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Burundi: The Heart of Africa

World  (tags: Burundi, people, places, travel, sites )

- 2149 days ago -
Burundi, a country in Africa about the size of Maryland, is officially known as the Republic of Burundi.


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Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 8:04 am
Map Credit:

Burundi, a country in Africa about the size of Maryland, is officially known as the Republic of Burundi. While it is completely landlocked, Lake Tanganyika runs along its southwest border. Burundi was formed five hundred years ago and has experienced much political unrest between two of its major ethnic groups.

*5 Facts You Might Not Know

1 Only one other country in Sub-Saharan Africa exceeds Burundi's population density. There are 300 people per square mile. This population quota consists of three main ethnic groups--Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. Many emigrants are welcomed into the country on a regular basis as well.

2 Burundi's economy is almost entirely supported by agriculture. Ninety percent of the labor force is made up of subsistence farmers. Coffee is the main cash crop, responsible for over half of its exports in recent years. Although natural resources such as cobalt and copper exist in Burundi, farming continues to be the main industry.

3 Burundi ranks with four other countries as the poorest in the world. The country has experienced much war and disease. Lack of education also contributes to the low gross domestic product of Burundi.

4 Burundi was ruled by a king in the sixteenth century. For two hundred years, the Tutsi operated as the monarchs of the kingdom. However, when Germans and Belgians came to the region at the beginning of the twentieth century, it became part of a European colony.

5 Burundi has been in a process of reconstruction since 2006 when the UN directed its attention from peacekeeping to helping with the reconstruction. Peace negotiations continue to the present despite the history of conflict in this country. The last ceasefire was signed in 2008, and refugees have returned to the country. New conflicts have emerged with the arrival of 450,000 refugees who are now involved in property disputes.

More facts about Burundi

What is the capital of Burundi?

Bujumbura is the capital of Burundi and is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. It is also the largest city of the country and the main port of Burundi.

Where is Burundi located?

Burundi is a landlocked country in east-central Africa, covering an area of 10,745 square miles.

Which countries border Burundi?

Burundi is bounded on the north by Rwanda, by Tanzania on the east and south, and on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

What are the administrative divisions of Burundi?

One of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi is divided into seventeen provinces. The major provinces are: Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bururi, Karuzi, etc.

Who are the political leaders of Burundi?

President: Pierre Nkurunziza Vice President: Terence Sinunguruza

What is the currency of Burundi?
The Burundi Franc, denoted by the ISO 4217 code BIF, is the official currency of the country. It was first issued in 1963.

What is the official language of Burundi?

French, Rundi and Swahili are the official languages of Burundi.

What is the religion of Burundi?
The official religion of the country is Roman Catholicism; about 67 percent of Burundians are Roman Catholics, 23 percent practice indigenous beliefs, and 10 percent are Muslims.

What is the economy of Burundi like?

Burundi is a densely populated country with majority of the population living in extreme poverty and hunger. Poor education, unhygienic living conditions, scarcity of food, water and medical facilities, and corruption are other major problems. HIV/AIDS is rampant in Burundi, and continues to tear its economy apart.

Agriculture is the main source of revenue in Burundi, with ninety percent of the population dependent on farming. Coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, tapioca and milk are the major agricultural products. The country exports coffee, tea, sugar, and cotton. Belgium, France, Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Japan are the import partners. The export partners of Burundi are Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Rwanda and Thailand.

When is the national day of Burundi celebrated?

Burundi's Independence Day is celebrated on July 1 every year to commemorate independence from the Belgian rule in 1960. The venue for the celebrations is the Bujumbura's City Park, where people gather to participate in the independence-day festivities. Burundi's push for independence was influenced by the instability and ethnic persecution that occurred in Rwanda. In November 1959, Rwandese Hutu attacked the Tutsi and massacred thousands of them. Many Tutsi escaped to Uganda and Burundi to find freedom from persecution.

The country claimed independence on July 1, 1962, and legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi. Mwami Mwambutsa IV was named the king. On September 18, 1962, just over a month after declaring independence from Belgium, Burundi joined the United Nations.

Food of Burundi

Burundi is situated in Central Africa and has a territory full of mountains, savannas and agricultural fields, with forests in the surrounding of rivers and waters. Agriculture is spread on 80% of the country’s surface and it especially includes coffee, tea, corn, beans and manioc. Due to these characteristics, the Burundi cuisine is very representative of the African culinary culture, as it includes beans, which are the staple of Burundi cooking, exotic fruits (mainly bananas) plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, peas, maize and cereals, like corn and wheat. Not much meat is consumed in Burundi, because animal breeding is a secondary occupation; still, there are some dishes that include goat and sheep meat but cows are very sacred.

