More information about Burundi is available on the Burundi Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
In 1962, the United States established diplomatic relations with Burundi when it gained its independence from Belgium. Following independence, the country experienced political assassinations, ethnic violence, and cyclical periods of armed conflict; several governments were installed through coups. The 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement provided a negotiated settlement framework that, along with later ceasefire agreements, led to the end of the 1993-2006 civil war. Former President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third presidential term in 2015 sparked protests in the capital and was followed by a failed coup d’etat. The resulting violence and political and economic crises led to massive refugee flows to neighboring countries. Nkurunziza pledged not to run again in 2020 in a surprise move to give up presidential power while retaining the role of patron and senior statesmen in chief. Evariste Ndayishimiye was declared the victor of May 2020 presidential elections and will succeed Nkurunziza, who died unexpectedly on June 8, 2020.
The United States supports the achievement of long-term stability, prosperity, and good governance in Burundi through broad, inclusive reconciliation; humanitarian assistance; economic growth; and the promotion of political openness and expansion of democratic freedoms.. The United States seeks to facilitate Burundi’s deeper integration into regional and international markets as a means to promote sustainable economic development.
U.S. Assistance to Burundi
Through USAID, the majority of U.S. foreign assistance in Burundi contributes to improving the health status of the Burundian population and responds to urgent humanitarian needs. Through programs that support the Government of Burundi’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria, improve maternal and child health, and reduce the high rate of chronic malnutrition, the United States is the largest donor working toward improved health outcomes in Burundi. In 2019 and 2020, the United States has already provided more than $45 million in emergency humanitarian assistance for Burundi. U.S. foreign assistance also promotes private sector-led economic growth, emphasizing agricultural value chains like coffee to reinforce profits and livelihoods for tens of thousands of families. At the same time, U.S. development assistance prioritizes women and youth, increasing women’s access to and ownership of productive assets and fostering job skills among youth who might otherwise turn to less savory activities to make a living. These investments are foundational to ensuring that all members of society can participate in Burundi’s development and progress.
The embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) manages a Department of Defense HIV/AIDS prevention program and supports the professionalization of the Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF). BNDF contingents deployed to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) receive peacekeeping operations training. In addition, OSC has contributed more than $100,000 worth of critical medical supplies and equipment to Burundian hospitals fighting the outbreak of COVID-19, responding more quickly than any other U.S. government entity.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Burundi’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was suspended in October 2015, with no change in status as of 2020’s first biennial report to Congress by the U.S. Trade Representative. The United States has signed trade and investment framework agreements with the East African Community and with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Burundi is a member of both regional organizations. The primary U.S. exports to Burundi include computer and electronic products. The United States imports coffee and other agricultural products from Burundi.
Burundi’s Membership in International Organizations
Burundi and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Burundi is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: