Burundi’s economy on verge of collapse

Thousands of people flee the country because of civil unrest, pushing economy to collapse in Burundi

Photo by: Getty Images
Photo by: Getty Images

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi has been experiencing civil unrest since April when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid for a third-term in the upcoming presidential elections.

Trying to take advantage of a truce in anti-government protests, Renovat Ndayizeye, a local in Burundi’s capital, reopened his market, but has been unable to sell even a single pair of shoes since demonstrations began weeks ago, and the economical situation has been worsening according to AFP.

"I haven't worked since the protests began, we are living on our savings, and now I have nothing," a 26-year old salesman told AFP.

Business in Burundi has stopped since protests against Nkurunziza began, leading to almost daily, violent clashes with police. 

Burundi was devastated during a 13-year civil war that ended in 2006 and is one of the poorest countries in the world. The gross national income (GNI) per capita is $260 and 58 percent of the population suffers chronic malnutrition.

Burundi economy

Burundi’s main economic drivers are coffee and bean export. Economic growth remained stable last year in Burundi, at about 4.7 percent, driven by a rebound in coffee production and increased work in the construction industry.

The member states of the East African Community (EAC) have forged ahead with plans to boost the region's economy, aiming to create a single market.

Multi-billion dollar projects, such as new roads, building a 1,720 kilometre rail line through East Africa to the export hub of Mombasa, or constructing an oil pipeline across the region, underline the EAC’s investment in developing the region's economy.

EAC wants Burundian capital Bujumbura to be a part of the trade routes across East Africa.

TRTWorld and agencies