Discover Burundi

Country background

Burundi is a small, landlocked country with an economy dominated by subsistence agriculture. Around 90% of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood, though cultivable land is extremely scarce. Years of civil war widened poverty, increased basic social needs, and severely damaged basic economic infrastructure.

In the Human Development Index (2013), Burundi ranks at 180 out of 187 countries. 81% of the population live in extreme poverty (below $1.25/day) often without access to safe water and sanitation, quality health care and education. HIV/AIDS, malaria and waterborne diseases have a significant impact on the population. Half the population is below the age of 16.

  • Education at all levels suffers from a lack of qualified teachers, teaching materials, and adequate infrastructure. There are large disparities in education outcomes among gender and across regions.
  • There is limited access to basic social services. Many youths are under-employed because of lack of opportunities, particularly from the small private sector.
  • There is limited access to basic infrastructure. For example, less than 5% the population has access to electricity, and access to potable water supply is also very low.

However, Burundi is making the transition from a post-conflict to a stable and growing economy and the government. In a recent report by the UN Secretary-General, Burundi topped the list of countries having made the greatest strides in education, although it remains among the poorest countries in the world. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the proportion of children in school increased from 59 per cent in 2005 to 96 per cent in 2011. The fact that Burundi is just emerging from war and that its schools were then often targeted makes the progress even more remarkable [3]



2. World Bank