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Burundi is a predominantly rural country relying mainly on subsistence agricultural activities and is, as such, one of the poorest countries in Africa with the poverty level at a record high of 87.5%. The country has a population of 11.9 million, growing at a rate of 3.2% per annum, and the need for housing units continues to present opportunities. Burundi’s population density is high, with an estimated 435 inhabitants per km2, compared to an average density of 51 inhabitants per km2 in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding high-income countries, and 40 inhabitants per km2in fragile and conflict-affected areas.
The rate of urbanisation remains one of the lowest globally at 13%. Burundi’s population growth rate is putting pressure on the already low national income with a resultant contraction in per capita GDP to FBu542821 (US$274.0)in 2021.4This trend is expected to continue with an expected escalation in poverty levels to a high of 87.5% by 2023, thereby restricting access to basic services including decent housing in both urban and rural areas of the country. Most citizens, particularly in rural areas live in self-built homes. For urban residents, more than 47.7% of households are accommodated in slums without access to improved water, sanitation, and sufficient living area. Energy infrastructure development is particularly poor with low electricity access of 2% in the rural areas and 58.5 %in urban areas as of 2016.
The Republic of Burundi’s economy slumped into a recession in 2020 and the first half of 2021 on account of the impact of COVID-19 on business activity. By April 2021, the country had registered a fall in the cumulative level of coffee production, alongside a mild increase in industrial production. These combined developments translated into a deceleration in economic growth rate to 0.3% percent in 2020 from 1.8% 2019.7The situation was further exacerbated by the poor performance in services and agriculture, which remain the mainstay of the country’s economy. In April 2021, no production of coffee was recorded, following the closure of the 2020/2021 coffee season. The total volume of coffee produced during this season stood at a lowly 18867.8 tonnes against a forecast of 27 320 tonnes. Additionally, the production of green leaf tea decreased by 11.5% in April 2021 against the same month in 2020.
The downward trend in key economic indicators was followed by an increase in the headline annual inflation rate to 6.5% in January 2021 compared to 5.1% recorded in January 2020, due mainly to annual food price inflation of 10.6%, two percentage points higher than in the previous year. Additionally, the economy witnessed a 3.8% depreciation of the Burundi Franc against the US dollar to further worsen the country’s ability to import supplies, including those to the housing value chain. In the light of the developments in the external sector, the current account deficit widened to 19.1% of GDP compared with a deficit of 17.8% in 2019. That resulted in a reduction in foreign exchange reserves, which covered less than 30 days of imports at the end of 2020. Exports declined by 9.8% in value and by 17.2% in volume over the year to January 2021. In value, the decrease was more evident for manufactured products, which fell by 57% to FBu3333.1(US$1.682million)compared to January 2020. By contrast, exports of primary products increased in value by 25% to FBu12875.3million(US$6.5million)over the same period.
Find out more information on Burundi’s housing finance sector, including key stakeholders, important policies, and housing affordability:
- Access to Finance
- Housing Supply
- Property Markets
- Policy and Legislation
- Availability of data on housing finance
- Urban Informality
- Additional Sources
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2021 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.Download yearbook