Burundi is a small, landlocked country with an economy dominated by subsistence agriculture. Around 90% of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood, though cultivable land is extremely scarce. Years of civil war widened poverty, increased basic social needs, and severely damaged basic economic infrastructure. After successful disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs, Burundi has to face tremendous challenges in diversifying the economy, while reducing the vulnerability to shocks and strengthening good governance and anti-corruption practices.
It is unlikely that Burundi will reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, despite signs of progress. Education at all levels suffers from a lack of qualified teachers, teaching materials, and adequate infrastructure. Disparities in education outcomes among gender and regions are large.
The human capital base is weak due to limited access to basic social services. Many youths are under-employed because of lack of opportunities, particularly from the small private sector. There is limited access to basic infrastructure. For example, less than 5% the population has access to electricity, and access to potable water supply is also very low.
Burundi is making the transition from a post-conflict to a stable and growing economy. After significant improvement in security and peace consolidation, the country’s development program is shifting gradually towards modernizing public finance, strengthening basic social services, and upgrading economic infrastructure and institutions, particularly in the energy, mining, and agricultural sector, with increasing participation of the private sector. The goal now is to grow an increasingly stable, competitive and diversified economy with enhanced opportunities for productive employment and improved standards of living.
Burundi’s remarkable efforts in moving the country towards macro-economic stabilization and a growing economy can be seen throughout the country. In the last three years, (2011, 2012, and 2013), the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report named Burundi as one of the world’s top economic reformers for its efforts to streamline business, attract foreign investment, and climb out of the league of the world’s poorest countries.
Last Updated: May 20, 2014