In October 1993, after only 100 days in office, Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated, causing widespread violence between the Hutu, the largest ethnic group in the country, and Tutsi people. More than 200,000 Burundians died during conflicts for the next 12 years, and hundreds of thousands of people were internally displace or became refugees in neighboring countries. Although the newest government, established in 2005, signed a South Africa brokered ceasefire with the country's last remaining rebel group in 2006, Burundi still faces many similar challenges today.
Burundi is a resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. Agriculture, mainly tea and coffee, employs more than 90 percent of the population.
- Burundi's two official languages are Kirundi and French, and the people are predominantly Roman Catholic.
- Risk of infectious diseases is very high. It is estimated that 1 in every 15 adults has HIV/AIDS, and almost 40 percent of children under the age of 5 years are underweight.
- Burundi has extremely high poverty rates and extremely low education rates. Only 50 percent of children attend school, and they only go till about age 10.
- Food, medicine and electricity remain in short supply, and less than 2 percent of the population has electricity in its homes.