundi had significant deposits of feldspar, kaolin, nickel, phosphate, platinum-group metals,

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

quartzite, rare-earth metals, vanadium, and limestone for cement. There were gold deposits at Mabayi, Muyinga, Cankuzo, and Tora-Ruzibazi, where artisanal mining took place. In 2004, gold production was at about 2,900 kilograms. The same year, production of columbite-tantalite was a gross weight of 23,356 kilograms and of peat, 4,643 tons.

26 Foreign Trade

In 2004, Burundi’s imports exceeded its exports by 266%. Burundi’s export income is highly unstable and shifts with world prices on coffee, Burundi’s major export. Other export items include tea, hides and skins, gold, and sugars. Imports consist mainly of capital and consumer goods, chemicals, foodstuffs, and fuel.

Some of Burundi’s main trading partners in 2002 were Switzerland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Rwanda, Netherlands, Germany, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

27 Energy and Power

Bujumbura and Gitega are the only two cities in Burundi that have municipal electricity service. Burundi’s total installed capacity was 49,000 kilowatts in 2001. In 2001, recorded production was about 0.155 billion kilowatt hours, of which 0.154 was hydroelectric. Burundi imports all of its petroleum products from Kenya and Tanzania. A subsidiary of Amoco has an oil exploratory lease in and around Lake Tanganyika. Wood and peat account for 94% of all energy consumption in Burundi.

28 Social Development

Under the tribal system, the individual’s basic welfare needs have traditionally been the responsibility of the group. At the beginning of the 21st century, the family remained the most important social welfare institution. There are social centers for women and youth. Missions help to look after orphans and the aged. For the relatively small number of wage earners, a government social security system insures against accidents and occupational diseases and provides pensions.

Women suffer job discrimination and sexual violence. Terrible human rights abuses have occurred during the ethnic conflicts between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi peoples. By 2004, Burundi’s human rights record remained essentially unchanged.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorBurundi Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.:The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$660 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate1.8% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land284 803032
Life expectancy in years: male43 587675
female45 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people<.05 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)51 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)59.3% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people35 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people4 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)0.04 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

29 Health

Following independence, the World Health Organization (WHO) assisted in the organization of public health services and the training of sanitarians and public health nurses for Burundi. WHO coordinated all public health programs and helped in campaigns against smallpox, tuberculosis, and malaria. WHO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also provided aid for nutrition and mother/child health programs. In 2004, there were 5 doctors, 1 pharmacist, and 28 nurses per 100,000 people in Burundi. There is a shortage of physicians and hospital beds in the country.

Since January 1997, nearly 50,000 new cases of louse-born typhus have been reported, the largest outbreak to occur in 50 years. Outbreaks of group A meningitis are also occurring in Burundi. There have been more than 2,500 cases of meningitis. Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), borne by the tsetse fly, is a problem in the Ruvuvu River Valley. Malaria and schistosomiasis (bilharziasis), or sleeping sickness, are common along the Ruzizi River. Intake of animal protein and fat is inadequate and almost all diseases associated with malnutrition are found in Burundi.

In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 64.4 per 1,000 live births. Average life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 43 years for men and 45 years for women.

In 1990, 38% of children under five years old were considered to be malnourished. At the end of 2004, the number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was estimated at 250,000. Deaths from AIDS in 2003 were estimated at 25,000.

In 2004, about 1.2 million people were still without basic permanent shelter. The basic type of housing in the rural areas is the hut, most commonly beehive shaped, made of strips of wood woven around poles (wattle). Formerly, roofs were made of thatch, but they are now more likely to be covered with tin since thatch has become scarce. The huts are generally not grouped into villages but are organized in groups on a family basis.

Civil war has caused homelessness through displacement of residents and destruction of homes. Programs for rebuilding and improving housing are underway.

31 Education

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of six and twelve. Primary education lasts for six years. The languages of instruction in schools are Kisundi and French. General secondary education lasts for seven years, while vocational secondary education usually lasts for five. About half of primary-school-age children enroll in school, while only about 9% of those eligible attend secondary or technical schools.

The shortage of trained teachers and administrators is acute. The student-to-teacher ratio at the primary level averages 51 to 1.

The University of Burundi in Bujumbura is the country’s only institution of higher learning. As of 2004, the adult illiteracy rate was estimated at 59.3%.

