Relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions supports economic recovery
On September 25, following a drop in active COVID-19 cases, public transport began operating at full capacity across the country, slightly reducing transportation costs. Additionally, the reopening of schools in October has allowed the education sector to resume for the first time since March. If COVID-19 infection rates continue to remain low, economic recovery in formal and informal sectors is likely to improve income-earning opportunities and food access for urban households, driving improvements in urban food security from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) by February 2021.
The ongoing agricultural 2020/2021 Season A is progressing well. The rains started on time in mid-September, except in parts of the Northern and Eastern provinces where the rains were delayed by two to three weeks but were only slightly below average and generally well distributed. Average to below-average Season A harvests are expected from December 2020 to January 2021, reducing food prices and improving household food access. However, the price of beans is likely to remain high through the first quarter of 2021, driven by the prospect of a below-average harvest in the Eastern province and limited imports from Uganda.
Following the peaceful Burundian presidential election in May 2020, an agreement between UNHCR and the Rwandan and Burundian governments was reached to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees. Since August 27, there have been six convoys repatriating a total of 3,062 Burundian refugees. Approximately 500 refugees are expected to return to Burundi every two weeks due to the transit site's capacity in northwestern Burundi, limiting the return rate.