Provinces of Burundi

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Sorin Cosoveanu called my attention to the new Rumonge province.

Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, is dated 2010-06-30. It assigns ISO codes to Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural, replacing the old code for Bujumbura.

The latest version of the FIPS standard is called "Geopolitical Entities and Codes", published in 2010-04. It shows the split of Bujumbura into an urban and a rural province.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-4, dated 2002-12-10, adds the new Mwaro province to the list.

Change Notice 7 to FIPS PUB 10-4 is dated 2002-01-10. It shows the split of Mwaro province from Muramvya. Probably these are the same as the arrondissements of Muramvya and Mwaro, as they stood in 1978. Source [3] is a press release about the vote in the Burundi parliament to split the province of Mwaro from Muramvya. According to it, the creation of two additional provinces, Bukirasazi and Rumonge, was being considered. Bukirasazi would probably have be split from Gitega, and Rumonge from Bururi, if the project had gone through.

Source [4] says (translated), "Burundi is currently divided into administrative structures among which the province is the largest. The country counts fifteen of them, namely, Bubanza, Bujumbura, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Ngozi, Rutana, and Ruyigi, to which must be added the urban province of Bujumbura. A governor leads each province. The province is subdivided into communes, each directed by a communal administrator. There are 116 of them. This administrative entity is in turn subdivided into administrative zones, and further into collines (literally, 'hills')." This was evidently written before the creation of Mwaro.

Country overview: 

Short nameBURUNDI
ISO codeBI
LanguagesKirundi (rn), French (fr)
Time zone+2


The territory which is now Burundi was part of German East Africa at the beginning of the century. In 1919, Ruanda-Urundi was mandated to Belgium. It consisted of two counties: Ruanda in the north and Urundi in the south. It became administratively part of the Belgian Congo on 1926-03-01. The two counties became résidences (residencies). In 1960, the Belgian Congo became independent; Ruanda-Urundi remained a colony. On 1962-07-01, when Ruanda-Urundi attained independence, the two counties became the countries of Rwanda and Burundi. The capital of Ruanda-Urundi, which had been known as Usumbura, changed its name to Bujumbura and became the capital of Burundi.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Burundi
  2. Dutch: Burundi, Republiek Burundi (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Burundi (formal), Urundi (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Burundi
  5. French: Burundi m
  6. German: Burundi n
  7. Icelandic: Búrúndí
  8. Italian: Burundi m
  9. Kirundi: Republika y'Uburundi (formal)
  10. Norwegian: Burundi, Republikken Burundi (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Burundi, República f do Burundi m (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Бурунди (formal)
  13. Spanish: Burundi, República f de Burundi (formal)
  14. Swedish: Burundi
  15. Turkish: Burundi Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Ethnic name Barundi, applied to a country

Primary subdivisions: 

Burundi is divided into eighteen provinces.

Bujumbura MairieBI.BMBMBY24497,1668733
Bujumbura RuralBI.BLBLBY25464,8181,089420
18 provinces8,053,57425,8079,964


Note: Bujumbura is the capital of both Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural.

Further subdivisions:

See the Communes of Burundi page.

