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Country Profile

Burundi

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burundi is a small, densely populated central African nation bordering Lake Tanganyika, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. After more than 12 years of civil and ethnic strife, an electoral process deemed free and fair resulted in the installation of a democratic government in 2005. Years of fighting have devastated a historically fragile economy that depends largely on subsistence agriculture. Poor public health and education, weather disasters such as drought and floods, crop diseases and lack of infrastructure exacerbate the effects of conflict and delay recovery. Facilities for tourism, particularly outside the capital, are limited. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Burundi for additional information.

Burundi

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Burundi
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Bujumbura
Boundary Countries:

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Bujumbura:  Hospital Prince Regent Charles, Polyclinique Centrale

Main Cities:

Bujumbura, Ngozi, Bururi, Bubanza, Cibitoke, Gitega, Muyinga

Country Size: 27,830 sq km
Population: 8,390,505

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Currency: Burundi Franc (BIF)
Predominant Religions:

Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
Economic Status:

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture.

Security:

National Defense Force (Forces de Defense Nationales, FDN): Army (includes Naval Detachment and Air Wing)

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Bujumbura
B.P. 1720
Avenue Des Etats-Unis
Bujumbura, Burundi
Phone: +257 22-207-000
Fax: +257 22-222-926

Document Requirements:

A passport, visa and evidence of immunization against yellow fever are required for entry.  Travelers with an expired visa are not permitted to leave the country without acquiring an exit visa prior to departure. The latest information about visas may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Burundi, Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 342-2574, or from the Permanent Mission of Burundi to the United Nations in New York at telephone (212) 499-0001 thru 0006.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  8, Airports w/paved runways:  1

Bujumbura Airport (BJM/HBBA)
Bujumbura Airport, Burundi, BP 694, Bujumbura, BURUNDI
Tel: +257 2 23797, +257 2 22196, +257 2 23427
Fax: +257 2 23428
Customs Fax: +257 2 25931

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US Dept of State Travel Warning for Burundi, Updated 4 November 2010.
Please visit the US Dept of State website for more information at:  http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2122.html.

The State Department warns US citizens of the risks of traveling to Burundi. This notice replaces the Travel Warning for Burundi, dated May 19, 2010, to provide information regarding travel to and within Burundi, as well as revised information on security restrictions for Embassy personnel.
Burundi was plagued by a civil war from 1993 to 2006 that often involved non-governmental and non-combatant targets. In December 2008, the government and the last rebel group, the PALIPEHUTU–FNL, signed their final cease-fire agreement. During 2009, the rebels demobilized in accordance with the terms of the agreement and registered as an officially-recognized political party known as the FNL. Between May and September 2010, Burundi held a series of five elections covering all elected offices at all levels of government which domestic and international observers considered to be credible. Some opposition parties claim that the elections were fraudulent, however, and the potential for continued political conflict remains high.
Burundi continues to experience politically motivated attacks. In October 2010, an unidentified armed group attacked the Bujumbura residence of a government official. Security forces returned fire in an exchange of gunfire that lasted almost an hour. US citizens should avoid potential political targets such as party headquarters and meeting spots. Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common even in densely populated urban areas. US citizens should stay indoors, in a ground floor interior room, if gunfire occurs nearby.
There are no known armed militia groups operating in Burundi; however, weapons are easy to obtain and some ex-combatants may have turned to crime or political violence. Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to both Bujumbura and Burundi in general. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, robberies, and carjackings. Visitors should keep vehicle doors locked and windows up, and be careful when stopped in heavy traffic due to the threat of robbery. The US Embassy has received reports of armed criminals ambushing vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. The US Embassy prohibits US government personnel from walking on the streets after dark and from using local public transportation at any time. Due to a lack of resources, local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance during an emergency.
US citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. US citizens residing in or traveling to Burundi are reminded to maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind. Even seemingly peaceful sporting events can become politicized and turn violent. US citizens should monitor the situation via local media sources and the internet. Significant traffic congestion, shortages of lodging availability, and large crowds throughout the country, particularly in Bujumbura, are likely to inconvenience travelers.
The US Embassy continues to caution citizens that travel outside the capital, Bujumbura, presents significant risks, especially after nightfall. The US Embassy restricts travel of its personnel in Burundi: within 30 km of the city, employees may travel in single vehicles, but must check in and out with the Embassy. The Embassy’s Regional Security Officer (RSO) must pre-approve all Embassy personnel travel outside this approximately 30-km radius of Bujumbura, and employees must travel by an approved itinerary in two-vehicle convoys equipped with satellite phones and emergency equipment. All employee movement outside the city after dark is forbidden; the Embassy recommends that US citizens not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn. US citizens are also encouraged to avoid traveling within the city of Bujumbura after midnight.
Corruption is endemic in Burundi and contributes to an environment where the rule of law is not respected. Government officials frequently ask for bribes for providing routine services. Travelers are frequently stopped, questioned and asked for bribes by security forces at numerous official and unofficial road blocks throughout the country. Likewise, criminals who have paid off local officials may operate without fear of prosecution.
US citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning are urged to contact the US Embassy in Bujumbura for information on the latest Embassy security guidelines, and to enroll at the State Department's Travel Registration website. By enrolling, US citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
US citizens without Internet access may register directly with the US Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis. The hours for non-emergency American Citizen Services are 9:00a to 12:00p and 1:30p to 3:00p on Mondays and Wednesday, and 9:00a to 12:00p on Fridays. The Embassy Consular section can be reached by telephone, including for after-hours emergencies, at (257) 22-20-7000, or by fax at (257) 22-22-2926. Security information for US citizens in Burundi is posted at Embassy's Bujumbura's website.
For further information, consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov. Updated information on travel and security in Burundi is available at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the US and Canada, and for callers in other countries, a regular toll line at 202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00a to 8:00p ET Monday through Friday (except US federal holidays).

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  61.93 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 51.29 years  (male 50.48/female 52.12)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Polio, Yellow Fever, Meningococcal Disease, Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid, Malaria
Boosters: MMR, DPT, etc

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria is a risk for ALL of Burundi.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and Rift Valley fever are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. A number of rickettsial infections also occur in this region. Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection, is found in fresh water in the region, including Lake Malawi. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from the region) include tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities are limited in Burundi. Medicines and prescription drugs are in short supply, if not completely unavailable. Sterility of equipment is questionable, and treatment is unreliable.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 1
Referrals: 5
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis), which is transmitted through the bite of an infected tsetse fly, can be found in distinct areas of East Africa except Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, and the island countries of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The number of cases of African sleeping sickness in travelers, primarily to East African game parks, has increased in recent years.
Polio has also resurfaced in Ethiopia since 2003.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +257
Internet Country Code:  .bi

 



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