Burundi

Burundi

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Overview

Burundi’s independence : Burundi, one of the world’s poorest nations, is struggling to emerge from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.
burundi

Burundi is a 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 capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.
The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least five hundred years and, for over two hundred years, Burundi was ruled as a kingdom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, Germany and Belgium occupied the region and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu have since contributed to political unrest in the region, leading to civil war in the middle of the twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic.

Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi was a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority. During the 1940s, a series of policies caused divisions throughout the country. On October 4, 1943, powers were split in the legislative division of Burundi’s government between chiefdoms and lower chiefdoms. Chiefdoms were in charge of land, and lower sub-chiefdoms were established. Native authorities also had powers. In 1948, Belgium allowed the region to form political parties. These factions would be one of the main influences for Burundi’s independence from Belgium.
Independence and civil war

On January 20, 1959, Burundi’s ruler Mwami Mwambutsa IV requested from the Belgian Minister of Colonies a separation of Burundi and Rwanda and a dissolution of Ruanda-Urundi. Six months later, political parties were formed to bring attention to Burundi’s independence from Europe and to separate Rwanda from Burundi. The first of these political parties was the Union for National Progress (UPRONA).
Burundi’s push for independence was influenced to some extent by the instability and ethnic persecution that occurred in Rwanda. In November 1959, Rwandese Hutu attacked the Tutsi and massacred them by the thousands. Many Tutsi escaped to Uganda and Burundi to find freedom from persecution. The Hutu took power in Rwanda by winning Belgian-run elections in 1960.

Since independence in 1962 it has been plagued by tension between the usually-dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. The ethnic violence sparked off in 1994 made Burundi the scene of one of Africa’s most intractable conflicts.

Reconstruction efforts in Burundi started to practically take effect after 2006. The UN shut down its peacekeeping mission and re-focused on helping with reconstruction. Toward achieving economic reconstruction, Rwanda, D.R.Congo and Burundi relaunched the regional economic bloc: The Great Lakes Countries Economic Community. In addition, Burundi, along with Rwanda, joined the East African Community in 2007.

The Situation
  • 1890 – The kingdoms of Urundi and neighbouring Ruanda (Rwanda) incorporated into German East Africa.
  • 1916 – Belgian army occupies the area.
  • 1962 – Urundi is separated from Ruanda-Urundi and becomes independent.
  • 1993 – Ethnic conflict claims some 300,000 lives.
  • 2015 – Unrest sparked by president’s plans to stand for third term.
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Fun Trivia Facts

Republic of Burundi
Capital: Bujumbura

  • Population:  10.4 million (UN, 2015)
  • Area:  27,816 sq km (10,740 sq miles)
  • Major languages:  Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili
  • Major religions:  Christianity, indigenous beliefs
  • Life expectancy:  50 years (men), 53 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit:  1 Burundi franc = 100 centimes
  • Main exports:  coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
  • GDP per capita:  US $900
  • Internet domain: .bi
  • International dialling code: +257

Other African Nations.

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