Burundi Overview

By | January 22, 2021
Official language French, Kirundi
Capital Bujumbura
Form of government presidential republic
Area 27.834 km²
Residents 7,100,000
Currency Burundi Franc
Time zone UTC + 2
License plate RU
Internet TLD .bi
Telephone area code 00257 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)


The Republic of Burundi is located in the east of Africa and, with an area of ​​27.834 km², is one of the smallest countries in Africa. The country borders Rwanda in the north, Tanzania in the east and south,and the western border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo runs partly through Lake Tanganyika. See Burundi country abbreviation.

Much of the country’s area is occupied by a plateau, which is on average 1,500 m above sea level. The partially severely cut plateau gradually rises from the northeast (Lake Victoria Valley) to the west to the edge of the Central African Rift. Here heights up to a maximum of 2,760 m are reached. The plateau drops steeply to the Tanganyika valley in southern Burundi. Lake Tanganyika (approx. 660 km long, up to 80 km wide, depth up to 1,435 m), in which the neighboring states of Tanzania,Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo also participate, is 773 m above sea level.

The mountain range in Burundi forms the watershed between the Nile in the east and the Congo in the west. The longest river in the country (Ruvubu) is one of the source rivers of the Nile.

The capital Bujumbura is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the south-west of the country.


Burundi has a tropical climate with two rainy seasons (March / April and September to December). Most precipitation is measured on the eastern slopes of the mountains (on average 1,500 mm), on the plateaus and in the valley of Lake Tanganyika it is on average 1,000 mm per year. The temperatures are consistently high all year round, depending on the altitude they average 16 °C to 20 °C on the plateau and around 24 °C on Lake Tanganyika.

Flora and fauna

Wet savannah with eucalyptus trees, acacias and oil palms dominates on the plateau. The forest areas are strongly decimated due to the strong deforestation, on the eastern slopes of the mountains there are still areas with tropical rain or cloud forest in higher altitudes. The lower lying, less precipitation areas are characterized by dry savannah.

Due to the heavy deforestation and dense settlement of Burundi, the habitat of many animal species was severely restricted or destroyed. The remaining areas are home to zebras, antelopes, buffalos, warthogs, baboons, lions, leopards, crocodiles and hippos. Mountain gorillas live in the rain and cloud forests in the mountains.


According to COUNTRYAAH, around 7.1 million people live in the Republic of Burundi, about 90% of them in smaller rural settlements. An estimated 800,000 civil war refugees are still in the surrounding states. With an average of 255 residents per square kilometer, the country is as densely populated as Germany, for example. The largest city in the country is the capital Bujumbura with about 319 100 residents (agglomeration). Other large cities are Bururi (19,000 residents), Cibitoke (12,000) and Gitega (24,000).

The largest population group in Burundi with around 85% are the Hutu, second largest group the Tutsi with around 14%. Twa pygmies still live in the forest areas of the mountains, which make up about 1% of the total population. The first official language in Burundi is the Bantu language Kirundi, the second official language is French, and various dialects are spoken. Almost 70% of the population are Christians (mostly Catholics), who often practice indigenous religious practices. About 23% practice natural religions, Muslims form a strong religious minority with 10%.

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, not least because of the decades-long civil war between Hutu and Tutsi. Social and health services are practically non-existent. Despite compulsory schooling, literacy is only 51.6%. Almost half of the population is younger than 15 years, life expectancy is around 44 years. 3.3% of the total population are infected with the HI virus. The population growth is 3.9%.

burundi population density

Political system

Burundi is a presidential republic under the 2005 constitution. The head of state is the president, who is also head of the government (Pierre Nkurunziza, since August 2005). He is elected directly by the people every five years, a one-time re-election is possible.

The legislature lies with the parliament, which consists of two chambers: the national assembly and the senate. The National Assembly consists of up to 118 members. 100 of them are elected, 60% of these mandates are reserved for the Hutu, 40% for the Tutsi. In addition, at least 30% of all MPs must be women. Three mandates are given to Twa representatives, up to 15 can be co-opted. The Senate consists of 49 indirectly elected members; the seats are distributed equally between Hutu and Tutsi and Twa. The term of office for MPs and senators is five years. The parties in Burundi reflect the contrast between the two groups of the population. The most influential party is the former Hutu rebel movement,Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie-Forces pour la Defense de la Democratie (CNDD-FDD). The Unit¨¦ pour le Pogr¨¦s National (UPRONA) is dominated by the Tutsi, the Front pour la D¨¦mocratie au Burundi (FRODEBU) by the Hutu.

The legal system is based on the German and Belgian.

Burundi is divided into 16 provinces and the capital Bujumbura.


The Republic of Burundi is one of the most underdeveloped and poorest countries in the world. Due to the bloody clashes since 1993 and a temporary economic embargo, two thirds of the Burundians live below the poverty line.

Agriculture is the most important sector in Burundi’s economy and is the basis of life for almost 90% of the population. The main export commodity, coffee, accounts for almost 80% of exports, and the dependence on the world market price is correspondingly large. Coffee and cotton are grown on large plantations, and the cultivation of tea is becoming increasingly important. For their own use, legumes, millet, corn, bananas, sweet potatoes and manioc are grown. The rapid growth of the population and the leaching of the soil due to intensive agricultural use, the mining during the civil war and the flight or displacement of numerous farmers meant that the population’s food needs could no longer be met. Cattle breeding (cattle, goats) is traditionally practiced by the Tutsi, is not economically significant.

The industry is poorly developed and focuses on the processing of agricultural products. Textiles, shoes and soap are also manufactured. Burundi has mineral deposits of gold, copper, cobalt, uranium and nickel, which are mined only to a small extent.

When it comes to exports (coffee, tea, minerals), Switzerland is the leading trading partner with almost a quarter of its size, followed by Belgium and Great Britain. When it comes to imports (especially of food, machinery, industrial goods and oil), these are Kenya, Tanzania, the USA, Belgium and France with relatively similar percentages.

The road network covers a total of around 10,000 km, but is very poorly developed and in some cases only accessible during the dry season. Lake Tanganyika is used as a waterway from the capital Bujumbura to Kigoma in Tanzania. There is an international airport in Bujumbura.

The currency is the Burundi Franc (= 100 centimes).