2016 Index of Economic Freedom

Burundi

overall score53.9
world rank133
Rule of Law

Property Rights20.0

Freedom From Corruption20.0

Limited Government

Government Spending70.5

Fiscal Freedom73.8

Regulatory Efficiency

Business Freedom54.2

Labor Freedom67.6

Monetary Freedom73.8

Open Markets

Trade Freedom74.2

Investment Freedom55.0

Financial Freedom30.0

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Quick Facts
  • Population:
    • 9.2 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $8.4 billion
    • 4.7% growth
    • 4.5% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $911 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 6.9%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 4.4%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $32.0 million
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Burundi remains excessively dependent on its widely fluctuating agricultural sector, the principal source of jobs for over 80 percent of the population. The policy environment makes it difficult for the private sector to generate employment opportunities and lasting economic growth.

Economic Freedom Snapshot

  • 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 53.9 (up 0.2 point)
  • Economic Freedom Status: Mostly Unfree
  • Global Ranking: 133rd
  • Regional Ranking: 28th in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Notable Successes: Trade Freedom
  • Concerns: Property Rights, Corruption, Regulatory Efficiency, and Financial Freedom
  • Overall Score Change Since 2012: +5.8

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Background

Pierre Nkurunziza was elected president by the National Assembly in 2005 and reelected in 2010 in a disputed vote. In June 2015, his party won a majority in tainted parliamentary elections, and he was reelected in July 2015 by relying on a technicality to sidestep a two-term constitutional limit. The opposition boycotted both elections, and several countries and Burundi’s influential Catholic Church withdrew their support. Nkurunziza’s decision to run and subsequent election sparked months of unrest that as of September 2015 had resulted in approximately 100 deaths, including assassinations of prominent opposition members and high-ranking regime officials. The economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture, and well over half of the population lives below the poverty line.

Rule of LawView Methodology

Property Rights 20.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

Freedom From Corruption 20.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

One of the world’s poorest nations, land-locked Burundi remains one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most corrupt countries. Government procurement is conducted non-transparently amid frequent allegations of cronyism. Customs officials reportedly extort bribes. The judiciary is nominally independent but subject to political pressure. Private property is vulnerable to government expropriation and armed banditry.

Limited GovernmentView Methodology

The top individual income and corporate tax rates are 35 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax that recently replaced the general sales tax. The overall tax burden equals 13.1 percent of total domestic income. Government spending amounts to 31.4 percent of total domestic output. Foreign aid makes up about 50 percent of the government budget, and public debt equals 30 percent of GDP.

Regulatory EfficiencyView Methodology

Burdensome regulations continue to constrain the business environment. Rigid employment regulations and an underdeveloped labor market hinder productivity and job creation. The non-salary cost of employing a worker is low, but enforcement of labor regulations is ineffective. The state subsidizes fuel, rations subsidized electricity, and influences other prices through state-owned enterprises and agriculture-support programs.

Open MarketsView Methodology

Burundi’s average tariff rate is 5.4 percent. Importation of goods is costly and time-consuming. State-owned enterprises in industries like telecommunications, sugar production, and real estate distort the economy. The small financial sector is dominated by banks, two of which are majority-owned by the state. With about 2 percent of the population holding bank accounts, many rely on informal lending.

Country's Score Over Time

Bar Graph of Burundi Economic Freedom Scores Over a Time Period

Country Comparisons

Bar Graphs comparing Burundi to other economic country groups Download Charts

Regional Ranking

rank country overall change
1Mauritius74.7-1.7
2Botswana71.11.3
3Cabo Verde66.50.1
4Rwanda63.1-1.7
5Ghana630.0
6Seychelles62.24.7
7South Africa61.9-0.7
8Namibia61.92.3
9Madagascar61.1-0.6
10Côte d'Ivoire 601.5
11Swaziland59.7-0.2
12Benin59.30.5
13Uganda59.3-0.4
14Burkina Faso59.10.5
15Gabon590.7
16Zambia58.80.1
17Tanzania58.51.0
18Senegal58.10.3
19Kenya57.51.9
20Nigeria57.51.9
21The Gambia57.1-0.4
22São Tomé and Príncipe 56.73.4
23Mali56.50.1
24Djibouti56-1.5
25Mauritania54.81.5
26Niger54.3-0.3
27Cameroon54.22.3
28Burundi53.90.2
29Togo53.60.6
30Guinea53.31.2
31Mozambique 53.2-1.6
32Comoros52.40.3
33Sierra Leone52.30.6
34Liberia52.2-0.5
35Guinea-Bissau51.8-0.2
36Malawi51.8-3.0
37Ethiopia51.50.0
38Lesotho50.61.0
39Angola48.91.0
40Democratic Republic of Congo46.41.4
41Chad46.30.4
42Central African Republic45.2-0.7
43Equatorial Guinea43.73.3
44Republic of Congo 42.80.1
45Eritrea42.73.8
46Zimbabwe38.20.6
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