Living in other cities
Gitega is the second largest city in Burundi and is located in the center of the country, approx. 60 km east of Bujumbura. The location once made the city a royal city. With around 23,000 residents, Gitega is much smaller and less meaningful than Bujumbura. The Bujumbura-Gitega road is relatively good, so it takes about 2 hours to get there. Gitega has a fairly large district prison and former colonial buildings in the center that haven’t changed much in decades. Gitega is the center of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Archdiocese of Gitega. But the poverty is palpable: the farming population lives from hand to mouth, there are still no functioning hospitals, the schools have major problems with infrastructure and a lack of teachers. There are some active aid organizations and plans to renew the road to Ngozi. At the end of 2018, the Burundian government announced that it would make Gitega the new capital of Burundi; Bujumbura remains the economic center for the time being. The move is scheduled to take three years. Some ministries and the Senate have already moved in mid-2019. The move has been criticized due to the lack of infrastructure. Gitega’s infrastructure has been developing steadily since the presidential palace was built, but there is still a lot to be done: many streets are unpaved, buildings are showing damage and the connection to Bujumbura makes some processes more difficult.
According to payhelpcenter, Nyanza-Lac is located in the south of Burundi, idyllically on Lake Tanganyka. The village belongs to the Makamba province, where there are still many refugee camps. Nyanza-Lac is primarily of tourist importance.
Ngozi is a city in northern Burundi and the capital of the Ngozi Province. There is a university founded in 1999, which makes the city regionally important. In the course of the regional development of the impoverished northern provinces of Burundi, the government is increasingly carrying out an economic upgrade. 2012 industrial branch of the brewery Brarudi was in Ngozi built, which mainly produces juices and water.
Many churches and religious communities are active in Burundi, for example in Bujumbura the Regina Mundi Cathédral, the Mont Sion, the Holy Trinity Church, the Living Church of Jabe, the Center Pentecostal Ntahangwa (Protestant Church), the Islamic Center (Muslim), the Pentecostal Church and the Hellenic Center (Orthodox Church).
Hospitals and schools
Due to the desolate health system in Burundi, patients can only fall back on a few relatively well-equipped and functioning hospitals. This includes the Hôpital Roi Khaled or the Polyclinique Centrale in Bujumbura. Most hospitals operate under the most difficult conditions. With the support of external financiers, the hospital wards in Gitega and other larger cities are to be expanded. In Bujumbura in particular, there are a number of other medical wards or doctors that you can turn to. In the case of difficult or unexplained illnesses, it is best to contact the German embassy.
The secondary schools, which are often attended by foreigners, are the Ecole Belge and the Ecole Française, with good educational levels similar to the European one. Other secondary schools in Bujumbura would be the Ecole St. Michel, the Lycée International, the Ecole Indépendante, the Lycée du Saint Esprit, the Lycée St. Gabriel, the Lycée St. Albert, the Eden International School, the Burundi American International Academy and a number other private schools and secondary schools with mainly Burundian students.
The official currency of Burundi is the Burundi Franc. It is divided into centimes, 100 centimes are worth one franc. However, this smaller currency is hardly used at all in practice today due to the low value of the Burundi Franc compared to the leading currencies. 1000 Burundi Francs are worth around EUR 0.50. For this reason there are only two coins, namely with a value of 1 and 5 francs. The banknotes are available in values of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 Burundi Francs. The ISO code for the Burundi Franc is BIF. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport, in the banks in Bujumbura and in large hotels. Credit cards are only occasionally accepted in larger hotels, so you should always take cash with you. Money transferVia larger transfer organizations, also e.g. via Western Union, is possible. The local banks are, for example, BCB, INTERBANK, FINBANK, ECOBANK, BANCOBU or BBCI. There are numerous ATMs for domestic money transactions, but few for international currency transfers. This includes BCB and Interbank locations in the center of Bujumbura. There are plans to improve access to financial resources – also for the poorer population. It is relatively easy to open a bank account in one of the numerous banks, e.g. at the ECOBANK.
Telephone and internet
In Burundi, only 0.1% of the population (!) Have a landline connection, which makes about 11,000 telephones. In the meantime, however, around 30% of the population use cell phones, which have grown in importance. The international phone code is +257. The mobile network consists of a total of seven providers: Lacell, Telecel Burundi, Viettel Group (2017), Africell and Econet Wireless. Only ONATEL Mobile and U-Com cover the country’s area, even if not everywhere with the same efficiency. Plans to privatize ONATEL have so far been postponed again and again. Dead spots often occur in rural areas. The weak communication structure is still a problem, although Burundi is investing here and the network providers see a large market in the future. Internet cafes are limited to the larger cities and the transfer rate is very slow. The plans drawn up a few years ago to improve ICT communication are faltering. As in other East African countries, Internet services are partially blocked, a highly explosive political problem. By laying fiber optic cables across the country, Burundi should not miss the connection to the ITC development of neighboring countries. Satellite-based Internet also reached Burundi in 2013 as part of the connection to the Great Lakes region. In the ICT Development Index 2017 Burundi ranks 172 out of 176 countries. The percentage of households with internet access is 3.5%, 48 out of 100 residents have a mobile phone (2017).