Economy of Burundi

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The mainstay of the Burundian economy is agriculture, accounting for 32.9% of GDP in 2008. Agriculture supports more than 70% of the labour force, the majority of whom are subsistence farmers. Although Burundi is potentially self-sufficient in food production, the ongoing civil unrest, overpopulation, and soil erosion have contributed to the contraction of the subsistence economy by 25% in recent years. Large numbers of internally displaced persons have been unable to produce their own food and are largely dependent on international humanitarian assistance. Burundi is a net food importer, with food accounting for 17% of imports in 1997.

Economy of Burundi
Fisherman on Lake Tanganyika
Fisherman on Lake Tanganyika
CurrencyBurundian franc (BIF)
Calendar year
Trade organisations
GDP$3.152 billion (2010)
Rank: 173rd (2008)
GDP growth
-3.9% (2015), -0.6% (2016),
0.5% (2017e), 1.9% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
$425 (2008)
GDP by sector
agriculture (32.9%), industry (21.3%), services (45.8%) (2008)
10% (2008)
Population below poverty line
53% (2010)
Labour force
4.08 million (2010)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture (89%), industry (5.3%, services (4.1%) (2002)
UnemploymentN/A (2008)
Main industries
light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap, assembly of imported components, public works construction, food processing
Agriculture: coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, hides
157th (2017)[2]
Exports$88 million f.o.b. (2010)
Export goods
coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Main export partners
 Germany 14.8%
 Pakistan 9.1%
 Kenya 8.6%
 China 7.5%
 Sweden 7.2%
 Belgium 5.1%
 Canada 4.9%
 Rwanda 4.4%
 United States 4.3% (2013 est.)[3]
Imports$286 million f.o.b. (2010)
Import goods
capital goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs
Main import partners
 Saudi Arabia 16.3%
 China 7.9%
 Uganda 7.7%
 Belgium 7.0%
 Kenya 6.7%
 Zambia 6.6%
 India 5.5%
 United Arab Emirates 5.1% (2013 est.)[4]
$820 million (2010)
Public finances
Revenues$280.4 million (2009)
Expenses$351.3 million (2008)
Economic aid$90.7 million (2010)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.


Little industry exists except for the processing of agricultural exports. Although potential wealth in petroleum, nickel, copper, and other natural resources is being explored, the uncertain security situation has prevented meaningful investor interest. Industrial development also is hampered by Burundi's distance from the sea and high transport costs. Lake Tanganyika remains an important trading point. The trade embargo, lifted in 1999, negatively impacted trade and industry. Since October 1993 the nation has suffered from massive ethnic-based violence which has resulted in the death of perhaps 250,000 people and the displacement of about 800,000 others. Foods, medicines, and electricity remain in short supply.

Burundi is heavily dependent on bilateral and multilateral aid, with external debt totaling $1.247 billion (1.247 G$) in 1997. A series of largely unsuccessful 5-year plans initiated in July 1986 in partnership with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund attempted to reform the foreign exchange system, liberalize imports, reduce restrictions on international transactions, diversify exports, and reform the coffee industry.

Karuzi Burundi goats
Goat rearing has been promoted as a source of income for rural-dwelling Burundians.

IMF structural adjustment programs in Burundi were suspended following the outbreak of the crisis in 1993. The World Bank has identified key areas for potential growth, including the productivity of traditional crops and the introduction of new exports, light manufactures, industrial mining, and services. Other serious problems include the state's role in the economy, the question of governmental transparency, and debt reduction.

To protest the 1996 coup by President Pierre Buyoya, neighboring countries imposed an economic embargo on Burundi. Although the embargo was never officially ratified by the United Nations Security Council, most countries refrained from official trade with Burundi. Following the coup, the United States also suspended all but humanitarian aid to Burundi. The regional embargo was lifted on January 23, 1999, based on progress by the government in advancing national reconciliation through the Burundi peace process.

