A landlocked country in East Africa, Burundi is a low-income economy where 80% of the population is employed by the agriculture sector. It is a country of the Great Lakes, surrounded by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west and bordered by Lake Tanganyika to the southwest. With a population of 11.6 million, of which 50.7% (2018) are women, it is one of the most densely populated countries.
Burundi has made significant progress in terms of quality and access to education. Since the introduction of free primary education in 2005, the Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) in primary education reached 120.3% in the 2018/2019 school year without significant variation between provinces, gender or wealth.
Burundi is a constitutional republic whose second largest city, Gitega, became the country’s political capital in 2019. Gitega is home to the presidency of the Republic and the Senate, while the main state institutions are still located in Bujumbura, the economic capital.
Triple voting was organized in May 2020 and included presidential, parliamentary, and communal council elections. General Evariste Ndayishimiye, former Secretary General of the ruling CNDD-FDD party and majority candidate, won the elections. He replaces the late President Pierre Nkurunziza, who had just spent 15 years in power. The new Constitution establishes the Presidency of the Republic of Burundi for a renewable term of seven years and creates the office of Vice President and Prime Minister. These three bodies constitute the high authorities of the country. There are 36 political parties in the country, and the CNDD-FDD also won the majority of seats in the elections for Parliamentarians and Communal Councilors.
Burundi has experienced a unique economic situation over the last five years, due in particular to the decline in foreign aid since 2015, which has caused both fiscal and balance of payments difficulties.
To compensate for this loss, the government has mobilized domestic resources to a large extent, but this has not been sufficient to meet the continuously rising social demand driven by a very high population growth rate.
Economic growth increased from 1.6% in 2018 to 1.8% in 2019
Deflation due to falling food prices in 2018 (-2.8%) continued in 2019 to -0.8% while inflation had reached 16% in 2017.
The economy is slowly recovering from this crisis, but the weakness of economic growth in relation to population growth results in low per capita income estimated at about $260 in 2019.
Impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus)
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has put in place mechanisms to mitigate the spread of the virus, including closure of the Bujumbura International Airport, mass COVID-19 screening, training for health care personnel and the establishment of care centers for those who test positive.
COVID-19 will also have repercussions on Burundi's economy, which is facing a double shock of supply and demand. All productive sectors are expected to contract, including agriculture, an important pillar of the Burundian economy.
Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020