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A landlocked country in East Africa, Burundi is a low-income economy where 80% of the population is employed in the agriculture. It is a country in the Great Lakes Region, surrounded by Rwanda to the North, Tanzania to the East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the West and bordered by Lake Tanganyika to the Southwest. It is one of the most densely populated countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with 11.6 million people, of which 50.4% (2019) are women.

Burundi has made significant progress in the quality of and access to education. Since the introduction of free primary education in 2005, the Gross Enrollment Rate in primary education has reached 120.3% during the 2018/2019 school year without significant variation between provinces, gender or wealth.

Political context

Burundi is a constitutional republic whose second largest city, Gitega, became the country’s political capital city 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 city.

The new constitution of Burundi provides for a renewable term of seven years for the Presidency of the Republic and establishes the Offices of Vice-President and Prime Minister. These three bodies constitute the country’s highest authorities.

After his election, President Evariste Ndayishimiye announced the priorities his government will focus on, namely the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus),  the strengthening of health services, the fight against corruption,  the revitalization of the agricultural sector,  youth employability,  and support for state pensioners.

Socio-economic context

Burundi has experienced a unique economic situation over the last six 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 the loss of external resources, the government has strongly mobilized internal resources, but this has not been sufficient to meet an ever-increasing social demand, driven by sustained population growth. The shock linked to the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted an economic recovery that was already fragile and has impacted all macroeconomic accounts.

  • Economic growth is estimated at 0.3% in 2020 against 1.8% in 2019
  • After two years of deflation, inflation reached 7.5% in 2020, driven by rising food prices and limited availability of imported consumer products
  • Weakness of economic growth in relation to population growth results in low per capita income growth, estimated at about $276 in 2020

Measures adopted by the government to fight against COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Government of Burundi quickly responded to the first signs of the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a contingency plan. Since the appearance of the first case in April 2020, the Government adopted health policy measures to respond to the pandemic. To mitigate the health risks associated with the movement of goods and people and following the reopening of the international airport, the Government of Burundi (i) imposed, since January 6, 2021, a quarantine of seven days on all passengers from outside the country, reduced to 4 days on April 1st 2021; (ii) authorized voluntary testing; (iii) launched a communication campaign advocating physical distancing, regular handwashing and the wearing of masks for people traveling on public transport; and (iv) tightened control at land borders. Internal movements have not been restricted, to avoid repercussions on economic costs. A national multisector COVID-19 steering committee headed by the Ministry of Interior, Community Development and Public Security oversees the overall response coordination and implementation.

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2021

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Burundi: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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