32 Media

In 2003, Burundi had three mainline telephones and nine mobile phones for every 1,000 people. In 2001, there were four FM radio stations, including the government-run Voice of the Revolution, broadcasting in Kirundi Swahili, French, and English. Transmissions can be received from British Broadcasting and Radio France Internationale. A television service, Télévision Nationale du Burundi, was established in 1984, and began color transmission in 1985. In 2004, there was only one television station, which was owned by the government. As of 2003, there were 220 radios and 35 televisions for every 1,000 people. Internet access is extremely limited. In 2000, there was only one Internet service provider serving 2,000 people.

The government issues a French-language daily newspaper, Le Renouveau du Burundi, and several periodicals, including the weekly newspapers Ubumwe, published in Kirundi, and Burundi Chrétien, published in French.

Though there are no official restrictions upon expression or the press, the regime owns the only daily newspaper and two of the major radio stations, and information is said to be slanted toward pro-government opinions.

33 Tourism and Recreation

The tourist industry is still in its infancy in Burundi, but there is ample opportunity for development. Lake Tanganyika is internationally famous for its scenic beauty. Points of interest include Bujumbura, the capital, on Lake Tanganyika; Gitega, the former capital, with its museum and traditional handicraft center; and the Mosso area in the southeast, with its abundant wildlife. The northeast has a great variety of tropical birds. Burundi is also rich in folk art, and the dancers and drummers of the Tutsi are well known.

In 2003, tourist expenditure receipts totaled $1.2 million. There were 551 hotel rooms and 888 beds with an 18% occupancy rate in 1998.

34 Famous Burundians

Mwami Ntare I Rushatsi (c.1500), a warrior and administrator, succeeded in unifying the country under Tutsi rule.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Chrétien, Jean-Pierre. The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History. New York: Zone Books, 2003.

Daniels, Morn. Burundi. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press, 1992.

Jennings, Christian. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Heart of Darkness. London: Phoenix, 2001.

Twagilimana, Aimable. Hutu and Tutsi. Heritage Library of African Peoples. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 1998.

WEB SITES

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/af/ci/by/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.burundiembassy-usa.org/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

views updated

BURUNDI

Compiled from the February 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Burundi


PROFILE

Geography

Location: Central Africa. Bordering nations--Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.

Area: 27,830 sq. km. (10,747 sq. mi.); about the size of Maryland.

Cities: Capital--Bujumbura (pop. 300,000). Other cities--Cibitoke, Muyinga, Ngozi, Bubanza, Gitega, Bururi.

Climate: Warm but not uncomfortable in Bujumbura; cooler in higher regions.

Terrain: Hilly, rising from 780 meters (2,600 ft.) at the Shore of Lake Tanganyika to mountains more than 2,700 meters (9,000 ft.) above sea level.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Burundian(s).

Population: (2004 est.) 6.8 million.

Annual growth rate: (2004 est.) 2.2%.

Ethnic groups: (estimated) Hutu 85%; Tutsi 14%; Twa 1.0%.

Religions: (estimated) Roman Catholic 60%-65%; Protestant 10%-15%; traditional beliefs 15%-20%; Muslim 5%.

Languages: Official--Kirundi, French; other--Kiswahili, English.

Education: Years compulsory--6. Attendance--84.05% male, 62.8% female. Literacy--37% adult.

Health: (2004 est.) Life expectancy—42.73 yrs. (men), 44 yrs. (women). Infant mortality rate—70.4/1,000.

Government

Type: Republic; 3-year transitional government as of November 1, 2001.

Independence: July 1, 1962 (from Belgium).

Constitution: A transitional constitution was adopted October 18, 2001. The parliament adopted a post-transition constitution on September 17, 2004, that will be put to a nationwide referendum.

Branches: Executive--transitional president, transitional vice president, 26-member Council of Ministers. Legislative—A 220-member National Assembly (85 elected, 134 appointed by the signatories to the Arusha Peace Accords), and 54-member Senate (3 seats reserved for former presidents, including one for former transitional President Buyoya, 3 seats reserved for the ethnic Twa minority, and 2 Senators from each of the 16 provinces and the city of Bujumbura, one Hutu and one Tutsi, plus 14 appointed by the president according to his own criteria). Judicial--constitutional and subsidiary courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 16 provinces plus the city of Bujumbura, 117 communes.

