Situated in the Sub-Saharan Africa with a total land area of about 27,834 square kilometers and a total population of about 9.5 million people, Burundi is an extremely poor land locked country. Being extremely poor, Burundi is also facing a lot of other problems which are interrelated to poverty like widespread hunger and starvation. It’s a general conception that if a country is too poor, then it may not have resources to improve and because of that the situation degenerates. Burundi is facing the same situation of evils of poverty.
Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the new UNDP human development multidimensional poverty index, Burundi is among the top 10 poorest countries on earth. 84.5 percent of the Burundi population lives in extreme poverty while 85 to 90 percent of Burundi population lives in rural areas.
In the past, Burundi has faced recurrent conflict and ethnic and political rivalry. Conflict has contributed to widespread poverty. Between 1993 and 2000, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed and 1.2 million people fled from their homes to live in refugee camps or in exile. This resulted in reduced life expectancy from 51 to 44 years. The poverty rate doubled from 33 to 67 percent and economic recession pushed GDP per capita down from US $142 to US $103.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for nine out of ten Burundians. It is a gloomy story that the evils of poverty are directly affecting the agricultural sector and the small-scale subsistence farmers who are trying to recover from the past conflict. In addition to this, Burundi has a high population growth rate and as the population increases, less fertile land is available for agriculture. Furthermore, with the increasing population, the problem of food insecurity surfaces at some point during the year as a result of climate events, soil fertility and rising food prices. Production per capita is decreasing. The ill effects of poverty are most apparent in the eastern and northern regions as 100,000 households are at permanent risk of food insecurity and flimsy dietary conditions.
Burundi has endured lots of tribulations due to widespread conflict. This in turn had a catastrophic effect on education, health provision, environmental protection, family life and the national infrastructure. Most of the problems can be supervised if conflict does not arise yet again. However, for the conflict to be controlled, widespread measures must be adopted, since we all know conflict is fuelled by poverty. Also, the current political tensions add to the potential for conflict to break out all over again. Special measures must be carried out for reconciliation bestowing particular attention to conflict areas.