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Burundi is a landlocked country in the East African region, with a large shoreline on Lake Tanganyika, located in the Great Lakes region and surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Rwanda to the north, and Tanzania to the east and south.
In 2019, Burundi's population was estimated at 12 million, with a growth rate of 3.3 per cent in 2016. The Burundian population is very young with 36 per cent of the population being between 16-30 years according to the World Population Fund.
Burundi's economy is mainly rural and based on agricultural exports and livestock.
Due to the tense political situation, the economy has shrunk in recent years. It is one of the world's poorest countries, as evidenced by its ranking in the human development index. Burundi is ranked 185 out of 189 listed countries in the human development index report 2019. As a result, GDP per capita and general livelihood is rather low.
The rate of financial inclusion in Burundi is very low with only 60.2 per cent of the adult population having a bank account in a formal financial institution. Although microfinance institutions account for more than 80 per cent of users of banking services in Burundi, they account for only 21 per cent of outstanding deposits and 23 per cent of outstanding loans of the entire banking sector.
Inadequate access to financial services as well as a lack of education, poorly educated employees and weak institutions are among the challenges of the microfinance sector in Burundi.
Sparkassentiftung opened its first office in Bujumbura in 2012. Together with our local partner organization RIM (Réseau des Institutions de Microfinance), the Burundian umbrella organization of microfinance institutions, we implement projects in the area of institutional strengthening, capacity building, vocational training and financial education in the microfinance sector. On behalf of GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation), we advise MFIs (Microfinance institutions) on green finance and train savings groups in financial literacy.
In order to intensify the outreach of our projects activities, Sparkassenstiftung recently opened two new offices, one in Gitega and another in Ngozi. The head office is in Bujumbura, close to RIM, our main partner in Burundi.