Burundi is Changing Its Capital

January 23rd, 2019

Burundi flag

Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza, recently announced that the country's political capital would change from Bujumbura, the nation's largest and most prosperous city, to Gitega, a smaller, more centrally located city.

Located in Central Africa, Burundi was once a monarchy, and back then, the nation's capital was Gitega. Some opposed to the capital city change claim that president Nkurunziza made the decision as part of an attempt to create a symbolic restoration.

The former capital, Bujumbura, which has about 1 million people, is currently the country's commercial center, and it will retain that role. Gitega, with a population of only around 30,000, will need some improvements in order to support the planned establishment of five governmental ministries.

About 11 million people live in Burundi, one of the world's poorest countries, and it has experienced political unrest. Most of the people who are opposed to the current regime live in Bujumbura, a fact that some say played a part in president Nkurunziza's decision to change the capital to Gitega.

While there may be political reasons for the capital change, it's a move that many other African states have taken. Starting back in the 1980s, several countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Nigeria, moved their political capitals. Senegal and Ghana are spending billions of dollars to build new, modern, cities that will be able to handle economic expansion and growing populations.

Burundi map

Burundi drummers