Burundi (also known as the “beating heart of Africa”) is a small nation in east-central Africa’s Great Lakes region (population 10.1 million). Burundi is a country of breathtaking landscapes, from mountaintops to endless forests, huge lakes to tropical plateau. Although little is known, Burundi is blessed with a rich culture, energizing drummers, great food, and kind-hearted people that always look happy.
Burundi’s first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only one hundred days in office. Since then, some 200,000 Burundians have perished in widespread, often intense ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced or have become refugees in neighboring countries. A new transitional government, inaugurated on 1 November 2001, signed a power-sharing agreement with the largest rebel faction in December 2003 and set in place a provisional constitution in October 2004. Despite making long strides in conflict resolution and peace management, the country is still struggling to rebuild socially and economically.
- Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Poverty is widespread: 90 to 95 percent of the population living on less than $2 per day.
- Less than one-third of Burundi’s population has enough food to eat throughout the year, meaning that nearly 60% of Burundi’s population is chronically malnourished.
- Agriculture is the backbone of Burundi’s economy. 90% of families in Burundi are subsistence farmers who rely on farming to meet their food and income needs.
- Burundi faced a food production deficit of over 32%. It’s also the most population-dense country in Africa.
- Water scarcity in Burundi is a crisis, particularly for children.
- When people have to rely on unsafe water, they become weak, malnourished and susceptible to water-borne diseases, which are among the leading causes of death in children under five.