Natural resources, energy and environment
Burundi has quite a lot of natural resources
but its extraction is small due to political concerns
and lack of electricity. The poor expansion of the
electricity grid causes most of the country to be sunk
in the dark when the sun goes down. Extensive logging
has resulted in severe soil degradation.
Gold, tungsten (former tungsten), cassiterite
(tartar), coltan and bastnäsit (a rare mineral first
described by Wilhelm Hisinger in Bastnäs in Västmanland
in 1838) are mined on a smaller scale. There are quite
large deposits of nickel, which, however, are not
extracted due to political instability and electricity
Major exports by Burundi with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Burundi also has plenty of vanadium and is believed
to have significant amounts of uranium. Oil has been
found beneath Lake Tanganyika and in the Ruzizi Valley,
but still only test drilling has taken place. There are
also conditions for some oil extraction in some parts of
the inland area. Burundi also has some phosphates and
deposits of the unusual magnetic rock carbonatite.
The statistics on Burundi's trade in minerals are
unreliable due to extensive smuggling across the borders
of Rwanda and Congo-Kinshasa. According to the World
Bank, almost half of Burundi's mines are operated
without a permit. There is information that only one
fifth of the gold leaving the country is sold through
official exports, the rest smuggled out.
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Almost all household energy comes from wood and peat.
The industry mainly derives its energy from imported oil
According to the World Bank, only a tenth of the
population has access to electricity, and more than 90
percent of electricity consumption is in the capital
Bujumbura. Burundi has some small hydropower plants that
generate most of the domestic electricity, but the
production does not cover the entire electricity demand.
Some of the electricity must be imported.
Forest logging in combination with the livestock crop
has caused major problems with soil erosion. Burundi is
estimated to have lost 40 percent of its forest cover
between 1990 and 2010.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
440,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.0 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
95.7 percent (2015)
Three members of the CNDD-FDD are murdered
Three members of the CNDD-FDD government party are
murdered in a bar in eastern Burundi. Five men in
military clothes are said to have tied up the victims
before shooting them.
The army clashes with rebels
About 40 people are killed when fighting erupts
between government soldiers and an unidentified rebel
group near the Congo-Kinshasa border. The army claims
that 34 rebels have been killed while the army lost a
soldier. However, locals state that at least five army
soldiers have been killed. The rebels must have entered
Burundi from the Congolese region of Kivu.
The UN concludes peacekeeping efforts
After about two decades of presence in Burundi, the
UN ends its peacekeeping operations in the country. The
opposition is critical of the UN personnel being taken
home when the political situation in Burundi is so
unstable before the 2015 general elections.
Truth Commission established
After a delay of eleven years, the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission is set up to review decades of
violence in Burundi. The establishment of such a
commission was enshrined in the Arusha peace treaty in
2000 and would have been implemented by 2003. The UN
Security Council in a resolution in 2005 demanded the
establishment of the Commission. The process of
appointing participants in the Commission is boycotted
by the Tutsid-dominated party Uprona on the grounds that
its only real task is to pardon violent perpetrators.
Reconciliation cannot be achieved solely on one party's
terms, according to Uprona. The Commission consists of
six Hutus, four Tutsis and one two. The chair is the
Catholic bishop Jean-Louis Nahimana, who is a hutu,
while an Anglican archbishop from the Tutsi people is
Criticism from the UN
UN reporter on human rights issues, Michel Forst,
says that activists who question the Burundian
government are exposed to unacceptable and increasingly
harsh harassment. Civil rights activists and journalists
are subject to physical threats, threatening anonymous
telephone calls, assaults, arbitrary arrests and legal
Prison for slander by the government
Opposition leader Léonce Ngendakumana is sentenced to
one year in prison for defamation by the government. He
is said to have made false accusations against the
government and stirred up racism when, in a letter to UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, he accuses the CNDD-FDD
government of preparing for ethnic cleansing similar to
the genocide in neighboring Rwanda in 1994. Ngendakumana
leads the Democratic Alliance for Change (ADC), an
association of nine opposition parties.
Criticism of "hot campaign"
Amnesty International accuses the ruling party
CNDD-FDD of running a campaign against the opposition
ahead of the June 2015 presidential election. According
to the human rights organization, the limited freedom of
expression and assembly constitute a violation of human
rights. Amnesty particularly accuses the party's youth
association Imbonerakure of violence and harassment of
June 2015 presidential election
The Election Commission announces presidential
elections until June 26, 2015.
Party leaders agree on a code of conduct
The leaders of 44 political parties sign a code of
conduct for the 2015 elections in order to help ensure
that the elections can be conducted under free and
UN report raises concerns
A UN diplomat is then expelled for a report leaked to
local media in which the UN accuses the ruling CNDD-FDD
of distributing weapons to members of the party's youth
federation Imbonerakure. The report raises concerns
about renewed violence in the country ahead of the 2015
The UN calls for dialogue
The UN Security Council expresses strong concern
about the political situation in Burundi and calls on
the country's parties to hold a dialogue on all relevant
issues. The US ambassador calls on President Nkurunziza
to shed light on plans to change the constitution.
Constitutional proposals are voted down
With a single overweight vote, Parliament rejects the
government's proposal for a new constitution (see
November 2013). The proposals were
criticized internationally for risking the ethnic
balance. Despite Parliament's decision, the government
says President Nkurunziza can run for a third term, as
he was elected indirectly by Parliament in 2005 and not
directly by the people.
Tensions within the government
The Tutsidominated party Uprona leaves the
government, where it has had three ministers. The
tension between Uprona and the Hut-dominated CNDD-FDD
has increased since the Hutu majority began to try to
push through an extension of President Nkurunziza's term
(see November 2013). Nkurunziza
appoints a new vice president and three new Uprona
ministers, but the party's leadership says the four
represent a government-created bankruptcy and that the
appointments should be appealed to the Constitutional