World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
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Burundi Travelling Guide
Burundi Travelling Guide

General background: Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated in October 1993 after only four months 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. Burundian troops, seeking to secure their borders, intervened in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998. More recently, many of these troops have been redeployed back to Burundi to deal with periodic upsurges in rebel activity. A new transitional government, inaugurated on 1 November 2001, was to be the first step towards holding national elections in three years. However, the unwillingness of the Hutu rebels to enact a cease fire with Bujumbura continues to obstruct prospects for a sustainable peace.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Maryland

Climate: Equatorial; high plateau with considerable altitude variation (772 m to 2,670 m above sea level); average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 degrees centigrade but is generally moderate as the average altitude is about 1,700 m; average annual rainfall is about 150 cm; wet seasons from February to May and September to November, and dry seasons from June to August and December to January.

Terrain: Hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains

Population: 6,373,002

Ethnic groups: Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans 3,000, South Asians 2,000

Religions: Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%

Language: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Government type: Republic

Capital: Bujumbura

Legal system: Based on German and Belgian civil codes and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with roughly 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Its economic health depends on the coffee crop, which accounts for 80% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports therefore rests largely on the vagaries of the climate and the international coffee market. Since October 1993 the nation has suffered from massive ethnic-based violence which has resulted in the death of more than 200,000 persons and the displacement of about 800,000 others. Only one in four children go to school, and more than one in ten adults has HIV/AIDS. Foods, medicines, and electricity remain in short supply. Doubts regarding the sustainability of peace continue to impede development. A Geneva donors' conference in November 2001 brought $800 million in pledges, and an IMF-staff-monitored program could lead to a further agreement in 2002.

Communication/Telephone system: Primitive system, sparse system of open wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relay. Satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean).

Places of interest:

Travel tips: Burundi remains a dangerous destination. Fighting is at its worst in outlying areas but gunfire is not uncommon on the streets of the capital, Bujumbura. Civilians, the Burundi military and government officials have been targeted.