$680 U.S. dollars per year. This is the average income of a person who lives in Burundi, recently ranked as the poorest country in the world. Burundi has a population of approximately 8,508,000 making it the 91st most populous country in the world as well as the poorest. The Republic of Burundi is located in east Central Africa, and is bordered by Rwanda, Lake Tanganyika, Congo, and Tanzania. The capital and largest city of Burundi is Bujumbura, a city with a population of approximately 330,000 people. The only other urban area in the country is Gitega, with a mere population of 38,000 inhabitants. The Republic of Burundi, most often referred to simply as Burundi, is situated on 10,740 square miles of land and is ranked as the 145th largest country in the world by geographic area. There are three main geographic terrains in Burundi and these are: the lowland area near the Great Rift Valley, the mountains, and the plateau area where most of Burundi’s population resides. Despite having few urban areas, Burundi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa and has scarce economic resources.
The Burundi national economy is a state of distress at this time, as it is currently ranked among the poorest countries in the world. There are two major underlying reasons that contribute to their poor economic state: their lack of a viable transportation network and their inability to access the sea (and its respective industries) readily. The industrial sector is essentially non-existent in Burundi, and the economy is largely composed of the agricultural industry. Most of the Burundi population participates in subsistence farming, that is they produce crops and farm for their own survival, not for export to other countries. The chief agricultural products in Burundi include: cassava, corn, plantains, coffee, and beans. Coffee is the leading export for Burundi and accounts for approximately 80 percent of the national exports. In addition to the above crops, cotton, tea, animal hides, and livestock are also produced and consequently exported. Though the manufacturing sector in Burundi is small, the country does produce processed foods, clothing and apparel, and beverages. The Burundi government has a very large outstanding foreign debt, and thus relies heavily on international economic aid for its survival.
Burundi isn’t as ethnically diverse as many other African nations are, and is largely composed of three primary ethnic groups. The ethnic groups are the Hutus (which outnumber the other groups by far), the Tutsis, and the Twa (otherwise known as the Pygmies). In general, the Tutsis have retained power and leadership in the government, while the Hutus are involved heavily in agriculture, and the Pygmies tend to be nomadic and rely heavily upon hunting and gathering. There are three main languages in Burundi, Kirundi and French, which are official languages and widely spoken, and the lesser-spoken but still used frequently, Swahili. The population of Burundi is overwhelmingly Christian, and there are few Muslims in the country.