In an article titled "The Blood Cries Out," Foreign Policy (FP) reported that the Burundian population growth rate is 2.5 percent per year, more than double the average global pace, and that a Burundian woman has on average 6.3 children, nearly triple the international fertility rate. FP further reported that "The vast majority of Burundians rely on subsistence farming, but under the weight of a booming population and in the long-standing absence of coherent policies governing land ownership, many people barely have enough earth to sustain themselves." In 2014, the average size for a farm was about one acre. FP added that "The consequence is remarkable scarcity: In the 2013 Global Hunger Index, Burundi had the severest hunger and malnourishment rates of all 120 countries ranked."[5]

Macro-economic trend

The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.[6]

Year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in bil. $
1.39 bil. 2.31 bil. 3.23 bil. 3.23 bil. 3.50 bil. 4.54 bil. 4.94 bil. 5.24 bil. 5.60 bil. 5.86 bil. 6.24 bil. 6.62 bil. 7.04 bil. 7.58 bil. 8.07 bil. 7.84 bil. 7.85 bil. 7.99 bil.
GDP per capita in $
339 488 592 540 524 605 638 658 681 689 711 731 755 788 814 767 745 735
GDP Growth
−6.8 % 11.8 % 3.5 % 7.9 % 1.8 % 4.4 % 5.4 % 3.5 % 4.9 % 3.9 % 5.1 % 4.0 % 4.4 % 5.9 % 4.5 % −4.0 % −1.0 % 0.0 %
Government debt
(Percentage of GDP)
... ... ... ... 136 % 137 % 130 % 130 % 103 % 26 % 47 % 43 % 41 % 36 % 36 % 45 % 47 % 57 %

See also


  1. ^ "World Bank forecasts for Burundi, June 2018 (p. 153)" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Burundi". Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  3. ^ "Export Partners of Burundi". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  4. ^ "Import Partners of Burundi". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  5. ^ Jillian Keenan, The Blood Cries Out. "In one of Africa’s most densely populated countries, brothers are killing brothers over the right to farm mere acres of earth. There’s just not enough land to go around in Burundi — and it could push the country into civil war." Foreign Policy (FP)
  6. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2018-08-24.

External links

Bank of the Republic of Burundi

The Bank of the Republic of Burundi (French: Banque de la République du Burundi, BRB) is the central bank of Burundi. The bank was established in 1966 and its offices are in Bujumbura.

The Bank is active in promoting financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. It is also one of the original 17 regulatory institutions to make specific national commitments to financial inclusion under the Maya Declaration during the 2011 Global Policy Forum held in Mexico.

The Current governor is Jean Ciza.

Burundian franc

The franc (ISO 4217 code is BIF) is the currency of Burundi. It is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes, although coins have never been issued in centimes since Burundi began issuing its own currency. Only during the period when Burundi used the Belgian Congo franc were centime coins issued.

Communications in Burundi

Communications in Burundi include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, the Internet, and the postal service in Burundi.

Confederation of Trade Unions of Burundi

The Confederation of Trade Unions of Burundi (French: Confédération des Syndicats du Burundi, COSYBU) is the larger of the two national trades union federations active in Burundi. It is distinct from the Trade Union Confederation of Burundi (Confédération syndicale du Burundi, CSB). Both the COSYBU and CSB are affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).COSYBU was formed in 1995 when it split from the recently-established CSB. Although separate, the two organisations maintain good relations and frequently collaborate. The COSYBU reformed its structure in 2013 and its confederal governing body includes representatives from its affiliated unions as well as membership from the national provinces.In total, 31 of the 59 officially recognised trade unions in Burundi are affiliated to the COSYBU. The two largest, representing teachers (STEB) and transport workers (SYPROTAVEBU), together constitute about 75 percent of the confederation's total membership. In total, COSYBU had 53,611 affiliated members in 2014. However, only a minority pay fees to affiliate to the union.According to ITUC reports, labor rights are frequently violated in Burundi and the right to strike is limited. Most Burundians work in the informal economy and members of certain unions have been harassed for their affiliations. It is estimated that only 1.3 percent of the labour force are members of trade unions. Several collective bargaining agreements are known to be in force for workers within particular sectors covered by the COSYBU.

FinBank Burundi

FinBank Burundi, also known as Finbank, is a commercial bank in Burundi, licensed by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the central bank and national banking regulator. The bank, established in 2002, was between 2008 and 2014 a subsidiary and a component of the Access Bank Group.

Index of Burundi-related articles

These are some of the articles related to Burundi on the English Wikipedia:

Thierry Charlier, "L'armee burundaise aujourd'hui", RAIDS magazine No 317, October 2012,

pp 28 a 30. No ISSN 0769-4814.

Interbank Burundi

Interbank Burundi, often called Interbank, is a commercial bank in Burundi. It is licensed by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the national banking regulator.The bank is a medium-sized financial services provider in Burundi, serving both individuals and businesses. As of April 2016, Interbank was the second largest commercial bank in Burundi, with a market-share of 25%. As of 31 December 2013, the bank's total assets were valued at BIF:304.56 billion (approx. US$198 million), with shareholders' equity of BIF:36.34 billion (approx. US$23.6 million).

