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Legal Market Overview

A year after the death of long-serving President Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi continues to be a country with significant political unrest and economic woes. Nkurunziza’s chosen successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, has taken power in his absence and has demonstrated no interest in changing the political framework of the country. Though initially committed to a more activist approach to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ndayishimiye joined the Tanzanian government as one of two countries to reject vaccine doses from the UN’s COVAX Scheme, only requisitioning 500,000 vaccine doses by the end of the year. According to the World Bank, however, the country has agreed to the principle of vaccination and is seeking financial support in 2022 for the purpose of establishing a vaccination programme. The country’s human rights record remains primarily unchanged, with the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Burundi noting that the country had made insufficient structural changes to improve its situation.

Economically the country has seen a minor bounceback in growth, with its economy growing at a rate of 2%, in comparison to 2020’s 0.2% growth rate. As with the remainder of the globe, inflation is a major macroeconomic concern, with food prices rising significantly. Its public debt is also another cause for concern, with the government continuing to spend at a deficit. Though it offers two key export products, coffee and tea, the remainder of the country is focused on subsistence farming. Its legal market includes a number of generalists, with most firms acting in a number of practice areas to best adapt to economic shocks. Top-flight firms act on major international corporate matters and government relations work.