Transport Sector Profile in Burundi

The transport sector is one of the most vital sectors in Burundi as other sectors depend on it either directly or indirectly for transport.

The transporting sector in Burundi is undergoing improvements following destruction of infrastructure as a result of civil wars in Burundi.

Characteristics of the Sector

  • The country is fairly connected to its neighbours as well as the EAC member states by air and there are plans for construction of roads connecting to neighbouring countries
  • Burundi Transportation includes 19,000 passenger cars as well as 12,300 commercial vehicles.
  • The most common transport that can be seen on the road are bicycle taxis. Other than that small vans and buses are also used.
  • The sector is affected by high fuel prices since it imports most of the petroleum products.
  • The transport vehicles are owned by small scale operators

Means of transport

Road Transport

Road is the most dominant mode of transport in Burundi as the country is landlocked. The road transport system in Burundi comprises about 14,480kilometres of total roads and only about 7 percent of them remain open in all weather, the rest are considered as local roads or local tracks. Most major roads in Burundi are sealed and public transport is mainly by minibus

Railway Transport 

Burundi does not possess any railway infrastructure, although there are proposals to connect Burundi to its neighbours via railway.

Water Transport

Lake Tanganyika is used for transport, with the major port on the lake being Bujumbura. Most freight is transported down waterways.

Air Transport

Burundi being a landlocked country, air transport is of strategic importance to the nation as it guarantees an alternative gateway to the rest of the world. It provides the most efficient and quickest transport means to and from Burundi.

The aviation industry in Burundi is managed by the civil aviation authority of Burundi and regulated by ministry of transport and telecommunications.

Burundi has Bujumbura International Airport as the only airport people can use to either enter or leave Burundi by air.

Air service is maintained by Air Burundi, which operates domestic service and flies to Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. International service is also provided by Air Zaïre, Sabena, and other airlines.

 Challenges in the Transport Sector Burundi

  • Poor road infrastructure and equipment that was due to civil wars in the country
  • Inadequate research in  the sector has limited the development and growth
  • Most roads in Burundi are narrow and road space is shared with road side parking.
  • Inadequate funding on the assumption the limitations in utilisation capacity are not there.
  • Increasing the utilisation capacity of the funds available to the sector
  • The weakness of the local transport industry in the face of foreign competition
  • The reduction in water levels in Lake Tanganyika
  • The lack of legislation governing inland waterway transport
  • Deficiencies in the management of the port of Bujumbura
  • Lack of qualified personnel.



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