Republic of Burundi

République du Burundi; Republika yu Burundi

CAPITAL : Bujumbura

FLAG: The national flag consists of a white circle in the center with arms extending to the four corners. The circle contains three red stars. Upper and lower fields formed by the circle and its arms are red; the fields on the sides are green.

ANTHEM: Burundi Bwacu (Our Burundi), beginning "Burundi bwacu, Burundi buhire" ("Our Burundi, O blessed land").

MONETARY UNIT: The Burundi franc (BFr) is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, and 10 francs, and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 francs. BF R 1 = $0.0009487 (or $1 = BF R 11054) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 1 July; Assumption, 15 August; Victory of UPRONA, 18 September; 13 October; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 2 PM = noon GMT.


The main language is Kirundi, a Bantu language. Kirundi and French are the official languages. Swahili is used as a lingua franca along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area.


Burundi was formerly divided into eight provinces, but a redistricting plan in 1982 increased the number to 15—which eventually expanded to 16—each under a military governor. Each province is subdivided into arrondissements and communes; the latter total 114.


There are three main methods of fishing in Lake Tanganyika: industrial, native, and traditional. Industrial fishing, which developed after 1946, is carried on by small trawlers accompanied by several rowboats. Native fishing is in catamarans equipped with lights, nets, and engines. Traditional fishing is in pirogues equipped with lights and landing nets. The total for native and traditional fishing was 10,000 tons in 2000.


Insurance companies operating in Burundi include the Commercial Union of Insurance and Reinsurance (Union Commerciale d'Assurances et de Réassurances-UCAR), the partly state-owned Insurance Co. of Burundi (Société d'Assurances du Burundi-SOCABU), and a branch of the General Insurance of France. Motor vehicle insurance is the only compulsory coverage.


There are income taxes on businesses and individuals, and a tax on transactions. Other direct taxes are on vehicles and real estate. About twice as much money is collected from indirect taxes, of which the most important are import and export duties, and a tax on beer.


Import duties, which are levied mainly ad valorem, include a revenue duty averaging 15–35% and an import duty averaging 2– 5%. The government also levies a 4% statistical tax on all imports. Burundi is a member of the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and, as a party to the Lomé Convention, receives preferential treatment by the European Union.


Because of its ethnic conflict, limited domestic market, and lack of infrastructure, Burundi has attracted few private foreign investors. The 1979 investment code provides basic guarantees to foreign investors and the corporation tax may be waived for five years. In practice there were delays in the repatriation of profits.


Burundi has no territories or colonies.


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Daniels, Morn. Burundi. Oxford, England; Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1992.

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Jennings, Christian. Across the Red River: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Heart of Darkness. London: Phoenix, 2001.

Lemarchand, René. Burundi: Ethnocide as Discourse and Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

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Ould Abdallah, Ahmedou. Burundi on the Brink, 1993–95: A UN Special Envoy Reflects on Preventive Diplomacy. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2000.

Scherrer, Christian P. Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence, and Regional War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

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