Space Program of Burundi

------Burundi, Africa's Space Agency------

Level = 0                                         Development: Very Low


Country Overview

What has been going on in Burundi?



Space Agency and its Activity

What kind of space power do they have?



Weapons and Power Projection

Does Burundi have space weapons?



Timeline and the Future

What are they planning over there?

Population: 7,600,000 / Language: French / GDP: $630 / Cities: Bujumbura

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Burundi, one of the world's poorest nations, is emerging from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war.

Since independence in 1961, it has been plagued by tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority and has been the scene of one of Africa's most intractable conflicts.

It is now beginning to reap the dividends of a peace process. But it faces the formidable tasks of reviving a shattered economy and of forging national unity.

In 1993 Burundi seemed poised to enter a new era when, in their first democratic elections, Burundians chose their first Hutu head of state, Melchior Ndadaye, and a parliament dominated by the Hutu Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu) party.


  • Politics: Stability appears to be within reach after years of bloody conflict. The government and the last active rebel group agreed a ceasefire in September 2006
  • Economy: Half the population lives below the poverty line. Coffee and tea account for most of the foreign currency earnings
  • International: Relative peace after a 12-year ethnic-based civil war has been attributed partly to international mediation and support

But within months Ndadaye had been assassinated, setting the scene for years of Hutu-Tutsi violence in which an estimated 300,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed.

In early 1994 parliament elected another Hutu, Cyprien Ntaryamira, as president. But he was killed in April alongside the president of neighbouring Rwanda when the plane they were travelling in was shot down over Kigali.

Another Hutu, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, was appointed president in October 1994. But within months, the mainly Tutsi Union for National Progress (Uprona) party withdrew from the government and parliament, sparking a new wave of ethnic violence.

Following long-running talks, mediated by South Africa, a power-sharing government was set up in 2001 and most of the rebel groups agreed to a ceasefire. Four years later Burundians voted in the first parliamentary elections since the start of the civil war.

The main Hutu former rebel group won the vote and nominated its leader Pierre Nkurunziza as president.

Meanwhile, the government and the United Nations have begun the lengthy process of disarming thousands of soldiers and former rebels, as well as forming a new national army.

Full name: Republic of Burundi

  • Population: 7.3 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Bujumbura
  • Area: 27,816 sq km (10,740 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili
  • Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
  • Life expectancy: 42 years (men), 44 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Burundi franc = 100 centimes
  • Main exports: coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
  • GNI per capita: US $100 (World Bank, 2006)
  • Internet domain: .bi
  • International dialling code: +257

President: Pierre Nkurunziza

Pierre Nkurunziza, a Hutu former rebel leader, became the first president to be chosen in democratic elections since the start of Burundi's civil war. He was the sole candidate in the August 2005 vote in the National Assembly and the Senate after his Force for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) won parliamentary elections in June. The vote was one of the final steps in a peace process intended to end years of fighting between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi-controlled army.

Mr Nkurunziza, who pledged to strive for unity, faces the pressing challenges of reassuring the Tutsi minority and of reviving the economy. At the end of 2005 he unveiled a $2bn rejuvenation plan, most of it to be funded by foreign donors, targeted at the agricultural sector.

Born in 1964 in Ngozi province, Pierre Nkurunziza trained as a sports teacher. His father, a former MP, was killed in ethnic violence in 1972.

He joined the Hutu rebellion in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become head of the FDD in 2001. He sustained a serious mortar injury during the conflict.

The married father of two is a born-again Christian.

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 Burundi's Space Infrastructure


  Burundi is one of the world's poorest countries, with one of the least developed space programs in the world. Not only does it not have an agency, but also no infrastructure in which one would arise. Its has no scientific university and the government has no ministry devoted to science of this type.

Burundi has no history of being part of any organization dealing with space, nor has any launch capability.

Burundi lacks the industrial base, the educational base and the political foundation for a process like this to occur within it. It has no functioning university with an astrophysics or astronautics program, as the University of Burundi lacks this faculty. It has nonexistant industry.

Burundi operates no satellites and, not having a presence, has no space power.

The government of Burundi in Bujumbura has no plans for attempting to further any ambition in space development or research.





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Timeline of Events in Burundi

...From the Past to the Future



1300s - Hutu people settle in the region, imposing their language and culture on the original inhabitants, the Twa.

1400s - Tutsi settlers establish themselves as feudal rulers.

1858 - British explorers Richard Burton and John Speke visit Burundi.

1890 - The Tutsi kingdom of Urundi and neighbouring Ruanda (Rwanda) incorporated into German East Africa.

1916 - Belgians occupy the area.

1923 Belgium granted League of Nations mandate to administer Ruanda-Urundi.

1959 - Influx of Tutsi refugees from Rwanda following ethnic violence there.


