|Burundi is an independent African country, about the size of Wales, lying at the north end of Lake Tanganyika. It is landlocked, bordering Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is densely populated with a population of over 6 million.
Historically, it was ruled by a king, with chiefs under him. It was visited by the explorers David Livingstone and H M Stanley. It was annexed by Germany to become part of German East Africa together with Tanganyika. After the First World War it became a League of Nations protectorate under the Belgians - combined as Ruanda-Urundi with the similar-sized country, now called Rwanda, to the north. Both countries received independence, separately, in 1962.
Burundi has suffered many years of inter-ethnic violence which culminated in a civil war. This resulted in millions of refugees fleeing to the neighbouring countries -- Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Some who fled have spent most of a lifetime in refugee camps. Following a peace accord, there were democratic elections in 2005. The new president, Peter Nkurunziza, has committed himself to national unity and the refugees displaced internally and in neighbouring countries have begun to return. Peace is still fragile.
As a result of the Peace Accord, there has been a massive resettlement process for the Internally Displaced People and resettlement of the hundreds of thousands who have returned from refugee camps abroad. Inevitably, there are conflicts over land rights.
Burundi joined the East African Community and has since developed
increasingly close economic links with the other countries (Kenya, Rwanda,
Tanzania and Uganda).
In recent years the number and influence of the Muslim population has increased.
Burundi is a mountainous country, intrinsically healthy, and has become very densely populated, to a level that is hard to sustain. Soil erosion and exhaustion of nutrients make farming increasingly hard. The country has few natural resources and is one of the poorest in the world.
In recent years, the situation has been aggravated by prolonged droughts and severe flooding, possibly related to global warming.
Like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV and AIDS not only causes immense personal tragedies but effects productivity at both family level and nationally.
Friends of Burundi seeks to help in a small way by assisting those who seek to alleviate the spiritual physical and emotional needs of the country. Friends of Burundi has linked with projects as diverse as famine relief, AIDS counselling, reconciliation ministries and Bibles for prisoners.
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