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.
- The United States established diplomatic relations with Burundi when it gained its independence from Belgium in 1962. Following independence, the country experienced political assassinations, ethnic violence, and cyclical periods of armed conflict; several governments were installed following military takeovers and government overthrows. 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 triggered an attempted government overthrow and subsequent violence, leading to massive refugee outflows to neighboring countries. Evariste Ndayishimiye won the May 2020 presidential election, succeeding Nkurunziza, who died unexpectedly in June 2020.
- The United States supports the achievement of long-term stability, prosperity, and good governance in Burundi through broad, inclusive justice and accountability; humanitarian assistance; economic growth; and the promotion of political openness, respect for human rights, and expansion of democratic principles. The United States seeks to facilitate Burundi’s deeper integration into regional and international markets in order to promote sustainable economic development.
U.S. Assistance to Burundi
- 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 strengthen health systems, improve health outcomes, and strengthen global health security, the United States and Burundi have made substantial progress in combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, improving maternal and child health, and reducing the high rate of chronic malnutrition.
- U.S. foreign assistance also promotes private sector-led economic growth, emphasizing agricultural value chains like coffee to reinforce profits and improve the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families. U.S. foreign assistance also prioritizes women and youth, increasing women’s access to and ownership of productive assets and fostering job skills among youth. These investments are foundational to ensuring that all members of society can participate in Burundi’s development and progress.
- The United States addresses democracy, human rights, and governance priorities by strengthening civil society organizations (CSOs) engaged in advancing respect for human rights, improving governance, and fighting corruption. Current work in this space builds capacity and strengthens the network of CSOs, promoting government accountability and anti-corruption efforts. Activities emphasize, among other goals, promoting respect for human rights, countering human trafficking, and advancing women’s economic empowerment, including the promotion of their full participation in economic decision-making.
- The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration provides humanitarian assistance to support refugees hosted in Burundi and the reintegration of Burundian returnees. Burundi hosts more than 87,000 refugees and asylum seekers primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many of whom have lived in Burundi for decades. Following the violence of 2015-2016, more than 400,000 Burundians fled to neighboring countries. Since his inauguration, President Ndayishimiye has repeatedly called for Burundian refugees to return home. Since 2017, UNHCR has facilitated the return of over 200,000 Burundians, but nearly 260,000 Burundians remain as refugees in the region.
- Due to the significant efforts of the government of Burundi to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, and refer victims to assistance during the reporting period, Burundi was upgraded from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 classification in the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.
- Embassy Bujumbura’s Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) manages an HIV/AIDS prevention program and supports the professionalization of the Burundi National Defense Force (BNDF) using Department of Defense funding. Following an extended suspension of assistance due to Burundi’s previous Tier 3 classification in the annual Trafficking in Persons report, the Department of State is exploring options to restart limited assistance to the BNDF contingent operating as peacekeepers in Somalia in support of the African Union Transition Mission – Somalia (ATMIS), which replaced AMISOM in 2022.
U.S.-Burundi Economic Relationship
- 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 wheat, machinery, and textiles. The United States imports coffee and other agricultural products from Burundi. U.S. private sector investment in Burundi is limited, although U.S. companies, with support from Power Africa and the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, are expanding investments in the clean energy sector, including solar and run-of-the-river hydro projects. Burundi’s designation as a beneficiary country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was terminated as of January 1, 2016.
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.
- Burundi maintains an embassy in the United States at Suite 408, 2233 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007 (tel. 202-342-2574).
- More information about Burundi is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Burundi Page
USAID Burundi Page
History of U.S. Relations With Burundi
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics