At present, there are 48 countries designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” (LDCs). These are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.
The idea of rehabilitating the virtues of Ubushingantahe and the “bashingantahe council,” or the group of people who embody those virtues on the community level, is not a new one in Burundi. In 1991, when the government of Burundi organized discussions on democratisation throughout the country, many people brought up the concept of Ubushingantahe and suggested that any reputable polity must be based on persons who had these virtues. This paper will focus on the ways that bashingantahe councils can enhance human security, peaceful coexistence, and stability. The project of revisiting the usefulness of Ubushingantahe responds to current political crisis in Burundi as well as to the social and political upheavals in that country caused by its many cycles of violence.
Given the difficult global context, the continued resilience of economic growth in the Eastern Africa region has been quite remarkable. But this strong performance has increasingly been accompanied by growing (and sometimes quite vocal) concerns over the quality of the growth – particularly the extent to which growth has been conducive to broad-based poverty reduction and employment creation. Across the region, there is evidence to support the idea that, despite a much improved economic performance in the 2000s after two decades of economic stagnation, a lot of social and economic aspirations have still not been fulfilled. One example of this is that, although USD 1.25-a-day poverty has been reduced in relative terms in the region (from 65 per cent of the population in 2000 to 54 per cent of the population in 2011), the absolute number of citizens living below the international poverty line has actually increased, from 155 million to 166 million over the same period.
The East African Community (EAC) countries’ economic growth performance during the past decade has been impressive:1 at 6.2 percent, the EAC’s (unweighted) average growth rate in 2004–13 is in the top one-fifth of the distribution of 10-year growth rate episodes experienced by all countries worldwide since 1960. Such performance is even more remarkable taking into account that the past decade encompasses the global economic and financial crisis that began in 2007. Will this prove to be an isolated episode, with growth returning to lower levels in the years ahead, or is strong growth going to persist?
Rwanda and Burundi are two small neighboring countries in East-Central Africa that share the same ethnic composition: approximately 85-90 percent Hutu, 10-14 per- cent Tutsi, and 1 percent Twa. Their climate, topography, population density (the highest and the second highest in Africa, respectively), predominantly agrarian econ- omy, religion, language, and history are also very similar. Most significant, they both have been theaters of massive violence between their main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. Given these similarities, it is no surprise that most analysts approach mass violence in both countries in an almost identical manner. Kuper describes Rwanda and Burundi separately but treats them as examples of the same processes of polarization based on overlapping inequalities. Comparative political scientists almost always lump Rwanda and Burundi together. Gurr treats them both as “ethnoclass” conflicts; Harff categorizes them both as “politicides against politi- cally active communal groups”; and Stavenhagen treats them as resulting from the overlap of both socioeconomic and ethnic divisions.
This volume contains the proceedings of a Conference on Structural Adjustment, held In Bujumbura on May23 – 25, 1990. The Conference was initiated and managed by the Government of Burundi, and in particular by the Permanent Secretariat of the Monitoring Committee of the Structural Adju3tment Program. Funding for the Conference was provided by the Burundi Mission of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and by the European Economic Community. Contributions towards the organization of the Conference were made by the Center for Research on Economic Development (CRED), which was also responsible for the editing of this volume.
The “Peace Beyond Borders” Programme was initiated by Oxfam and is being implemented by a consortium of ten national and international organisations in the Great Lakes Region (Burundi, Rwanda, DRC). The Programme seeks to advance Conflict Transformation in the Great Lakes Region through the adoption of a ‘Regional Roadmap to Peace’ by a ‘Virtual Regional Parliament’ constituted by ‘Peace Brokers’ selected from local affected communities in the region. Parallel to the ‘Roadmap to Peace’, a Women Agenda for Peace and a Youth Agenda for Peace will be adopted. At the foundation of the Programme and these various regional instruments is research conducted among their intended beneficiaries: citizens in Burundi, DRC (North Kivu and South Kivu), and Rwanda. This Policy Brief presents a concise overview of the principal findings from the first phase of research conducted by Impunity Watch, as well as preliminary results from a separate research study into the major preoccupations of a sample of women and youth in the region. The latter results are preliminary since the data is currently in the process of being coded by Impunity Watch, as of January 2015. Consequently, the results are necessarily raw, but provide initial insight into the views of a sample of women and youth in the region. All of the research was designed and conducted with the explicit intention of bringing forward the views of the local affected populations in the region.
Burundi is emerging from a decade and a half of bloody civil war.Consequently, it is one of the poorest countries in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of USD 230 in 2012 (USD 286 before the 1993 crisis).
With 27,834 km² of surface area and a population of 10.5 million, Burundi’s population density is seven times that of Tanzania and second only to Rwanda’s on the African mainland (World Bank, 2014). Its population grows at an annual rate of 2.4%, and more than 90% of the population lives primarily on agriculture. These factors make land a vital and scarce resource in Burundi, leading to frequent conflicts and particular complications in questions of inheritance (Kazoviyo & Gahungu, 2011). The situation is even more problematic for women and girls, who traditionally inherit nothing from their fathers. In Burundi, women’s right to inherit land faces the triple barriers of demography, tradition, and the law.
This study analyses Burundi’s economic performance over the period 19602000 and finds that it has been catastrophic. The usual economic factors explaining growth are endogenous to political decisions, suggesting that it is politics not economics that explains the dismal performance. This picture particularly limits the relevance of textbook models that rely on the assumption of a competitive resource allocation rule. When cronies rather than qualified managers are running the economy, when priority is given to investment projects in function of their location rather than the objective needs of the economy, the economic model loses its explanatory power. Economic performance has been shaped by the occurrence of violent conflicts caused by factions fighting for the control of the state and its rents. The capture of rents by a small group have become the overarching objective of the successive governments that have ruled the country since shortly after its independence. Therefore, the economic system will not change unless the political system is modernised from a dictatorial regime playing a zero-sum game to a more democratic and accountable regime. Therefore, it would be naïve to propose that economic reforms will boost the country’s economy if they are not preceded or at least accompanied by political reforms. One central message of this study is that Burundi’s poor economic performance is the result of specific identifiable factors evolving around governance. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Burundi: Development failure may be reversed if the issues identified in the study are properly addressed.