The country has suffered terrible genocides rooted in tribal tensions, like Rwanda but far less publicized.

Over 300,000 people died in the ethnic conflict between 1993-2005.

Key dates:

1890 - The Kingdoms of Urundi and neighbouring Ruanda (Rwanda) were incorporated into German East Africa.

1916 - The Belgian army occupied the area.

1962 - Urundi was separated from Ruanda-Urundi and became independent.

1993-2005  Ethnic conflict claimed some 300,000 lives.

2015 - Protests in response to the president's plans to stand for third term.

2016 - Burundi declared the country with the lowest GDP (IMF).

Political unrest suffocated the economy, which has not yet recovered.

Over 400,000 fled the country and over 100,000 were internally displaced.

Some have since returned but many are still refugees in other countries including Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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Burundi is bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda. Much of its Western border is the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika. There is a well known local saying: 'Ahari amahoro umuhoro uramwa.' (Rundi) means 'Where there is peace, a sickle can be used to shave your beard or cut your hair.' In other words, 'Where there is peace, everything is possible.' Ethnic groups in Burundi include the Hutus, Tutsis and Twa (Batwa or pygmies). The pygmies are former forest dwellers who have been displaced from their hunting ground. They often still live in mud huts with no sanitation.


Population: 10.86 million

Area: 27,816 sq m

Burundi is the most densely populated nation in Africa. Many people seek to emigrate.


The prime economy is agricultural but the nation is land-poor. Main exports are tea and coffee. The GDP value of Burundi represents less than 0.01 percent of the world economy. 


67% live in poverty.

Food insecurity is an ongoing issue.

Fewer than two people in every 100 have electricity in their home.

Only one in two children go to school.

There is just one doctor per 34744 people.

One in five adults has AIDs. 

Burundi was declared the world's unhappiest nation by the United Nations Happiness report in March 2018.

Average life expectancy is just 50.

March 2020 saw coronavirus reach Burundi, yet another blow to its recovery. 

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Every donation, small or large makes a difference to someone in Burundi. The needs in Burundi are great, but your giving will make a huge difference!

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