KCB Bank Burundi Limited

KCB Bank Burundi Limited, also Kenya Commercial Bank Burundi, or KCB Burundi, is a commercial bank in Burundi, licensed by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi, the national banking regulator.

List of companies of Burundi

Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of Southeast Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Burundi's largest industry is agriculture, which accounted for just over 30% of the GDP. Subsistence agriculture accounts for 90% of agriculture. The nation's largest source of revenue is coffee, which makes up 93% of Burundi's exports. Burundi is one of the world's poorest countries, owing in part to its landlocked geography, poor legal system, lack of economic freedom, lack of access to education, and the proliferation of HIV/AIDS. Approximately 80% of Burundi's population lives in poverty.

List of regions of Burundi by Human Development Index

This is a list of regions of Burundi by Human Development Index as of 2018 with data for the year 2017.

Mining industry of Burundi

Burundi is a producer of columbium (niobium) and tantalum ore, tin ore, and tungsten ore, and some deposits of gold which are designated for export. Burundi has resources of copper, cobalt, nickel, feldspar, phosphate rock, quartzite, and rare reserves of uranium, and vanadium. The country is also a producer of limestone, peat, sand and gravel for domestic consumption and as building materials. As of 2005, manufacturing accounted for 8% of the country's gross domestic product.National gold production increased to 3,905 kg in 2005 from 3,229 kg in 2004 increasing dramatically from just 415 kg in 2001 because of higher gold prices. Gold reportedly accounted for more than 90% of the value of Burundi’s total mineral production in 2005. Machanga Ltd. of Uganda and more recently the Burundi Mining Corporation were responsible for mining much of the country's primary gold reserves which are concentrated in Muyinga Province in the north-east of the country.Columbium (niobium) and tantalum were mined by Asyst Mines, Comptoirs Miniers de Burundi S.A., Hamza, and Habonimana but the production of columbite-tantalite ore decreased considerably to 23,356 kg in 2004 from 72,441 kg in 2002 because low world market prices saw a slump in the demand for tantalum oxide in 2004. In 2005, production increased to 42,592 kg and has continued to rise again and columbite-tantalite production accounted for 5% of the value of Burundi’s mineral production as of 2005. An Australian company AuArgosy Minerals Incorporated was proposing to develop mines in the country but has had its Mining Convention and licences suspended by the government due to failure to meet commitments.

Small quantities of tungsten and tin but only account for 3% of Burundi's total mineral production according to the Burundi Ministry of Energy and Mines The Office National de la Tourbe a branch of the government is responsible for peat production which is extracted notably in the Akanyara Valley near Buyongwe and in 2005 unmined resources of peat were stated by the Burundian government to total around 36 million metric tons.

However Burundi has no resources of coal, natural gas, or petroleum meaning that electricity production in the country was very problematic. Hydroelectric power stations now account for most of the country’s electricity production as they do not have the natural reserves to produce it.

Outline of Burundi

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Burundi:

The Republic of Burundi is a small sovereign country located in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Geographically isolated, facing population pressures and having sparse resources, Burundi has the lowest GDP per capita in the world, arguably making it the poorest country on the planet. One scientific study of 178 nations rated Burundi's population as having the lowest satisfaction with life of all.

Tourism in Burundi

Tourism in Burundi refers to tourism in Burundi. Bujumbura, the largest city and former capital of Burundi, is a major tourist attraction of the country. In addition to this, Lake Tanganyika is a popular tourist attraction.

Trade Union Confederation of Burundi

Trade Union Confederation of Burundi (French: Confédération syndicale du Burundi, CSB) is the smaller of the two national trades union federations active in Burundi. It is distinct from Confederation of Trade Unions of Burundi (Confédération des Syndicats du Burundi, COSYBU). Both the COSYBU and CSB are affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).The CSB was founded in 1991. COSYBU was founded in 1995 after seceding from the CSB, but the two organisations cooperate. In total, 10 of the 59 officially recognised trade unions in Burundi are affiliated to the CSB. In total, the CSB had 5,500 affiliated members in 2014.According to ITUC reports, labor rights are frequently violated in Burundi and the right to strike is limited. Most Burundians work in the informal economy and members of certain unions have been harassed for their affiliations. It was estimated that only 1.3 percent of the labour force were trade union members in 2014.

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