BURUNDI

Date of establishment: July 1, 1962

Brief history:

  • The formation of three kingdoms in the area of present-day Burundi: Burundi, Urundi, and Buha.
  • 1890: Burundi becomes part of German East Africa.
  • 1916: Belgian military forces occupy Burundi and become administrators of the territory under a League of Nations mandate.
  • 1962: Burundi gains independence as a monarchy.
  • 1966: King Ntare V is overthrown and Burundi becomes a republic.
  • 1972: Ethnic violence breaks out, killing several tens of thousands of Hutus.
  • 1993: Melchior Ndadaye, the first Hutu president, is elected in democratic elections.
  • 1993: Ndadaye is assassinated in a military coup after only four months in office.
  • 1994-2005: Burundi undergoes civil wars that claim tens of thousands of lives and cause widespread human suffering.
  • 2005: Burundi agrees to a ceasefire with rebels and begins a process of national reconciliation.
  • 2015: President Pierre Nkurunziza sparks a political crisis as he seeks a third presidential term, sparking mass protests and violence.

 

International abbreviation: BU

 

Currency: Burundian franc (BIF)

The currency of Burundi is the Burundian franc (BIF). One Burundian franc is divided into 100 centimes. The Burundian franc was introduced in 1960, replacing the Belgian franc. It has a fixed exchange rate against the US dollar.

 

Internet domain: .bi

 

Dialing code: +257

 

Time zone: +2 GMT

 

Geography:

Burundi is a small country in the interior of Africa, located east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, south of Rwanda, and west of Tanzania.

It mainly includes a mountainous area with high mountains and valleys. There are many lakes in Burundi, the largest of which is Tanganyika, which is located on the border with Tanzania.

 

Highest peak: Heha 2 670 m (8 760 feet) above sea level.

It is located in the northwestern part of the country. This peak lies in the Mitumba mountain range that stretches across the western part of Burundi and neighboring Congo.

 

Climate:

Burundi has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity for most of the year. The average temperature in the country is around 23-25 °C (73-77°F), with larger fluctuations in the mountains.

The country has two rainy seasons: shorter rains lasting from September to November and longer rains from March to May. During these periods, rain can be intense and can cause flooding and landslides.

The dry seasons are usually from June to August and from December to February. Overall, Burundi is humid, with annual rainfall ranging from 800 to 1 200 mm (31 to 47 inches), with the heaviest rainfall in the west and south of the country.

 

Fauna and flora:

Burundi is home to several species of primates, including rare mountain gorillas found in the mountains bordering Rwanda and Congo. This gorilla population is protected and monitored to protect this endangered species. There is also a population of hippos that live in the lakes and rivers of this country and are also among the endangered species. Elephants also inhabit some areas of Burundi, although their numbers have decreased due to poaching.

The land is home to various species of birds that migrate to the area during different seasons. Burundi’s lakes are rich in various species of fish, which is important for the country’s food supply and economy.

 

Agriculture:

Agriculture plays a key role in Burundi and forms a substantial part of the country’s economy. About 90% of the population lives by agriculture and agricultural products make up more than 50% of Burundi’s exports. The main crops grown in the country include coffee, tea, wheat, cotton, sugar, cassava, beans, bananas, and rice.

Coffee is Burundi’s most important export product, and the country is among the largest producers of Arabica coffee in Africa. Coffee plantations are mainly located in central and southern Burundi.

Tea is another important export product of the country, which is grown mainly in the east and south of Burundi.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Only a few raw materials are mined in Burundi, and in small quantities. The main ones include gold, nickel, iron, oil, and silver. The extraction of most of these is still at a very low level and represents only a small part of the country’s economy.

Gold mining in Burundi is mainly carried out in the Kibira region in the western part of the country, where several smaller mines are located. Nickel, silver, and columbite are also mined in the area. Columbite is a mineral that is used primarily in electronics and the production of capacitors. Burundi has some of the largest reserves of columbite in the world.

 

Industry:

Major industrial activities in the country include food processing, the textiles and timber industries, and cement production.

Food processing is one of the largest industries, it includes the production of refined sugar, oils, and dairy and many other food products.

The textiles industry specializes mainly in the production of clothing and dresses for domestic use and for export. In recent years, the textiles industry has begun to develop and attract foreign investors.

Cement production is another industry that has been developing in Burundi in recent years. There are several cement factories in the country trying to meet the growing demand for this raw material.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: services

 

Natural and historical attractions: Bujumbura, Heha, Gitega, and Gishora

The country has much natural beauty and many cultural monuments that attract visitors. These include, for example, royal palaces, ancient stone ruins, and traditional markets.

Lake Tanganyika offers many opportunities for water sports and fishing. There are also several beaches and recreational facilities around the lake.

Mount Heha is a popular destination for hikers and climbers. From the top of the mountain there is a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.

Rusizi National Park is home to many species of animals, including crocodiles and elephants.

 

Waterparks in Burundi:

 

Form of government: presidential republic

Burundi is a presidential republic with a multi-level system of government. The constitution adopted in 2018 establishes executive, legislative, and judicial powers and guarantees respect for human rights and freedoms. Executive power in the country is vested in the president, who is elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. The president is the head of state and government, appoints and dismisses members of the government, and has broad powers in foreign policy and security.

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly. The Senate has 43 members while the National Assembly has 121 members. Deputies are elected by direct election for a five-year term.

The judiciary is independent and includes the Constitutional Court, the Court of Appeal, civil  and criminal courts.

 

Capital city: Gitega

Gitega is the capital and second largest city of the East African state of Burundi. Gitega was the capital of the Kingdom of Burundi. After its demise, Bujumbura became the capital, and in 2018 it was decided to move the central administration back to Gitega. Gitega lies on the Luvironza River. The Catholic Archdiocese is located there.

 

Area: 27 834 km2 (10 747 square miles)

 

Population: 11 800 000 (2022)

The largest ethnic group in Burundi are the Hutus, who make up about 85% of the population. Tutsi make up the remainder.

The official languages in Burundi are Kirundi and French, although English has been developing as an additional language in recent years.

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and has one of the lowest levels of human development on the African continent.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

 

National parks: 2

 

  1. Kibira National Park
  2. Rusizi National Park