The regions are subdivided into 114 districts, and the districts are subdivided into communes. Before 1979, there were eight provinces, subdivided into 18 arrondissements, which were further divided into 78 communes.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Burundi lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. According to source [11], the German colonial administration set up three stations in Rwanda: Usumbura, Gitega, and Nyakazu, but they were never headquarters of actual administrative divisions. Starting in 1919, the Belgians set up more stations.
  2. 1932-03-07: The Belgian administration divided Urundi into seven territoires (territories): Bururi, Hinga, Kitega, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi, and Usumbura (sources [5], [11]). The territories were divided into chefferies (chieftainships), which were further divided into sous-chefferies, a system that predated colonization. At this period, Kitega was the capital of Urundi residency; Bujumbura was the capital of the whole colony of Ruanda-Urundi.
  3. 1949-08-14: Bubanza and Muramvya territories created.
  4. 1959-12-25: Sous-chefferies and other tertiary divisions replaced by communes.
  5. 1960-09-26: Chefferies replaced by 18 provinces: Bubanza, Bukirasazi, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Mwisare, Ngozi, Rutana, Ruyigi, and Usumbura.
  6. 1962-03-01: Status of the 18 provinces changed to arrondissements. Status of the 9 territories changed to provinces, while Rutana became part of Ruyigi province.
  7. 1962-07-01: Name of Usumbura changed to Bujumbura.
  8. ~1969: Mwisare arrondissement transferred from Bubanza province to Bujumbura province. The provinces then were as listed in this table.
BubanzaBY01293,2212,670Bubanza, Cibitoke
BujumburaBY02386,0411,255Bujumbura, Mwisare
BururiBY03398,6144,680Bururi, Makamba
GitegaBY04612,1183,320Bukirasazi, Gitega, Karuzi
MuramvyaBY05342,7221,510Muramvya, Mwaro
MuyingaBY06494,1403,535Kirundo, Muyinga
NgoziBY07714,4762,595Kayanza, Ngozi
RuyigiBY08348,1025,445Cankuzo, Rutana, Ruyigi
8 provinces3,589,43425,010
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1978 estimates (source [6]).
  • Capitals have the same names as their provinces.
  1. 1982-09-24: Eight provinces were regrouped to form 15, as shown in the table of primary subdivisions above (except for Bujumbura and Mwaro). At first glance, it may appear that the new provinces are the same as the old arrondissements. This is not quite accurate. Bukirasazi has disappeared, almost all of it absorbed into Gitega. Mwaro has merged into Muramvya, and Mwisare has merged into Bujumbura. There were also a number of minor adjustments. The commune of Gihogazi was transferred from Gitega to Karuzi. Almost all of Giteranyi commune was transferred from Kirundo to Muyinga. Gitanga and Bukemba communes were transferred from Makamba to Rutana. Busiga commune was transferred from Kayanza to Ngozi. About half of Bukinanyana commune was transferred from Bubanza to Cibitoke. At the same time, the arrondissements were eliminated.
  2. 1991-11-08: Bujumbura province (former FIPS code BY02, ISO BJ) split into Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural. (One of the meanings of French mairie is "municipal administration".)
  3. 1998-12-10: Mwaro province split from Muramvya (former FIPS code BY05, HASC code BI.MU).
  4. 2015-03-26: By Law No. 1/10, Rumonge province formed by taking Burambi, Buyengero, and Rumonge communes from Bururi province (former HASC code BI.BR, 2008 population 574,013) and Bugarama and Muhuta communes from Bujumbura Rural province (BI.BU, 555,933).

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Bujumbura: Buyumbura (Spanish); Usumbura (obsolete)
  2. Gitega: Kitega (obsolete)
  3. Karuzi: Karusi (variant)
  4. Muyinga: Hinga, Muhinga (obsolete)

Population history:

Bujumbura Mairie460,945608,931497,166
Bujumbura Rural555,933


In the first two censuses, Mwaro is included in Muramvya, and the population for all of Bujumbura is listed under Bujumbura Mairie. The 1979 populations of the provinces add up to 200 more than the total shown, but the same problem occurs in the source.


  1. [1] Troisième recensement général de la population et de l'habitat de 2008  (retrieved 2013-04-21).
  2. [2] Previously, this page showed 1999 population estimates from Burundi Contacts (, dead link, retrieved 2002-12-11).
  3. [3] A Burundi government press release dated November 12 (no year given, but probably 1998) says that the Burundi parliament voted "this Tuesday" to split the province of Mwaro from Muramvya. (, dead link, retrieved 2002-02-08).
  4. [4] "Organisation administrative / Répartition de la population / Urbanisme", on the government Web site (, dead link, retrieved 2002-02-08).
  5. [5] Michiels, A., and N. Laude, "Notre Colonie: Géographie et notice historique." Edition Universelle, Brussels, 1946. (Found at, dead link, 2005-12-31.)
  6. [6] Cazenave-Piarrot, Françoise, Alain Cazenave-Piarrot, and Albert Lopez. "Géographie du Burundi: Le pays et les hommes." EDICEF, Paris, 1979.
  7. [7] Annuaire Statistique du Burundi 1992. Bujumbura, Oct. 1993. This was the source for 1990 census data.
  8. [8] Annuaire Statistique du Burundi 1988. Institut de Statistiques et d'Études Économiques du Burundi. April, 1990. This was the source for 1979 census data.
  9. [9] Annuaire Statistique 1985. Ministère à la Présidence Chargé du Plan, Service National des Études et Statistiques. Bujumbura, Nov. 1986.
  10. [10] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  11. [11] Le Sénat et la politique de décentralisation au Burundi. Sénat du Burundi, Bujumbura, 2010-08.  (retrieved 2013-04-26).
  12. [12] Decret N° 100/71  (retrieved 2015-07-09).
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