Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi (Kirundi: Republika y’Uburundi; French:République du Burundi, , is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered byRwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is considered part ofCentral Africa. Burundi’s capital is Bujumbura. The southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.
The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least five hundred years. For more than 200 years, Burundi was an independent kingdom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany colonized the region. After the First World War and Germany’s defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium.
The Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony known asRuanda-Urundi. Their intervention exacerbated social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, and contributed to political unrest in the region. Burundi gained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but a series of assassinations, coups, and a general climate of regional instability culminated in the establishment of a republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its population as one of the world’s poorest.
2015 witnessed large-scale political strife as President Pierre Nkurunziza opted to run for a third term in office, a coup attempt failed and the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections were broadly criticized by members of the international community.
In addition to poverty, Burundians often have to deal with corruption, weak infrastructure, poor access to health and education services, and hunger.
Burundi is densely populated and has had substantial emigration as young people seek opportunities elsewhere.