Definition of Youth

The National Youth Policy of Burundi, which was formulated in 2008 in partnership with UNDP, while not specifying a specific age range, describes youth as between 15-26 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 21
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • XX

  • No specific legislation for marriageable age with parental consent. Marriages below specified age are possible in case of force majeure, where the provincial governor may grant an exemption. Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA, Penal Code of Burundi (2009)

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
According to the Code minors should only be imprisoned as a measure of last resort for a maximum of 10 years. Source:  Penal Code of Burundi

Majority Age


Source: Penal Code of Burundi (2009)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 87.39% Male (15-24) %
  • 87.82% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 19.63%Male %
  • 16.99% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 20.70% Male (13-15) %
  • 16.80% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Burundi has a rudimentary national youth policy from 2008. A revision was initiated in 2011.

After a civil war that lasted more than 10 years and ended in 2005, it is a major aim of the national youth policy to contribute to peace and security, reconciliation and national reconstruction of Burundi.   The youth policy seeks to extend services and vocational education to young people to improve their physical and mental status. It notes the importance of completing education and entering productive employment.   Some initiatives in the field of vocational training and employability are organized in cooperation with other Francophone states in the Conference of Francophone Ministers of Youth and Sports (CONFEJES).

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture prioritises full education of youth and its integration into society. The ministry calls upon young people to be mobilized in education programs for peace, human rights, reconciliation and reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure.   The ministry encourages and promotes the creation and development of associations and youth movements. It works in cooperation with the Conference of Francophone Ministers of Youth and Sports (CONFEJES) especially in vocational training, and training for trainers.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The national youth council of Burundi (CNJB) was established in 2008 to represent the opinions of young people. The members of the CNJB are to be democratically elected. According to the UN Report on the Rights of the Child in Burundi (2010) the CNBJ should allow more effective participation of young people in politics and serve as an intermediary between the government and young people.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the World Bank, Burundi spent 24.1% of its government expenditure and 6.1% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From Regional Report on Youth Policies and Violence Prevention in the Great Lakes Region (2012):

In Burundi, […] the main problems identified in the [national youth] policy are: the mismatch between the training received by young people and the realities of the labour market; the high rate of youth unemployment; the un-coordination of management structures of the young; the poor leadership capacities for youth associations; and the increasing HIV prevalence among young people.

During the 1993 crisis many youths who were recruited by armed groups abandoned schooling. Education infrastructure was also destroyed. […] Every year, the school system produces thousands of young men and women without qualifications, with few possibilities to find jobs.

In Burundi, according to the 2008 census, the unemployment rate of youths who had completed university studies was 13%. The pressure on available land is very high, meaning that the uneducated youth cannot be gainfully employed in agriculture. Such unemployed youth may be taken advantage of by political leaders leading them to engaging in violent acts.

From African Economic Outlook Burundi (2012):

The country [Burundi] achieved positive results in education and health provision thanks to two important reforms. Firstly, free primary education and health care for pregnant women and children under 5, and secondly, the increase of the share of these two sectors in public expenditure. […] Free primary education caused a spectacular rise in enrolment (from 81.6 % to 130 % between 2005 and 2010).