flag Burundi Burundi: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Burundi's economy was still recovering from the 2015 political crisis when it was hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. After contracting by -0.3% in 2020, GDP grew at a rate of 3.1% in 2021, boosted by a rebound in primary and tertiary sector activities which benefited from relaxed restrictions measures (IMF). Economic recovery strengthened further in 2022, with GDP growth projected at 3.6% according to the IMF’s latest estimates. For 2023 and 2024, the IMF projects growth to pick up to 4.1% and 4.9%, respectively, supported by low statistical base effects, new projects in the agricultural and mining sectors, and higher government spending. However, GDP growth is exposed to downside risks resulting from uncertainties surrounding the geopolitical situation in Europe and natural disasters (IMF), and the country continues to face macroeconomic challenges, such as worsening terms of trade and rising domestic inflation, which pose a threat to the already difficult living conditions.

Since 2015, the budget deficit has been growing, mainly financed by borrowing from the local banking system, and the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing economic challenges and created sizable fiscal financing needs (IMF). Coface estimated Burundi’s government budget deficit at 7.4% of GDP in 2022, with a slightly better forecast for 2023 (-6.2%) thanks to an improvement in revenue collection. The debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 66.4% as of 2022, with the IMF expecting it to remain stable over the forecast horizon (67.6% in 2023 and 65.5% the following year). Nevertheless, there is a significant risk to debt sustainability due to the substantial stock of accumulated debt and deficits that are still projected to exist. This risk is further compounded by the high exposure of the local banking sector to the national public debt, which poses a systemic risk. The country benefited from debt relief from the IMF under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, and from the disbursement of USD 76 million under the Rapid Credit Facility. New consultations with the IMF were concluded in July 2022; however, no funded programme is expected in 2023. The conflict in Ukraine has led to an increase in the prices of essential goods like food and fuel, resulting in an overall inflation rate of 20.9% as of September 2022, up from 10.5% as of August 2021. The IMF estimated the average yearly inflation rate at 17.3% in 2022, forecasting a gradual reduction to 8.3% this year and 4.5% in 2024. Recurrent foreign exchange shortages and continued currency depreciation are major challenges (Coface). The government's priorities remain supporting economic and social recovery and addressing external financing and fiscal needs. The macroeconomic policies focus on a prudent fiscal policy, price and financial sector stability, external sustainability and increased foreign exchange reserves coverage, improved competitiveness and stronger governance (IMF).

The weak economic growth in relation to population growth is leading to a continuous rise in the poverty rate, with 87% of the population living below the World Bank's poverty measure of USD 1.90 per day in 2021. The country’s GDP rate per capita (PPP) was estimated at USD 865 in 2022 by the IMF, the lowest level in the world. Unemployment is also rampant, especially among young citizens, although according to the World Bank, the unemployment rate was 1% of the total labour force in 2020 (modelled ILO estimate). Life expectancy at birth is low, at around 62 years (World Bank). Moreover, one adult out of 15 is HIV positive and medical supplies are insufficient. Severe and moderate malnutrition affects 50% of the population and malaria cause many deaths each year.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 3.923.193.063.423.79
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 311246229248267
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 68.472.765.861.356.6
Inflation Rate (%) n/a20.
Current Account (billions USD) -0.61-0.60-0.63-0.68-0.68
Current Account (in % of GDP) -15.6-18.7-20.7-19.9-17.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Burundi Franc (BIF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 2,234.072,225.292,309.442,307.002,455.19

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 85.9 3.6 10.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 27.6 10.6 45.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) -0.8 3.2 3.1

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 4,822,3744,987,3905,134,416

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 79.80%79.94%80.00%
Men activity rate 78.03%78.19%78.25%
Women activity rate 81.51%81.63%81.69%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Burundi Press Agency (ABP)
Net Press
Burundi BBC Media Profile
Useful Resources
Presidency website
Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Development
National Bank

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Latest Update: December 2023

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