The World Factbook (1990)/Burundi

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 See regional map VII


Total area: 27,830 km²; land area: 25,650 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundaries: 974 km total; Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km, Zaire 233 km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Climate: temperate; warm; occasional frost in uplands

Terrain: mostly rolling to hilly highland; some plains

Natural resources: nickel, uranium, rare earth oxide, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum (not yet exploited), vanadium

Land use: 43% arable land; 8% permanent crops; 35% meadows and pastures; 2% forest and woodland; 12% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: soil exhaustion; soil erosion; deforestation

Note: landlocked; straddles crest of the Nile-Congo watershed


Population: 5,645,997 (July 1990), growth rate 3.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 47 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 15 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 111 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 50 years male, 54 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Burundian(s); adjective—Burundi

Ethnic divisions: Africans—85% Hutu (Bantu), 14% Tutsi (Hamitic), 1% Twa (Pygmy); other Africans include about 70,000 refugees, mostly Rwandans and Zairians; non-Africans include about 3,000 Europeans and 2,000 South Asians

Religion: about 67% Christian (62% Roman Catholic, 5% Protestant), 32% indigenous beliefs, 1% Muslim

Language: Kirundi and French (official); Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Literacy: 33.8%

Labor force: 1,900,000 (1983 est.); 93.0% agriculture, 4.0% government, 1.5% industry and commerce, 1.5% services; 52% of population of working age (1985)

Organized labor: sole group is the Union of Burundi Workers (UTB); by charter, membership is extended to all Burundi workers (informally); figures denoting active membership unobtainable


Long-form name: Republic of Burundi

Type: republic

Capital: Bujumbura

Administrative divisions: 15 provinces; Bubanza, Bujumbura, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi

Independence: 1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)

Constitution: 20 November 1981; suspended following the coup of 3 September 1987

Legal system: based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)

Executive branch: president, Military Committee for National Salvation, prime minister, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) was dissolved following the coup of 3 September 1987

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Leaders: Chief of State—President Pierre BUYOYA (since 9 September 1987);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Adrien SIBOMANA (since 26 October 1988)

Political parties and leaders: only party National Party of Unity and Progress (UPRONA), a Tutsi-led party, Libere Bararunyeretse, coordinator of the National Permanent Secretariat

Suffrage: universal adult at age NA

Elections: National Assembly—dissolved after the coup of 3 September 1987; no elections are planned

Communists: no Communist party


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Julien KAVAKURE; Chancery at Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington DC 20007; telephone (202) 342-2574; US—Ambassador Cynthia Shepherd PERRY; Embassy at Avenue du Zaire, Bujumbura (mailing address is B. P. 1720, Bujumbura); telephone 234-54 through 56

Flag: divided by a white diagonal cross into red panels (top and bottom) and green panels (hoist side and outer side) with a white disk superimposed at the center bearing three red six-pointed stars outlined in green arranged in a triangular design (one star above, two stars below)


Overview: A landlocked, resource-poor country in an early stage of economic development, Burundi is predominately agricultural with only a few basic industries. Its economic health is dependent on the coffee crop, which accounts for an average 90% of foreign exchange earnings each year. The ability to pay for imports therefore continues to rest largely on the vagaries of the climate and the international coffee market.

GDP: $1.3 billion, per capita $255; real growth rate 2.8% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.4% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $213 million; expenditures $292 million, including capital expenditures of $131 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $128 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—coffee 88%, tea, hides and skins; partners—EC 83%, US 5%, Asia 2%

Imports: $204 million (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—capital goods 31%, petroleum products 15%, foodstuff's, consumer goods; partners—EC 57%, Asia 23%, US 3%

External debt: $795 million (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: real growth rate 5.1% (1986)

Electricity: 51,000 kW capacity; 105 million kWh produced, 19 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imports; public works construction; food processing

Agriculture: accounts for 60% of GDP; 90% of population dependent on subsistence farming; marginally self-sufficient in food production; cash crops—coffee, cotton, tea; food crops—corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc; livestock—meat, milk, hides, and skins

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $68 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $10 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $32 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $175 million

Currency: Burundi franc (plural—francs); 1 Burundi franc (FBu) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Burundi francs (FBu) per US$1—176.20 (January 1990), 158.67 (1989), 140.40 (1988), 123.56 (1987), 114.17 (1986), 120.69 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 5,900 km total; 400 km paved, 2,500 km gravel or laterite, 3,000 km improved or unimproved earth

Inland waterways: Lake Tanganyika

Ports: Bujumbura (lake port) connects to transportation systems of Tanzania and Zaire

Civil air: 1 major transport aircraft

Airports: 8 total, 7 usable; 1 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; none with runways 1,220 to 2,439 m

Telecommunications: sparse system of wire, radiocommunications, and low-capacity radio relay links; 8,000 telephones; stations—2 AM, 2 FM, 1 TV; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army (includes naval and air units); paramilitary Gendarmerie

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,230,559; 642,927 fit for military service; 61,418 reach military age (16) annually

Defense expenditures: 3.1% of GDP (1987)