Portal:Burundi

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Burundi (Rwanda-Rundi pronunciation: [buˈɾundi]), officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its size is just under 28,000 km² with an estimated population of almost 8,700,000. Its capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

The Twa, Tutsi, and Hutu peoples have occupied Burundi since the country's formation five centuries ago. Burundi was ruled as a kingdom by the Tutsi for over two hundred years. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

Political unrest occurred throughout the region because of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, provoking civil war in Burundi throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic. Sixty-two percent of Burundians are Roman Catholic, eight to ten percent are Muslims and the rest follow indigenous beliefs and other Christian denominations.

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world. Burundi has a low gross domestic product largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Burundi is densely populated, with substantial emigration. Cobalt and copper are among Burundi's natural resources. Some of Burundi's main exports include coffee and sugar.

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The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. While generally, the member nations are largely in favor of the East African Federation, informal polls indicate that most Tanzanians (80% of its population) have an unfavorable view. Tanzania has more land than the other EAC nations combined, and some Tanzanians fear landgrabs by the current residents of the other EAC member nations. Land scarcity is a recurring issue in East Africa, particularly in Kenya, where clashes on the Kenyan side of Mount Elgon in 2007 left more than 150 dead and forced at least 60,000 away from their homes.

The first major step in establishing the East African Federation is the customs union in East Africa signed in March 2004 which commenced on 1 January 2005. Under the terms of the treaty, Kenya, the region's largest exporter, will continue to pay duties on its goods entering the other four countries until 2010, based on a declining scale. A common system of tariffs will apply to goods imported from third-party countries. (Read more...)

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View of bujumbura.JPG
Credit: Hubert Schonberg

A view of Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi.

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Pierre Nkurunziza - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg

Pierre Nkurunziza (born 18 December 1963) is the President of Burundi and chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). The CNDD was an ethnic Hutu rebel group in Burundi, but transformed itself into a political party.

Nkurunziza was born in 1963 in Burundi's capital city of Bujumbura. He attended primary school in Ngozi province and secondary school in Kitega before graduating from the University of Burundi in 1990. At the university, he majored in education and sports.

His father, Eustache Ngabisha, was elected to the Parliament of Burundi in 1965 and later became governor of two provinces before being killed in 1972 during a period of ethnic violence that claimed the lives of over 100,000 Burundians.

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