A major aspect when discussing Burundian cuisine is based on the economic conditions of the country: the Burundian people usually eat homemade food, from homemade vessels also used for drinking, carrying water and storing grain.

The Burundi food mainly constitutes plantains, beans, sweet potatoes, cabbage and tubers. The people of Burundi enjoy having ugali. Ugali is prepared by boiling cassava flour in water and making a paste of it. These are the staple food of Burundi people. In the important cities of Burundi, French bread is a hot favorite of the people. Drinking coffee and tea have become a common practice among the Burundians. Red kidney beans are such a favorite food of the Burundians, that it is a must once in a day.

Sorghum beer and urwarwa (banana beer) are the two traditional drinks of the Burundi people. The drinks are produced by themselves. The snack foods of Burundi include groundnut, sugarcane and fruits. Serving deserts along with the meal is not a custom in Burundi food culture. The people are not in the favor of cooking sweet foods. In rural areas, the Burundi foods are generally prepared over a wood fire.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 8:07 am

Yes, I know many countries claim to be the heart of Africa, but a glance at the map and Burundi too is a fair candidate. Have your passport ready, no shots needed for this trip - we are off to Burundi.

(Burma was next, but let's give them their due an list it as Myanmar)

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 8:23 am
interesting, as always Kit - thanks for the trip - I can vouch for this : the best coffee on earth is from Burundi (buy the local stuff, they export the lower quality, unlike other countries...) is a magnificent country...

Nicole W (646)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 9:13 am
thanks Kit for allowing me to travel to Burundi with you

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 9:20 am
Thank you for the spectacular adventure through Burundi. :)

SuSanne P (193)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 9:22 am
I cannot thank you enough for the tourism segments you offer us Kit! This is the 3rd I have now watched and found myself getting extremely excited while waiting for the video the begin! Africa has always been a continent I never traveled and have regretted it. I had the opportunity in 1979 to travel with a friend I met in the Puget Sound, but declined as I wanted to get back to the mountains of Colorado. The landscape is gorgeous and the people so happy, no matter what their financial situation. I must add I am pleased to read #5 on the list of facts you provided. Frans I would LOVE to taste the high quality coffee but doubt I will be traveling anytime soon. What is most attractive to me is the fact: " Burundi's economy is almost entirely supported by agriculture. Ninety percent of the labor force is made up of subsistence farmers". This excites me and I can dream of being a rocky farmer there! I enjoyed this tremendously!

SuSanne P (193)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 9:30 am
I forgot to mention I thought it *cute* that the tourist felt comfortable dancing, after drinking the traditional beer of sorghum. I have several baskets from the local women artists that are brought out for special occasions at my new home. The artists are impeccable and some of the finest I have in a very large collection from all over the world.

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 11:36 am
Thanks for this interesting country visit Kit--I appreciate the extra history information which may explain why US news has rarely mentioned them. The relative silence may align with Belgium colony history vs. French, British or Spanish.

. (0)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 11:40 am
As wonderful as this country sounds, I do not know a lot about its politics. I know that Rwasa is back in power. I don't know if this a good thing or not.

Malgorzata Zmuda (202)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 12:15 pm
Dzięki za info

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 1:38 pm
Interesting article, thank you.

Jim Phillips (3247)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 6:09 pm
Pretty and such natural beauties. Let's hope that the western culture does not spoil the
Burundi country in Africa.

Ty, Kit.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 6:49 pm

Vallee R (280)
Tuesday August 6, 2013, 6:58 pm
Always love these - thanks for the quick vacation.

Jaime Alves (52)
Wednesday August 7, 2013, 7:53 am
Noted, thanks.!!

Gloria picchetti (304)
Wednesday August 7, 2013, 8:51 am
Thank you for another lovely vacation from home!

Anna Undebeck (256)
Thursday August 8, 2013, 8:29 am
Wow- thank you Kit. Just love the video, really wanna go there now! Beautiful country. I know some people from Burundi who lives here in Sweden, and they are just wonderful kindhearted people :)

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday August 12, 2013, 10:45 am
Most informative and a great way to see the world through these vignettes you make available Kit. Many thanks.

Marliese B (69)
Sunday August 25, 2013, 6:51 am
Thank you so much for the informations about Burundi.
I'm very interested in Africa and love all about there.
My favourites are Kenya and Tanzania!
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