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Burundi Country Background
Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only 100 days in office, triggering widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Over 200,000 Burundians perished during the conflict that spanned almost a dozen years. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians were internally displaced or became refugees in neighboring countries. An internationally brokered power-sharing agreement between the Tutsi-dominated government and the Hutu rebels in 2003 paved the way for a transition process that led to an integrated defense force, established a new constitution in 2005, and elected a majority Hutu government in 2005. The new government, led by President Pierre NKURUNZIZA, faces many challenges, particularly from the country's last rebel group who remains outside of the peace process and continue attacks in the western provinces of Burundi.

Tutsi, Hutu, other conflicting ethnic groups, associated political rebels, armed gangs, and various government forces continue fighting in the Great Lakes region, transcending the boundaries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda in an effort to gain control over populated and natural resource areas; government heads pledge to end conflict, but localized violence continues despite the presence of about 6,000 peacekeepers from the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) since 2004; although some 150,000 Burundian refugees have been repatriated, as of February 2005, Burundian refugees still reside in camps in western Tanzania as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Economic growth depends on coffee and tea exports, which account for 90% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports, therefore, rests primarily on weather conditions and international coffee and tea prices. The Tutsi minority, 14% of the population, dominates the government and the coffee trade at the expense of the Hutu majority, 85% of the population. An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 10 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply. Political stability and the end of the civil war have improved aid flows and economic activity has increased, but underlying weaknesses - a high poverty rate, poor education rates, a weak legal system, and low administrative capacity - risk undermining planned economic reforms.

Climate equatorial; high plateau with considerable altitude variation (772 m to 2,670 m above sea level); average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 degrees centigrade but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m; average annual rainfall is about 150 cm; two wet seasons (February to May and September to November), and two dry seasons (June to August and December to January)

chief of state: President Pierre NKURUNZIZA (since 26 August 2005); First Vice President Martin NDUWIMANA - Tutsi (since 29 August 2005); Second Vice President Alice NZOMUKUNDA - Hutu (since 29 August 2005)

cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by president elections: the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term (eligible for a second term); note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the parliament; vice presidents nominated by the president, endorsed by parliament

election results:
Pierre NKURUNZIZA was elected president by the parliament by a vote of 151 to 9; note - the constitution adopted in February 2005 permits the post-transition president to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the legislature
A bicameral Parliament or Parlement, consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (minimum 100 seats - 60% Hutu and 40% Tutsi with at least 30% being women; additional seats appointed by a National Independent Electoral Commission to ensure ethnic representation; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and a Senate (54 seats; 34 by indirect vote to serve five year terms, with remaining seats assigned to ethnic groups and former chiefs of state)

elections:
National Assembly - last held 4 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010); Senate - last held 29 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010)

election results
: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CNDD-FDD 58.6%, FRODEBU 21.7%, UPRONA 7.2%, CNDD 4.1%, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2.1%, others 6.2%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 59, FRODEBU 25, UPRONA 10, CNDD 4, MRC-Rurenzangemero 2; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CNDD-FDD 30, FRODEBU 3, CNDD 1
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