Republic of Burundi
République du Burundi
Republika yu Burundi
LOCATION AND SIZE.
Burundi is a landlocked state in Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, south of Rwanda, and west of Tanzania. It has an area of 27,830 square kilometers (10,745 square miles), slightly smaller than Maryland. Burundi's capital city, Bujumbura, is located on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near the country's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimated Burundi's population at 6.97 million in 2000, growing at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 40.46 births per 1,000 population while the death rate was 16.44 deaths per 1,000. The population is expected to reach 10.37 million by 2015 and 16.94 million by 2050. In 1999, only 9 percent of Burundians lived in urban habitats, which was one of the lowest levels of urbanization in Africa. About 67 percent of Burundians are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics, while 23 percent hold some form of indigenous beliefs, and 10 percent are Muslims.
Approximately 99 percent of the citizens of Burundi are Rundi (or Barundi) and speak Kirundi. Kirundi and French are the country's official languages. Ethnic groups include the Hutu (85 percent), Tutsi (14 percent), and Twa (1 percent). Due to conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, and among different Tutsi groups, the country experienced mass emigration of refugees. Many people fled to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, hoping to avoid violence. The net emigration rate was estimated to be 7.43 emigrants per 1,000 people in 2000.
Burundi has a very young population with 47 percent aged 14 or younger and just 3 percent aged 65 or older. As the younger half of the population grows to maturity and reproduces, Burundi's already high population density of 260 per square kilometer (100 per square mile) is expected to reach dangerous levels. However, the terrifying death toll of the AIDS epidemic may retard such population growth.
It is estimated that 39,000 Burundians died from AIDS in 1999 and 30 percent of all 25-29 year olds were HIV positive. The national rate of HIV infection stood at 11.32 percent. The social and economic costs of the disease are high. For example, the drawn out nature of death from AIDS requires a large amount of care and attention. As a result many of the population (mostly women) who could be employed are instead providing long-term care for the dying. In addition, by 1999 the estimated number of orphans created due to AIDS in Burundi reached 230,000.
Industry is very limited in Burundi. The industrial sector accounted for 19 percent of GDP in 1990, but due to the instability caused by civil war this fell to 17 percent by 1998.
Burundi has extensive mineral reserves. By 2001, gold, tungsten, and cassiterite (tin ore) were mined on a small scale. One gold reserve was estimated to contain 60 tons of gold ore. It is estimated that about 5 percent of world nickel reserves are on Burundian territory, and there are significant reserves of uranium, platinum, and vanadium. Due to political instability, the country's landlocked status, and its limited infrastructure, many of these highly profitable mineral deposits remain untouched.
Manufacturing is based in Bujumbara. Reaching a high of US$11 million of exports in 1992, manufacturing exports fell to US$1 million by 1997. Imports of manufactured goods heavily outweigh exports with US$55 million imported in 1992, falling to US$33 million in 1997.
A key manufacturing sector within Burundi's economy is the brewing of beer. In 1996, 40 percent of all government tax receipts were received from only 1 brewery, the Dutch-and government-owned company Brarudi. Due to rising inflation Brarudi lost money throughout 1998-1999. High inflation caused a rise in the price of raw material imports used to manufacture beer. Sales fell by 10 percent in 1999 due to the price increases that were passed on to consumers. Other products manufactured in the country include soft drinks, cigarettes, soap, glass, textiles, insecticides, cosmetics, cement, and some agricultural processing.
The service sector in Burundi is of minimal importance. Credit and banking services are limited and the retail sector is based on small trading and shops. Due to the instability caused by civil war the export of commercial services declined from US$7 million in 1990 to US$3 million in 1998.
Although Burundi has a great deal to offer tourists, such as rare wildlife, beautiful green mountainous landscapes, national parks, and access to one of Africa's largest lakes (Lake Tanganyika), terrible massacres and roaming militia members act as a considerable deterrent to tourists. In 1992, before the outbreak of the political crisis, 86,000 tourists arrived in Burundi (the majority from Africa and Europe), by 1996 only 26,670 were recorded entering the country.
Burundi has no territories or colonies.
Burundi Franc (BFr). The largest Burundian note in circulation is BFr5,000 and the smallest is BFr10. There are also BFr20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 notes. The only coins in circulation are BFr1, 5, and 10.
Coffee, tea, cotton, cigarettes, soft drinks, and beer.
Cement, asphalt, petroleum, fertilizer, pesticides, textiles, and vehicles.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$885 million (purchasing power parity, 1998 est.). [Source: 2000 World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2000.]
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$56 million (1999 est.). Imports: US$108 million (1999 est.).