Burundi is a small landlocked country (27,830 sq.km) and one of the five poorest countries in the world. It is also the second most densely populated country in Africa (with approximately 11.18 million people – 470 inhabitants per square kilometer). Nearly 64.9% of the population live below the poverty line. Poverty in Burundi is overwhelmingly rural and most of the country’s poor are small-scale farmers. Burundi economy is heavily reliant on agriculture which employs 90% of the population, though cultivable land is extremely scarce.

Political Context

Burundi’s history as an independent country is characterized by high political instability and violence. Since the Arusha Peace Accord in 2000, Burundi enjoyed relative stability and economic recovery. President Nkurunziza’s reelection in 2015 triggered a political crisis that claimed over 500 lives and displaced 300,000 peoples (UNHCR). While violence has drastically decreased across the country including Bujumbura in 2016, targeted assassinations continue. In October 2016, Burundi’s government has announced the country intends to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ruling party CNDD-FDD has tightened its control over the key state positions. UN resolution 2303 to send 228 police force in Burundi is rejected by the Government backed by the Parliament. Following the recommendations of the preliminary report of the National Dialogue Commission, the Government of Burundi has set up a committee to review the constitution in view of aligning it with EAC member countries. Facilitator Mkapa has led a series of consultations in Bujumbura on 7-9 December 2016 with the authorities, leaders of political parties and leaders of Civil Society Organizations, Youth, Women and religious organizations.

 

With thanks to World Bank [source]