With a history of conflict and widespread poverty, Burundi has been working with the International Development Association (IDA) to rebuild peace and security, modernize public finance, provide basic services, and strengthen the agricultural sector. Since the Arusha Accords in 2000, Burundi has made progress toward political and social stability while also improving the lives of its people. From 2005 to 2009, net primary enrollment increased by 23 percent, under-five mortality decreased by 20 percent, and births assisted by skilled personnel doubled.
Burundi is a small landlocked country with an economy dominated by subsistence agriculture. Coffee is the main export, accounting for more than 60 percent of export revenues and providing income to some 800,000 households. Thirteen years of ethnically-fueled civil war widened poverty, increased basic social needs, and severely damaged basic economic infrastructure. Since the Arusha Accords in 2000, which led to power-sharing agreements and elections in 2005 and 2010, Burundi’s development program has aimed at consolidating peace and security, revitalizing the economy through agriculture rehabilitation, and improving social service delivery. Burundi faces tremendous challenges in diversifying the economy, reducing the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to shocks, and strengthening good governance and anti-corruption practices within a highly politicized civil service.
About 71 percent of the total population benefit from safe water (above the Sub-Saharan African average of 58 percent). In education, progress has been made, but further progress is critical to the future growth of the country. Since the “free school” policy was introduced in September 2005, primary education gross enrollment has significantly improved to about 130 percent in 2007-08 from 80 percent in 2003-04. However, quality is low and the completion rate is only 46 percent. Since September 2006, Burundi has seen macroeconomic stabilization, improvement in budget discipline and efficacy, and both the rehabilitation and creation of economic infrastructure.
Since September 2006, Burundi has seen macroeconomic stabilization, improvement in budget discipline and efficacy, and both the rehabilitation and creation of economic infrastructure. In relation to that, the outputs of the bank-supported programs include:
Contribution to peace and security by demobilizing 29,527 adult ex-combatants from 2004 to 2010 and 6,886 ex-combatants, including 380 minors, in 2009.
Supporting economic reforms from 2004 to 2009, including the adoption of organic law for the Ministry of Finance, a revised procurement code, investment code, commercial code, and competition law.
Reduction in the number of cases pending before the Commercial Court beyond the 60-day deadline mandated by law to 10 percent in 2009 from 40 percent in 2007.
Rehabilitating agriculture from 2004 to 2010 by improving yields: rice yields rose to 5.0 MT/ha from 2.5 MT/ha; cassava to 12 MT/ha from 6 MT/ha; milk to 7 liters/cow/day from 2.5 liters/cow/day, onion to 15 MT/ha from 4 MT/ha. About 40,000 households benefitted (35 percent headed by women) and another 240,000 people benefitted indirectly (45 percent were households headed by women).
Improving access to education from 2006 to 2010: the primary completion rate increased to 48 percent from 38 percent and the gross enrollment rate to 130.4 percent from 101.3 percent.
This is an emergency or disaster risk reduction type of project. There has not been much donor interest or capacity to support this project. IDA remains the only donor partner for this project through its three successive phases.
Toward the Future
The Bank’s strategic directions in the country will continue to support Burundi’s transition from a post-conflict economy to a developing economy by selectively assisting the government to implement a credible Poverty Reduction Strategy. This will help the country: (i) promote sustainable and broad-based economic growth through increased productivity of food crops, a larger exports base, an improved business environment, improved infrastructural services thanks to regional integration; (ii) improve access to social services to consolidate social stability through more efficient and transparent public financial management and improved access to quality basic services; (iii) diffuse good governance and anti-corruption practices by strengthening Burundi’s governance strategy and institutions to improve public financial management.
The future development program of Burundi will help achieve this transition provided that peace and security are preserved for foreign direct investment to flow in, demographic issues start to be addressed, external financial support is increased, national capacities are continuously strengthened to monitor and manage development programs and public resources, and electricity production is secured. Relying on its close partnership with Burundi and recent efforts to develop such planning tools as a Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, IDA will continue to assist the Government of Burundi in addressing the development challenges.