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Burundi is a landlocked country in cental Africa, just south of the Equator. One of the poorest countries in the world, it is just coming out of a 12 year ethnic civil war between the majority Hutu and the minority but dominant Tutsi. The BBC writes, "The ethnic violence sparked off in 1994 made Burundi the scene of one of Africa's most intractable conflicts. It is now beginning to reap the dividends of a peace process. But it faces the formidable tasks of reviving a shattered economy and of forging national unity." [1] [2]


The BBC says of the country's media:

Operating in a turbulent political climate, Burundi's media are subject to self-censorship and occasional government censorship. However, diverse political views are aired and the opposition press does function, albeit sporadically.[2]

Measuring happiness

Adrian White, who is an analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester, England, researched data to come up with a listing of countries ordered by happiness or subjective well-being. Burundi was at the bottom of the list. White according to ScienceDaily, "analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness."

"Participants in the various studies were asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life. The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. For this study data has also been analysed in relation to health, wealth and access to education." [3]

From the country listing:
1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria

23. USA

Least happy
176. Democratic Republic of Congo
177. Zimbabwe
178. Burundi


WWF writes of the deforestation in the country, "For years, surviving from war was the priority for most people in Burundi. Now, the onus is on making sure that the country can develop without sacrificing its remaining natural resource base. What are the problems?

"Deforestation of the entire country is almost complete due to forest fires, fuelwood collection, construction material needs and agricultural land expansion. All these factors are driven by overpopulation.

"Montane forests have been intensively exploited and very little of them remain. For example, a sub-montane forest, situated between 1,000 and 1,600 m in eastern Burundi, no longer exists." [4]


  • Pierre Nkurunziza, President since 2005, a Hutu (majority ethnic group) and former rebel leader



  • Population: 7,795,000
  • Capital city: Bujumbura
  • GDP per Capita: U.S. $500


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Burundi, National Geographic, accessed April 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Country profile: Burundi, BBC, accessed April 2008.
  3. "Psychologist Produces The First-ever 'World Map Of Happiness'", ScienceDaily, November 14, 2006.
  4. Environmental problems in Burundi, WWF, accessed April 2008.

External articles

External resources

  • Burundi, African Studies Center/University of Pennsylvania, accessed April 2008.
  • Burundi, U.S. Department of State, accessed April 2008.
  • Timeline: Burundi, BBC, accessed April 2008.