Germany and Burundi: Bilateral relations

01.03.2024 - Article

Burundi was a German colony from 1885 to 1916.

After Burundi gained independence in 1962, Germany was one of the first partners to launch development cooperation with the country. Germany has a good reputation because of the successes achieved in Burundi’s 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 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.

The volume of trade between Burundi and Germany is very low. Burundi’s main export is coffee. In 2022, Germany exported goods worth 13 million euro to Burundi, an increase of roughly 36% on the previous year.

Public 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. Burundi is also covered by some regional and global programmes, 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.

A partnership between the German Land Baden-Württemberg and Burundi has existed for four decades, but was not formalised until 2014 by a joint declaration by the Land government and Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. A programme of events is being organised to mark its 40th year in 2024. This partnership is primarily run by the state-owned Foundation for Development Cooperation – Baden-Württemberg (SEZ). In the summer of 2022, a delegation representing the CDU group in the Land Parliament visited Burundi, followed in June 2023 by a Land delegation which opened an SEZ liaison office in Bujumbura.

The German language classes offered at the University of Burundi have met with great interest, with some 1700 students enrolling in them every year. In addition, 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.

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