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 that broke out in 2020. After contracting by -1% in 2020, GDP grew at a rate of 2.4% in 2021, boosted by a rebound in primary and tertiary sector activities which benefited from relaxed restrictions measures (IMF). Economic recovery should strengthen further in 2022, with GDP growth projected at 3.6% according to IMF’s latest estimates (down from a previous estimate of 4.2%). All sectors are expected to support economic growth, but the war in Ukraine will slow it down. Initially forecast at 4.7% in 2023, GDP growth is exposed to downside risks resulting from uncertainties surrounding the geopolitical situation in Europe, the end of the pandemic, and natural disasters (IMF).

After entering into recession in 2020, Burundi's economy rebounded in 2021, but the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing economic challenges and created sizable fiscal financing needs (IMF). Fiscal deficit, which doubled between 2019 and 2020, remained high in 2020/2021, estimated at -9% GDP by Coface and -7.9% GDP by the IMF. It is projected to narrow at -4.6% GDP in 2021/2022 according to the IMF, driven by an improvement in revenue collection, an increase in grants and a decrease in current spending. Coface projects a budget deficit of -8% GDP over the same period. Increased public investment are expected to negatively impact fiscal deficit in 2022/2023. Public debt increased from 67% GDP in 2020 to 72.4% GDP in 2021, and is expected to decrease but remain high in 2022 (71.2% GDP) and 2023 (67.7% GDP) (IMF). The structural trade deficit and increase in domestic debt put Burundi at a risk of debt distress (AfDB). The country benefited from a 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. Inflation increased to 8.3% in 2021, driven by higher food prices, and could accelerate to 9.2% in 2022 due to rising commodity prices (including oil prices), triggered by the crisis in Europe (IMF). However, a good harvest, positive effects of the regulation of strategic product prices, and import substitution initiatives could dampen imported inflation (IMF). Recurrent foreign exchange shortages and continued currency depreciation are major challenges (Coface). The government 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 the population growth is leading to a continuous rise in the poverty rate, which reached an estimated 87.1% in 2021 (World Bank). Burundi ranks 185th out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. Unemployment is also rampant, especially among young citizens, although according to the World Bank, unemployment rate was 1.7% of the total labor force in 2020 (modeled ILO estimate). Life expectancy at birth is low, at around 61 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 death each year.

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 3.093.353.694.004.35
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 260274293308326
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 66.066.666.467.665.5
Inflation Rate (%) 7.38.317.38.54.5
Current Account (billions USD) -0.32-0.45-0.55-0.57-0.59
Current Account (in % of GDP) -10.2-13.4-14.9-14.1-13.6

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) 86.2 3.3 10.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 28.7 10.6 44.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.9 1.4 1.3

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
Net Press
Burundi BBC Media Profile
Useful Resources
Presidency website
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Ministry of Water, Energy and Mines
Ministry of Agriculture
National Bank

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Latest Update: February 2023

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