Africa: Burundi and Rwanda

Course Material 2020/21

This module aims to give students an understanding of state formation, identity politics, economic development and political evolution in Rwanda and Burundi.

These two countries constitute rich cases for comparative analysis given their many shared characteristics and key differences in their trajectories. Often referred to as “false twins” in the literature, the neighbouring  countries are of comparable size and have similar ethnic make-up. Ruling over a densely populated territory, their pre and post-colonial states have had significant infrastructural power reaching deep down into society through densely stratified administrative structures. Rwanda and Burundi were part of the same administrative unit during Belgian colonial rule. Since independence, they both have experienced recurrent ethnic violence that resulted in the civil war in Burundi (1993-2005) and the civil war and genocide in Rwanda (1990-1994). Both countries are currently headed by rebellions-turned-ruling-parties.

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Section notice

This material is intended for current students but will be interesting to prospective students. It is indicative only.