For most of the nations invading Somalia at any given time, the question of “why” is never particularly clear, and couched in platitudes about international unity or the global war on terrorism. For tiny Burundi, however, the reason is clear: cash money.
A nation whose nominal GDP is just around a billion and a half dollars annually, Burundi sends its troops abroad not looking for dragons to slay, but looking to shore up its own national budget. The troops are paid by the African Union for their role in the occupation, the princely sum of $750 a month (in a nation where the per capita GDP is about $15 per month), which is heavily taxed by the Burundi government, netting them a good chunk of tax revenue.
The taxation nets the government some 6 billion Burundian Francs per year, which is over 10 percent of the government’s annual revenue.