1962 - Urundi is separated from Ruanda-Urundi, becomes Burundi and is given independence as a monarchy under King Mwambutsa IV.

1963 - Thousands of Hutus flee to Rwanda following ethnic violence.

1965 - King Mwambutsa refuses to appoint a Hutu prime minister even though Hutus win a majority in parliamentary elections; attempted coup by Hutu police led by Michel Micombero brutally suppressed.

1966 July - Mwambutsa deposed by his son, Ntare V.

1966 November - Micombero stages a second coup, this time successfully, and declares himself president.

Overthrow of monarchy

1972 - Some 150,000 Hutus are massacred after Ntare V is killed, supposedly by Hutus.

1976 - Micombero is deposed in a military coup and is replaced by Jean-Baptiste Bagaza as president.

1981 - A new constitution makes Burundi a one-party state.

1987 - President Bagaza is deposed in a coup led by Pierre Buyoya.

1988 - Thousands of Hutus are massacred by Tutsis and thousands more flee to Rwanda.

Dashed hopes

1992 - New constitution providing for a multiparty system is adopted in a referendum.

1993 June - Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, beats Pierre Buyoya in the country's first ever presidential election to become Burundi's first Hutu president.

1993 October - Ndadaye is assassinated by pro-Bagaza paratroopers, provoking more massacres.

1994 - Parliament appoints Cyprien Ntaryamira - a Hutu - as president; Ntaryamira and his Rwandan counterpart are killed when the plane carrying them is shot down over the Rwandan capital; more ethnic violence and refugees fleeing to Rwanda; parliament speaker Sylvestre Ntibantunganya appointed president.

1995 - Massacre of Hutu refugees leads to renewed ethnic violence in the capital, Bujumbura.

1996 - Pierre Buyoya stages a second coup, deposing Ntibantunganya and suspending the constitution.

Buyoya sworn in

1998 - Buyoya and parliament agree on a transitional constitution under which Buyoya is formally sworn in as president.

1999 - Talks between warring factions held under the auspices of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.

2000 - Government and three Tutsi groups sign a ceasefire accord, but two main Hutu groups refuse to join in.

2001 January - President Buyoya agrees to ceasefire talks with leader of main ethnic Hutu rebel group, Forces for Defence of Democracy (FDD).

2001 April - Coup attempt fails.

2001 July - Defence minister says authorities have put down an attempted coup.

Transitional government

2001 October - Talks brokered by Nelson Mandela lead to installation of transitional government under which Hutu and Tutsi leaders will share power. Main Hutu rebel groups refuse to sign ceasefire and fighting intensifies.

2001 25 December - Army says it killed more than 500 rebels in operation against opposition stronghold near Bujumbura.

2002 January - Jean Minani, leader of main Hutu party Frodebu, elected president of transitional national assembly set up to bridge ethnic divide.

2002 July - Upsurge in fighting delays planned peace talks; army says more than Hutu 200 rebels have been killed in clashes.

2002 December - Government and main Hutu rebel group FDD sign a ceasefire at talks in Tanzania, but fighting breaks out a month later.

2003 30 April - Domitien Ndayizeye - a Hutu - succeeds Pierre Buyoya as president, under terms of three-year, power-sharing transitional government inaugurated in 2001.

2003 July - Major rebel assault on Bujumbura. Some 300 rebels and 15 government soldiers are killed. Thousands flee their homes.

2003 November - President Ndayizeye and FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza sign agreement to end civil war at summit of African leaders in Tanzania.

Nkurunziza and other FDD members given ministerial posts. Smaller Hutu rebel group, Forces for National Liberation (FNL), remains active.

2004 June - UN force takes over peacekeeping duties from African Union troops.

Hutu rebels kill 160 Congolese Tutsi refugees at a camp near the DR Congo border. Burundian Hutu rebel group, the FNL, claims responsibility.

2004 December - UN and government begin to disarm and demobilise thousands of soldiers and former rebels.

2005 January - President signs law to set up new national army, incorporating government forces and all but one Hutu rebel group, the FNL.

2005 March - Voters back power-sharing constitution.

2005 August - Pierre Nkurunziza, from the Hutu FDD group, is elected as president by the two houses of parliament. The FDD won parliamentary elections in June.

2005 September - Remaining active rebel group, the FNL, rejects government offer of peace talks.

2006 April - A curfew, imposed during ethnic violence in the early 1970s, is lifted.

2006 August - Former President Domitien Ndayizeye is accused of involvement in an alleged coup plot.

2006 September - The last active rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation (FNL), and the government sign a ceasefire agreement at talks in Tanzania.

2006 December - The increasingly authoritarian government risks triggering unrest and eroding the gains of peace, warns the International Crisis Group think tank.




Nothing Planned


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