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Country Reports

Burundi Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The ruling CNDD-FDD party dominates the state at all levels, and President Pierre Nkurunziza intends to extend his rule into the long term. Announced plans to amend the constitution to remove term limits (allowing Nkurunziza to run for a fourth term), and power-sharing arrangements in May 2018 will risk increased anti-government militancy and military coup attempts. This risks small-arms violence in Bujumbura and inter-ethnic violence nationwide. Police and military operations are regularly accused of arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings. Key government decisions remain the exclusive purview of Nkurunziza and his inner circle of former civil-war generals, rendering the policy-making process unpredictable. Perceived opposition-linked businesses and NGOs are likely to facelegal investigation and forced closure. The ongoing political instability and violence will dampen the near-term economic outlook.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

Burundi's operational environment remains highly challenging, with roads, electricity, and telephone access all limited. Continuing political instability and insecurity frustrate the rehabilitation of Burundi's infrastructure, which was severely impacted by the 1993–2005 civil war. Corruption is an endemic problem, reaching the highest levels of government, and Burundi has been identified as the most corrupt country in the East African Community (EAC). The level of bureaucracy and regulation has reached high levels because of political expediency and the need to accommodate former militants in an expanded government structure and civil service.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Announced plans by President Pierre Nkurunziza's ruling CNDD-FDD party to amend the constitution, removing term limits and power-sharing arrangements, risk triggering a resurgence in militancy, particularly in Bujumbura and Burundi's northwest. The arrest of the DRC-based FPB militant group's top two leaders reduces its ability to stage more sophisticated raids into Bujumbura. However, the relocation of elements of the FPB's forces closer to the border still allows for raids into Burundi's northwest, primarily aimed at security forces and government targets. The DRC-based FNL-Nzabampema militant group poses kidnapping and road cargo theft. There is an increased risk of ethnic fighting in Bujumbura, and southern and western regions.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks

Very high

Security force purges following the failed May 2015 coup attempt have shored up President Nkurunziza's control of these institutions. However, opposition to the president within the military continues and will likely be exacerbated by changes to constitutional term limits, ethnic quotas, and power-sharing arrangements by February 2018. Such changes risk triggering coup attempts and small arms fighting between different factions within the security services in Bujumbura, and ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis nationwide. Violence directed against Burundi's minority ethnic-Tutsi community would likely trigger Rwandan intervention in the form of material support for anti-Nkurunziza armed groups, risking wider civil war in Burundi

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

President Nkurunziza and the ruling CNDD-FDD party's attempts to change the constitution to allow him to run for a fourth term, and to remove power-sharing provisions, will probably trigger violent but short-lived anti-government protests around the (likely) February 2018 referendum, particularly at night in the 'opposition' neighbourhoods of the capital, Bujumbura. Protests outside Bujumbura would be less likely, but would be most probable in Bujumbura Rural and Mwaro provinces. Tax increases affecting ordinary citizens and perceived high fuel prices would be likely to spark protests and strikes in Bujumbura. Peaceful (state-organised) pro-government rallies will likely take place regularly in Bujumbura.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk

Extreme

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: June 1, 2016

Natural Risks

High

Heavy rains during the country's rainy season (February to May) commonly cause flash floods and may result in hazardous mudslides, damage to infrastructure, and significant disruption to travel in the country.

Bujumbura is located in close proximity to an active fault line; though earthquakes are infrequent, there remains the possibility of a large-magnitude earthquake. Previous regional earthquakes have been felt in the region, though there has been no infrastructure damage or casualties.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

High

Though national highways are in fairly good condition, most interior roads are in a poor state, often making travel by road extremely dangerous; drivers often have aggressive driving habits, making serious accidents common. Poor vehicle maintenance and driving standards make traveling by public transport (including taxis, mini-buses, and "moto" motorbike-taxis) potentially unsafe.

Road blocks and identification checkpoints are common. There have been increasing reports of robberies at fake police checkpoints. Access to and from Bujumbura is controlled by police at night.

Though all airports are currently open, given recent instability flights could be canceled and airports forced to close on short notice. Since the outburst of violence in December 2015, Kenya Airways, RwandAir, and FlyDubai have canceled their flights to and from Bujumbura.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Infrastructure

The country has limited infrastructural development, especially outside of Bujumbura. Prolonged power outages and water shortages are regularly reported in the summer, even in Bujumbura.  

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

Burundi has a tropical climate. Temperatures vary depending on elevation. In the lower regions (the Imbo Plain) temperatures can reach 23°C while in higher regions (Mount Heha), they seldom go above 15°C.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +257
Police: 22 22 51 25

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: November 20, 2013