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Country analysis

Burundi


Burundi has a history of political upheaval and ethnically motivated conflict, having experienced episodes of mass killings and ethnic violence against specific communities in 1972 and 1988, as well as civil war from 1993–2004.

During President Pierre Nkurunziza’s unconstitutional third term from early 2015 to early 2020, the country faced a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. Under his ruling an estimated 1,200 people were killed and 400,000 displaced to neighbouring countries. Since President Évariste Ndayishimiye’s term began in June 2020, some positive changes have taken place, such as the resumption of fiscal and foreign aid after the lifting of financial sanctions in June 2021. On the other hand, human rights violations have continued. There are also significant restrictions on the freedom of the media and civil society.

Intermittent periods of political instability and conflict affect the economy. Burundi has the lowest estimated gross domestic product per capita in the world in 2023.

Natural disasters continue to affect communities and drive internal displacement. The rising water level of Lake Tanganyika, driven by climate change, has also caused long-term internal displacement.

Nearly 259,000 Burundian refugees were in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda as at January 2023. The voluntary repatriation of refugees to Burundi has been continuing since 2017. Returnees face food insecurity and limited access to health services, housing, and land, livelihood opportunities.

(UN PBF 31/01/2023, René 27/06/2008, Africa Center 24/09/2019, Africa News 22/06/2021, IOM 26/01/2023, The EastAfrican 20/04/2022) Statista

accessed 30/01/2023, UNHCR accessed 31/01/2023)

Burundi has a history of political upheaval and ethnically motivated conflict, having experienced episodes of mass killings and ethnic violence against specific communities in 1972 and 1988, as well as civil war from 1993–2004.

During President Pierre Nkurunziza’s unconstitutional third term from early 2015 to early 2020, the country faced a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. Under his ruling an estimated 1,200 people were killed and 400,000 displaced to neighbouring countries. Since President Évariste Ndayishimiye’s term began in June 2020, some positive changes have taken place, such as the resumption of fiscal and foreign aid after the lifting of financial sanctions in June 2021. On the other hand, human rights violations have continued. There are also significant restrictions on the freedom of the media and civil society.

Intermittent periods of political instability and conflict affect the economy. Burundi has the lowest estimated gross domestic product per capita in the world in 2023.

Natural disasters continue to affect communities and drive internal displacement. The rising water level of Lake Tanganyika, driven by climate change, has also caused long-term internal displacement.

Nearly 259,000 Burundian refugees were in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda as at January 2023. The voluntary repatriation of refugees to Burundi has been continuing since 2017. Returnees face food insecurity and limited access to health services, housing, and land, livelihood opportunities.

(UN PBF 31/01/2023, René 27/06/2008, Africa Center 24/09/2019, Africa News 22/06/2021, IOM 26/01/2023, The EastAfrican 20/04/2022) Statista

accessed 30/01/2023, UNHCR accessed 31/01/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

30 March 2023

Heavy rainfall and flooding from 19–25 March 2023 affected more than 12,800 people and displaced nearly 30 in Mukaza and Kayanza communes. The majority of the people affected were in Kayanza commune.


127 homes were either partially flooded or damaged, while three classrooms were destroyed. Some farmland was also inundated. The affected population needs food, shelter, WASH, and NFIs.
(IOM 30/03/2023)

current crises
in Burundi


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

BDI001 - Complex crisis

Last updated 26/01/2024


Drivers

Violence
Displacement
Floods

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

3.3 High

Access constraints

2.0

Analysis products
on Burundi

Burundi: Floods

28 April 2020

Burundi: Floods

DOCUMENT / PDF / 452 KB

Heavy rains, winds, landslides and consequent flooding occurred in the west of Burundi from April 13-20 in Cibitoke, Bubanza, Rumonge, Bujumbura Mairie, and Bujumbura Rural provinces, following on from heavy rains in mid-March; no deaths were reported. In Rumonge and Bubanza provinces, between 700-800 people were affected by the storms and landslides, with up to 700 of those displaced. In Bujumbura city in Bujumbura Mairie, riverine flooding displaced 27,000 people.

Natural hazards
Burundi: Displacement from DRC

02 February 2018

Burundi: Displacement from DRC

DOCUMENT / PDF / 980 KB

Escalation of fighting between the armed forces of the DRC and armed groups in South Kivu province, DRC, have caused large population movements in January both internally and across Lake Tanganyika to Burundi. About 7,000 people arrived in Burundi between 24 and 29 January and new arrivals have been reported daily since then. 

Displacement
Burundi: Electoral Violence

18 March 2016

Burundi: Electoral Violence

DOCUMENT / PDF / 599 KB

Socio-political tensions are rising in Burundi with the approach of parliamentary and presidential elections in May and June, and the constitutional court’s approval of President Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. Mass protests since 26 April have turned violent. More than 39,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. Inter-ethnic tensions, a rift between the military and the police, and an existing challenging humanitarian situation are all potential aggravating factors. 

Conflict and violence
Tanzania: Displacement from Burundi

18 March 2016

Tanzania: Displacement from Burundi

DOCUMENT / PDF / 487 KB

Political tensions in Burundi escalated after the President announced his intention to run for a third term in April. Violent protests in the capital have killed 20 and injured 200. On 13 May, leaders of the army attempted a coup, which failed after two days of violent clashes. The situation remains tense and people are fleeing the country. 

Displacement
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