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General Background

Population: 1.06m
Land Area: 27,834km sq.
Poverty Ranking: 3*
Main Religions: Christian 82.8% (Roman Catholic 61.4%, Protestant 21.4%); Muslim 2.5%; Adventist 2.3%

*The ‘Poverty Rank’ figure reflects the relative poverty of a country, using the most commonly accepted index: per capital GDP (PPP). Click for further info.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the heart of Africa’, due to its distinctive shape and central location, Burundi is geographically isolated, with few resources and mounting population pressures.

In 1993, the country’s first democratically elected president was assassinated, after only 100 days in office. The event triggered widespread ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions and the conflict, which lasted for over 10 years, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Burundians and saw hundreds of thousands people flee their homes. A peace agreement in 2003 and a new constitution in 2005 paved the way for a new beginning. Political unrest and instability returned to the country in the run-up to elections in June 2015, with tens of thousands of Burundians fleeing to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

Throughout the conflict and since, the Church has sought to be a source of peace and reconciliation.

CMS Ireland engagement with Burundi
Recent META visits: 2009, 2011
Latest Annual Projects: Living Stones: Building Church in Burundi (2011)
Mission Associate: Alison Gill