Political parties: Multi-party system consisting of 21 registered political parties, of which FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi, predominantly Hutu with some Tutsi membership) and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party, predominantly Tutsi with some Hutu membership) are national, mainstream parties. Other Tutsi and Hutu opposition parties and groups include, among others, PARENA (the Party for National Redress, Tutsi), ABASA (the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation, Tutsi), PRP (the People's Reconciliation Party, Tutsi), CNDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Hutu), PALIPEHUTU (the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People, Hutu) and FROLINA/FAP (the Front for the National Liberation of Burundi/Popular Armed Forces, Hutu).

Suffrage: Universal adult; according to the Arusha Peace Accords and the transitional constitution, elections were to be held before November 2004; elections have been rescheduled, and are now due to be completed in April 2005.

Economy

GDP: (2003) $595 million; (2004 est.) $668 million.

Real growth rate: (2003) −0.5%; (2004 est.) 5.4%.

Per capita GDP: (2003) $87.3; (2004 est.) $96.

Inflation rate: (2003) 10.7%; (2004 est.) 9.1%.

Central government budget: Receipts--(2003) $135.2 million; (2004 est.) $138.9 million; spending (2003) $169.4 million; (2004 est.) $212.9 million.

Natural resources: Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum deposits not yet exploited, vanadium.

Agriculture: (2003, 47.4% of GDP) Products--coffee, tea, sugar, cotton fabrics and oil, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca), beef, milk, hides, livestock feed, rice. Arable land--44%.

Industry: (2003, 19.3% of GDP) Types—beverage production, coffee and tea processing, cigarette production, sugar refining, pharmaceuticals, light food processing, textiles, chemicals (insecticides), public works construction, consumer goods, assembly of imported components.

Services: (2003) 33.3% of GDP.

Mining: Commercial quantities of alluvial gold, nickel, phosphates, rare earth, vanadium, and other; peat mining.

Trade: (2003 est.) Exports--$46.8 million: coffee (50% of export earnings), tea, sugar, cotton fabrics, hides. Major markets--U.K., Germany, Benelux, Switzerland. Imports$127.5 million: food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, road vehicles, petroleum and products. Major suppliers--Benelux, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan.

Total external debt: (2003 est.) $1.2 billion.


PEOPLE

At 206.1 persons per sq. km., Burundi has the second-largest population density in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most people live on farms near areas of fertile volcanic soil. The population is made up of three major ethnic groups--Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language; French and Kiswahili also are widely spoken. Intermarriage takes place frequently between the Hutus and Tutsis. Although Hutus encompass the majority of the population, historically Tutsis have been politically and economically dominant.


HISTORY

In the 16th century, Burundi was a kingdom characterized by a hierarchical political authority and tributary economic exchange. A king (mwani) headed a princely aristocracy (ganwa) which owned most of the land and required a tribute, or tax, from local farmers and herders. In the mid-18th century, this Tutsi royalty consolidated authority over land, production, and distribution with the development of the ubugabire--a patron-client relationship in which the populace received royal protection in exchange for tribute and land tenure.

Although European explorers and missionaries made brief visits to the area as early as 1856, it was not until 1899 that Burundi came under German East African administration. In 1916 Belgian troops occupied the area. In 1923, the League of Nations mandated to Belgium the territory of Ruanda-Urundi, encompassing modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. The Belgians administered the territory through indirect rule, building on the Tutsi-dominated aristocratic hierarchy. Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi became a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. After 1948, Belgium permitted the emergence of competing political parties. Two political parties emerged: the Union for National Progress (UPRONA), a multi-ethnic party led by Tutsi Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) supported by Belgium. In 1961, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated following an UPRONA victory in legislative elections.

Full independence was achieved on July 1, 1962. In the context of weak democratic institutions at independence, Tutsi King Mwambutsa IV established a constitutional monarchy comprising equal numbers of Hutus and Tutsis. The 1965 assassination of the Hutu prime minister set in motion a series of destabilizing Hutu revolts and subsequent governmental repression. In 1966, King Mwambutsa was deposed by his son, Prince Ntare IV, who himself was deposed the same year by a military coup lead by Capt. Michel Micombero. Micombero abolished the monarchy and declared a republic, although a de facto military regime emerged. In 1972, an aborted Hutu rebellion triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Burundians. Civil unrest continued throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1976, Col. Jean-Baptiste Bagaza took power in a bloodless coup. Although Bagaza led a Tutsi-dominated military regime, he encouraged land reform, electoral reform, and national reconciliation. In 1981, a new constitution was promulgated. In 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state, as the sole candidate. After his election, Bagaza's human rights record deteriorated as he suppressed religious activities and detained political opposition members.

