Pope Francis and President of Burundi Engage on Country’s Contribution to Church Growth

Pope Francis and President, Évariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi during a meeting at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on 27 March 2022. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis on Saturday, March 26 welcomed Burundi’s President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City to a meeting during which the two leaders discussed the contribution of the Church to the growth of the East African country.

Vatican News reported that the two leaders discussed the political and social situation in Burundi, and other themes concerning the African region. 

During the cordial discussions at the Secretariat of State, the two reportedly expressed satisfaction “for the good relations between the Holy See and Burundi, and for the contribution of the Catholic Church to the life of the country in various sectors of society.”

The President of Burundi is said to have later met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. 

Pope Francis and the President of Burundi exchanged gifts, Vatican News reported, and added, “During the customary exchange of gifts following the discussions between Pope Francis and President Ndayishimiye, Pope Francis gave the President an ‘Angel of Peace’ bronze medallion and copies of the papal documents.”


The Papal documents included, “Message for the World Peace Day 2022,” “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” and the Vatican Publishing House book featuring the “Statio Orbis of 27 March 2020.”

President Ndayishimiye reportedly gave Pope Francis traditional musical instruments of Burundi, and a certificate confirming contributions towards the building of a church in the landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge.

The meeting between the Holy Father and the Burundian President comes amid reports of growing stability in the African country that experienced a political turmoil in 2015.

Since his inauguration in 2020, President Ndayishimiye has reportedly introduced a raft of foreign and domestic policy reforms to salvage Burundi’s international reputation and restore economic partnerships. 

The President’s efforts are said to have started to pay off, with the European Union (EU) announcing on February 8 that it will be lifting the sanctions it placed on Burundi in 2016.

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The international community sanctioned Burundi after Pierre Nkurunziza’s 2015 third presidential term bid triggered a violent political crisis.

This escalated into street demonstrations, a failed coup, and armed attacks on military garrisons that displaced over 300,000 people by 2018.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.