Burundi

Burundi: Government pledges transparency

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BUJUMBURA, 28 May 2007 (IRIN) - The Burundian government has pledged to strengthen good governance to ensure that funds earmarked for poverty reduction programmes are used properly.

"Barundi people thank you for your contributions and expect that the funds will be disbursed as soon as possible," President Pierre Nkurunziza said at a donor meeting in the capital of Bujumbura on 25 May. "I express my firm commitment to strengthen good governance and ensure that the funds go into the right hands."

The donors, who pledged US$665.6 million to fund the poverty reduction action plan for 2007-2010, called for better coordination of funded activities, prompting the government to promise to set up a coordination committee within two weeks.

The World Bank representative to Burundi, Allassane Sow, said the bank had three expectations after the meeting: "Results, results, results."

Burundi's director-general of development planning, Gerald Muringa, told reporters the pledges had surpassed the government's expectations. "The Burundi government expects to implement the priority action plan [in good time] as the pledges had gone beyond the government expectations."

Out of a total appeal of $1.320 billion, $534.7 million was outstanding as the rest had already been promised and programmed.

"The funds will go to key sectors identified with donors, such as food production, agriculture, reform of the justice system, capacity-building, education, health and the promotion of the private sector," Muringa said. "Out of the amount pledged, $175 million will go to budget support."

The leading contributors included the European Union, the World Bank and traditional partners as Belgium, France and the Netherlands. China annulled debt amounting to $28 million and promised to build a hospital, a centre for the prevention and treatment of malaria, and schools.

Burundi's last donor meeting in February 2006 targeted the mobilisation of funds for emergency programmes. The new programmes aim to rebuild Burundi's shattered economy after 13 years of civil war.

At the start of the meeting, the donors urged the government to conclude a peace accord with the Forces national de libération rebel group.

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