In 1987, Maj. Pierre Buyoya overthrew Colonel Bagaza. He dissolved opposition parties, suspended the 1981 constitution, and instituted his ruling Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN). During 1988, increasing tensions between the ruling Tutsis and the majority Hutus resulted in violent confrontations between the army, the Hutu opposition, and Tutsi hardliners. During this period, an estimated 150,000 people were killed, with tens of thousands of refugees flowing to neighboring countries. Buyoya formed a commission to investigate the causes of the 1988 unrest and to develop a charter for democratic reform.

In 1991, Buyoya approved a constitution that provided for a president, multi-ethnic government, and a parliament. Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, of the Hutudominated FRODEBU Party, was elected in 1993. He was assassinated

by factions of the Tutsi-dominated armed forces in October 1993. The country was then plunged into civil war, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands by the time the FRODEBU government regained control and elected Cyprien Ntaryamira president in January 1994. Nonetheless, the security situation continued to deteriorate. In April 1994, President Ntayamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana died in a plane crash. This act marked the beginning of the Rwandan genocide, while in Burundi, the death of Ntaryamira exacerbated the violence and unrest. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was installed as president for a 4-year term on April 8, but the security situation further deteriorated. The influx of hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees and the activities of armed Hutu and Tutsi groups further destabilized the regime.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After Facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the faltering peace process was revived, leading to the signing of the Arusha Accords in August 2000 by representatives of the principal Hutu (G-7) and Tutsi (G-10) political parties, the government, and the National Assembly. However, the FDD and FNL armed factions of the CNDD and Palipehutu G-7 parties refused to accept the Arusha Accords, and the armed rebellion continued.

In November 2001, a 3-year transitional government was established under the leadership of Pierre Buyoya (representing the G-10) as transitional president and Domitien Ndayizeye (representing the G-7) as transitional vice president for an initial period of 18 months. In May 2003, Mr. Ndayizeye assumed the presidency for 18 months with Alphonse Marie Kadege as vice president. In October and November 2003 the Burundian government and the former rebel group the CNDD-FDD signed cease-fire and power-sharing agreements, and in March 2004 members of the CNDD-FDD took offices in the government and parliament. The World Bank and other bilateral donors have provided financing for Burundi's disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program for former rebel combatants.

National and regional mediation efforts failed to reach a compromise on post-transition power-sharing arrangements between the predominantly Hutu and Tutsi political parties, and in September 2004 over twothirds of the parliament-despite a boycott by the Tutsi parties-approved a post-transition constitution. The Arusha Peace Agreement called for local and national elections to be held before the conclusion of the transitional period on October 31, 2004. On October 20, 2004, however, a joint session of the National Assembly and Senate adopted a previously approved draft constitution as an interim constitution that provides for an extension of transitional institutions until elections are held. A national referendum on the interim constitution as the permanent post-transition constitution is scheduled for February 28, 2005. Under a schedule endorsed by a summit meeting of regional leaders, local and national elections are tentatively planned to begin in February 2005, and to end in April 2005.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/18/04

President: Ndayizeye , Domitien
Vice President: Ngenzebuhoro , Frederic
Min. of Agriculture & Livestock: Ndikumagenge, Pierre
Min. of Civil Service: Kobako , Gaspard
Min. of Commerce & Industry: Minani , Thomas
Min. of Communal Development: Hicintuka , Cyrille
Min. of Communications & Spokesman for the Government: Nduwimana , Onesime
Min. of Development, Planning, & Reconstruction: Wakana , Seraphine
Min. of Energy & Mines: Nkundikije , Andre
Min. of External Relations & Cooperation: Sinunguruza , Therence
Min. of Finance: Gahungu , Athanase
Min. of Handicrafts, Vocational Training, & Adult Literacy: Hakizimana , Godefroid
Min. of Institutional Reforms, Human Rights, & Relations with Parliament: Rungwamihigo , Deogratias
Min. of Interior: Nyandwi , Simon
Min. of Justice & Keeper of the Seals: Kiganahe , Didace
Min. of Labor & Social Security: Nditabiriye , Dismas
Min. of Land Management, Environment, & Tourism: Mbonerane , Albert
Min. of National Defense: Niyungeko , Vincent, Maj. Gen.
Min. of National Education: Ntihabose , Salvator
Min. of Public Health: Kamana , Jean
Min. of Public Security: Sidnakira , Donatien, Col.
Min. of Public Works & Infrastructure: Ntahomenyereye , Salvator
Min. of Repatriation, Reinsertion, & Reintegration: Ngendahayo , Francoise
Min. of Social Action & Promotion of Women: Nduwimana , Marie Goretti
Min. of Transportation, Posts, & Telecommunications: Ndikumugongo , Severin
Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Muteragiranwa , Barnabe
Min. in Charge of Mobilization for Peace & National Reconciliation: Butoyi , Antoine
Min. in the Office of the President in Charge of HIV/AIDS: Rukingama , Luc
Min. of State in Charge of Good Governance: Nkurunziz , Pierre
Governor, Central Bank: Toyi , Salvator
Ambassador to the US: Ndikumana , Thomas
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Nteturuye , Marc

Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).


ECONOMY

The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 47% of GDP in 2003. Agriculture supports more than 90% of the labor 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.

The main cash crop is coffee, which accounted for some 50% of exports in 2003. This dependence on coffee has increased Burundi's vulnerability to fluctuations in seasonal yields and international coffee prices. Coffee processing is the largest state-owned enterprise in terms of income. Although the government has tried to attract private investment to this sector, plans for the privatization of this sector have stalled. Efforts to privatize other publicly held enterprises have likewise stalled. Other principal exports include tea, sugar, and raw cotton. Coffee production, after a severe drop in 2003, returned to normal levels in 2004. Revenues from coffee production and exports are likewise estimated to return to pre-2003 levels.

Little industry exists except the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point. The trade embargo, lifted in 1999, negatively impacted trade and industry.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.2 billion in 2003. A series of largely unsuccessful 5-year plans initiated in July 1986 in partnership with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attempted to reform the foreign exchange system, liberalize imports, reduce restrictions on international transactions, diversify exports, and reform the coffee industry.

IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of the crisis in 1993; the IMF re-engaged Burundi in 2002 and 2003 with post-conflict credits, and in 2004 approved a $104 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility loan. The World Bank is preparing a Transition Support Strategy, and has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Both the IMF and the World Bank are assisting the Burundians to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Serious economic problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.

Burundi was not eligible for trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2003.

To protest the 1996 coup by President Buyoya, neighboring countries imposed an economic embargo on Burundi. Although the embargo was never officially ratified by the UN Security Council, most countries refrained from official trade with Burundi. Following the 1996 coup, the United States suspended all but humanitarian aid to Burundi. The regional embargo was lifted on January 23, 1999, based on progress by the government in advancing national reconciliation through the Burundi peace process.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Burundi's relations with its neighbors have often been affected by security concerns. Hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees have at various times crossed to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled to neighboring countries during the civil war. Most of them, more than 750,000 since 1993, are in Tanzania. The 1993 embargo placed on Burundi by regional states negatively impacted its diplomatic relations with its neighbors; relations have improved since the 1999 suspension of these sanctions.

Burundi is a member of various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the African Union, and the African Development Bank, and became a member of COMESA, the free-tariff zone of eastern and southern Africa, in 2004.


U.S.-BURUNDI RELATIONS

U.S. government goals in Burundi are to help the people of Burundi realize a just and lasting peace based upon democratic principles and sustainable economic development. The United States encourages political stability, democratic change, respect for human rights, and economic development in Burundi. The United States supported the Arusha peace process, and has supported the regional efforts to mediate post-transition power-sharing negotiations between the Burundian political parties. In the long term, the United States seeks to strengthen the process of internal reconciliation and democratization within all the states of the region to promote a stable, democratic community of nations that will work toward mutual social, economic, and security interests on the continent.

The United States provided financial support for the peace process, including through our assessed contributions to a UN peacekeeping force established in 2004. U.S. bilateral aid, with the exception of humanitarian assistance, was ended following the 1996 coup.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BUJUMBURA (E) Address: Avenue des Etats-Unis; Phone: 257-22 34 54; Fax: 257-22 29 26; INMARSAT Tel: iridium: 8816-3148-8141/7138; Workweek: 5 days-Mon-Thu 7:30-5:30-Fri-7:30-12:30

