Commenting on the signing of the CSP, Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson said: "The peaceful and constructive handover of power to a new president on 1 May was encouraging, but recent events should remind us of the scale of the challenges facing Burundi's government. Signing the CSP sends a signal that we are determined to back the country's efforts towards reconstruction and successful conclusion of the Arusha peace process."
The CSP was drawn up in accordance with the principles of EU-ACP partnership set out in the Cotonou Agreement and the strategy was framed in close co-operation with the government of Burundi. It is backed by a €172 million Indicative Programme under the ninth EDF, €115 million of which has already been programmed. The remaining €57 million will cover unforeseen needs. Programmable funds will be focused on the following sectors:
Rural development: Between 1990 and 2001 the poverty rate in Burundi swelled from 40% to 69%. Over 90% of the population live in rural areas, and the thrust of measures in this sector will be to revive the economy and improve the currently harsh living conditions. The plan is to provide aid for agriculture, which employs three-quarters of the working population, and also to diversify productive activities. Other operations will include rehabilitation of social infrastructure and support for rural health care facilities, to help with the resettlement of refugees and displaced people.
Good governance: Here the main aim is to buttress the peace process by providing institutional help for Burundi's administration, particularly at provincial and local level, decentralisation being a main plank of the transition government's reform programme. Other activities will include support for disarmament and demilitarisation and the resettlement of demobilised fighters.
Macroeconomic support: Aid has been earmarked to support the government's macroeconomic reform programme, with particular emphasis on giving the poorest members of society better access to social assets such as health care, education and drinking water.
On a smaller scale, the strategy encompasses support for civil society participation in the development process and technical assistance.
For background information on EU relations with Burundi see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/strat_papers/index_fr.htm