Burundi is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world according to the United Nations. Its economic and social development has been affected by the consequences of civil disorders erupting between 1993 and 2005 making Burundi a fragile state from the Great Lakes region.

The country faces in particular a strong demographic growth (2.9%), a very high population density (~360 inhab/ km²) and a very low growth domestic product (GDP) per capita. More than 90% of Burundi’s population depends on agriculture which contributes for 35% to the GDP and is mainly based on subsistence farming.

Furthermore, since the beginning of 2015, the country is gripped by a political crisis with security implications directly impacting the progress made since 2005. Since direct support to the Burundi government and institutions were temporarily suspended in March 2016, the European Union chose to redirect a part of its aid to activities directly benefitting local population and civil society. In addition, the EU still finances ongoing activities but also initiates new development operations with the communities concerned and supports humanitarian and emergency actions for the fight against poverty and for access to basic services.

The National Indicative Programme  (NIP) 2014 – 2020 under the 11thEuropean Development Fund has set aside €432 million for Burundi and outlined among the main focal sectors of the EU cooperation with the country:

  • Support for Sustainable Rural Development for Nutrition;

  • Health;

  • Energy.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 11 179 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 54 years (male), 58 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - High human development (2014): 0.4
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2006): 77.7%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2006): 20.9%
  • Low income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 152 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2007-2011): 4.3%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Agriculture and Food Security

  • 350 hectares of slope farm land have been protected against erosion
  • 26 hectares of marshland has been developed allowing for 3 harvests per year
  • 450 vulnerable women have sold their vegetables or meat on the market

Water and Sanitation

  • 75% rural households in the municipalities of Isale have access to at least 20 litres of water per day and person (up from 50% in 2010)

Employment and Social Protection

  • 610 informal workers have completed professional technical training in the areas such as car mechanics, carpentry and hairdressing
  • 260 disadvantaged and vulnerable young women have acquired basic skills to access the labour market in the fields of sewing, hairdressing, cooking, catering, agriculture

Trade and Private sector development

  • 240 micro projects in areas such as education and health have been implemented and were based on communal investment plans for local development

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • 2 200 land property certificates have been issued

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