AMB:James Yellin
AMB OMS:Brenda Moos
DCM:Alexander Laskaris
POL:Christopher Leslie
CON:Robert Marks
MGT:Judes E. Stellingwerf
AFSA:Judes E. Stellingwerf
AID:Cyndi Scarlett(OTI);Denise Gordon (OFDA); Robert Luneberg (REDSO)
DAO:Darren Pettis, OPSCO
ECO:Robert Marks
EEO:Judes E. Stellingwerf
FIN:Judes E. Stellingwerf
FMO:Judes E. Stellingwerf
GSO:Matthew Blong
ICASS Chair:Robert Marks
IMO:Harold Griffin
IPO:Donald Snead
PAO:Christopher Leslie
RSO:Dan Mahanty
State ICASS:Robert Marks
Last Updated: 1/19/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 15, 2004

Country Description: Burundi is a small, inland African nation that entered a period of instability following the assassination of its first democratically elected president in 1993. The three-year transitional government established on November 1, 2001, has been extended to allow for democratic elections to be held in 2005. Fighting between the government and rebels occurs frequently. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Burundi for additional information.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry. Only those travelers resident in countries where there is no Burundian embassy are eligible for a visa upon arrival at the airport. Travelers without a visa are not permitted to leave the country. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at telephone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest Burundian embassy or consulate.

Safety and Security: The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi. Americans in Burundi are urged to exercise caution and maintain security awareness at all times. Due to continuing hostilities between government and rebel forces, including danger on the road to and from Bujumbura's airport and the requirement to observe curfew hours, the U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness.

In light of continuing political tensions, all areas of Burundi are potentially unstable. Fighting between rebel forces and the Burundian military continues to be a problem in the interior and in the outskirts of the capital. Burundian rebels regularly attack vehicles on the roadways and in the outlying suburbs of Bujumbura. Major clashes between government forces and rebels occurred repeatedly just outside the capital. In July 2003, the U.S. Embassy temporarily evacuated non-emergency staff after sustained rebel attacks on Bujumbura. Rebels continue to operate in the province surrounding the capital, Bujumbura Rural, and have launched several rocket and mortar attacks on the city. Local authorities are unable to guarantee safety. The U.S. Embassy emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant and respecting any curfews in effect. A nationwide curfew is in place. For the most up-to-date curfew information and for information on areas declared off-limits for official U.S. government personnel for security reasons, please check with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura. Given the ongoing insecurity, travelers should also check with the U.S. Embassy before traveling out of the capital.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Crime poses a high risk for visitors throughout Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Street crime includes muggings, purse-snatchings, pick-pocketings, burglaries, auto break-ins and carjackings. The roads leading out of Bujumbura are often the location for armed ambushes; these types of violent attacks occur frequently. Criminals in Bujumbura operate in pairs or in small groups involving six or more individuals.

Foreigners are always a potential target of crime, whether in vehicles or at home. There is also the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a rebel shelling or during crossfire while armed groups combat each other.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Other Health Information: Medical facilities are limited in Burundi. Medicines and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable. Travelers should carry properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter driving conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning driving in Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Drivers without drivers' licenses, and the ease with which a driver's license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less than careful, considerate, or predictable.

There are no traffic signals or signs in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights and shoulders make driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous. Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital, Bujumbura. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.

Big holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in and around the capital; when driving in the countryside, it is recommended that travelers carry multiple spare tires. Service stations are rare outside of major cities. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.

Travelers may be stopped at police roadblocks throughout the country, or shot at and stopped by rebels or bandits.

Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $10 U.S.) and your driver's license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not consider drunk driving a crime. In the city of Bujumbura, the number for police assistance is 22-37-77; there is no comparable number outside the capital. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station. In most cases, other drivers will assist you. Ambulance assistance is non-existent.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Burundi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Burundi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: As a result of an attack on a Sabena passenger flight at night and the danger of attack on the road to and from the airport at night because of the ongoing conflict between government and rebel forces in Burundi, the U.S. Embassy continues to restrict U.S. Government personnel from flying in or out of Bujumbura during the hours of darkness or during the Embassy's curfew hours. The curfew changes from time to time due to changing security conditions; please contact the U.S. Embassy for the most up-to-date curfew information.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Burundi laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Burundi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Burundi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Burundi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenue des Etats-Unis, Bujumbura, Burundi and can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54. The mailing address is B.P. 1720, Bujumbura, Burundi. The Consular Section of the Embassy can be reached by phone at (257) 22-34-54 or by fax at (257) 22-29-26. The Embassy's internet web site is http://bujumbura.usembassy.gov/.