Despite the consolidation of independence policy, the economic situation was still difficult due to its geographical location and dependence on foreign countries. The difficult-to-reach nature of Burundi exacerbates and overwhelmingly both imports and exports. Population density is very high and is evenly distributed, with 70% of the inhabitants concentrated in the north, where the intensive and unbalanced use of the soil causes erosion that degrades fertility. Wood, in the form of firewood or coal, is the primary source of energy in households, but the country’s forests are not sufficient to supply the population. 90% of agricultural production goes to the domestic market. Economically, there are high hopes for the rich deposits of nickel and there is a rich potential for hydropower. Belgian and North American companies participate in a development program for the mines in Musongati, where there are also deposits of cobalt and uranium.
While Bagaza attended a meeting of French-speaking countries in Quebec in September 1987, he was ousted by a bloodless coup led by Major Pierre Buyoya.
The confrontations between Hutus and Tutsis in the northern part of the country in August 1988 resulted in thousands of deaths, mainly Hutus, whose rebellion against the land-owning Tutsis was fought by the army, which predominantly consisted of Tutsis. About 60,000 Hutus fled to Rwanda. In response to the massacre, the government appointed the hutu Adrien Sibomana as prime minister and head of a government in which half the ministers were hutu.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does BI stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Burundi. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
In 1989, most of the refugees returned. The military government was reconciled with the Catholic Church and its properties restored. A structural adjustment program was launched, which involved the privatization of state-owned enterprises and the formation of a “backward police” to fight corruption.
Burundi, which is among the world’s 8 poorest countries, continued to depend on the most important crop, the coffee, and the falling world market price. Poverty and population density are a contributing factor to environmental degradation. Deforestation is largely due to land conversion for landless farmers.
Buyoya made a proposal for a new constitution with the participation of several parties and printed new elections to hold in 1993. Buyoya, leader of the Party of Unity and National Progress, whose leaders are mainly Tutsis, lost the election to Melchior Ndadaye of the opposition party Burundi’s Democracy Front, whose followers are found among the Hutus.
Ndadaye was assassinated 3 months after his deployment, October 24, 1993, during a failed military coup. Prime Minister Sylvia Kinigi, who had sought refuge in the French embassy, was fortunate to have control of the situation. The leaders of the uprising were arrested or fled to Zaire. Cyprien Ntaryamira, a hutu of the same political observance as Ndadaye was appointed by parliament as president.
Although the coup failed, the killing of Ndadaye led to one of the worst extinction campaigns in Burundi’s history. Supporters of the former president attacked members of the party for Unity and National Progress, whether they were Hutus or Tutsis. It resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of civilians and forced about 700,000 to flee. At this time, the so-called “extremist, armed militias” were established, which opposed coexistence with other ethnic groups, such as the Tutsi from “The Undefeated” or the Hutus from “Intagohekas” (“Those Who Never Sleep”) and the violence began to spread.
Ntaryamira, along with Rwanda President Juvénal Habyarimana, was killed by an attack on their plane in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on April 6, 1994. Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, also hutu, followed the assassinated president. Violence intensified, especially between the Hutu militias and the army controlled by Tutsis.
The Unity and National Progress Party stepped out of government cooperation, forcing President Anatole Kanyenkiko to resign. His departure enabled the appointment of a Tutsi, Antoine Nduwayo as president and the Party of Unity and National Progress re-entered the coalition with the Burundi Democracy Front.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Burundi in 1996 was 5,986,932, ranking number 94 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.940% yearly, and the population density was 233.1403 people per km2.