Burundi was a German colony from 1885 to 1916.
After Burundi gained independence in 1962, Germany was one among the first partners to launch development cooperation with Burundi, and Germany enjoys a good reputation in the country because of the success that has been achieved in its development.
Following the years of international isolation between 2015 and 2020 in the wake of an attempted coup in 2015 and subsequent unrest, the country’s new President Ndayishimiye is now taking a more open approach in terms of foreign policy. As a result, Burundi has relaunched political dialogue with the European Union and its member states.
In the sphere of trade, Burundian exports to Germany account for approx. 4.7% of the overall figure (2021), with the main export being coffee. Germany ranks 14th in imports to Burundi (2021: USD 14.5 million), and this level is currently rising.
Governmental development cooperation between Germany and Burundi is drawing down and will end in mid-2026. Current projects focus especially on the key issues of water and sanitation, as well as health. Some regional and global programmes include Burundi, for example in the sphere of humanitarian assistance and food security. Moreover, Germany is engaged in Burundi in the context of various Team Europe initiatives.
Land Baden-Württemberg has had a partnership with Burundi since the 1980s that was formalised in 2014 through a joint declaration by the Land government and Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. This partnership is mainly administrated by the Land’s own Foundation for Development Cooperation - Baden-Württemberg (SEZ). After a visit in the summer of 2022 by a delegation representing the CDU group in the Regional Parliament, a delegation from Baden-Württemberg most recently visited the country in June 2023 to open an SEZ liaison office in Bujumbura.
The German language classes offered at the University of Burundi have met with great interest, as some 1,700 students enrol in them every year. Furthermore, Goethe-Institut Nairobi in cooperation with the German Embassy helps to promote German as a foreign language in Burundi. There is also great interest in the German Academic Exchange Service’s scholarship programmes.