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 of 2000, Burundi has made progress toward political and social stability while also improving the lives of its people.
Burundi’s Development Challenges
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 580 households. Thirteen years of ethnically-fueled civil war widened poverty, increased basic social needs, and severely damaged basic economic infrastructure. 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.
It is unlikely that Burundi will reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, despite signs of progress. Life expectancy rose to 50 years in 2009 from 43 years in 2000. Vaccination rates have improved. The government has attempted to increase coverage of public services by announcing in May 2006 free health services to children under five and pregnant women. This measure helped to decrease the under-five mortality rate by 20% from 2005 to 2009. 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% in 2007-2008 from 80% in 2003-2004. However, quality is low and the completion rate is only 46%.
Last update: September 2013
The new Country Assistance Strategy FY13-FY16 was prepared jointly by IDA and IFC. The CAS is aligned with priorities of the second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II) and aims to help Burundi to lay the foundation for faster and more inclusive growth with a view to reducing poverty; and mitigate the risk of renewed instability by building trust between the State and its citizens. The CAS focuses on laying the foundation for greater competitiveness, growth and poverty reduction, as well as interventions that will help consolidate stability and security.The CAS supports two strategic objectives: first, improving competitiveness by establishing an enabling environment for inclusive growth; and second, increasing resilience by consolidating social stability. Strengthening governance is the foundation of the CAS, as it contributes to both strategic objectives.
Education, health, HIV/AIDS, and social policy reforms have been addressed through four specific projects: economic management and foundations for good governance and anti-corruption through the Economic Reform Support Grant Project, Public Works (water, sanitation, and flood protection), job creation, urban development, transportation rehabilitation, and energy through the Public Works and Urban Management Project, the Road Sector Development Project, and the Multi-Sectoral Water & Electricity Infrastructure Project and Regional Communications Infrastructure. IDA also coordinates international donor activities, while providing macroeconomic and sector analyses to inform the government’s policies and programs.
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. The actual development program of Burundi, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Program II (2012–2015), 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
In Burundi, the government and development partners are taking steps to improve donor harmonization. The World Bank and the African Development Bank carried out joint stakeholder consultations in Burundi to prepare their respective country strategies. The Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the US Agency for International Development collaborate to ensure full complementarities of respective work programs in agriculture. Under the Country Assistance Strategy, the Bank seeks to improve aid effectiveness and coordination by building the capacity of Burundi’s aid coordination unit. In addition, the Bank and UK’s Department for International Development are helping the government use, when feasible, sector-wide approaches and monitor progress toward the partnership commitments of the Paris Declaration. The Bank works closely with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC) to improve public finance management. In partnership with the Dutch and Norwegian governments, the World Bank has provided direct support to the budget. IDA also collaborates closely with UN agencies such as United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve the provision of water, sanitation, health, and education to the poor.
In partnership with UNDP and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), IDA is strengthening capacity of Burundians to plan development programs, monitor progress, evaluate results, and manage their own development processes. IDA has forged partnerships with civil society groups through the “Conseil National de Lutte Contre le Sida” to support the fight against HIV/AIDS. Wide consultations are also undertaken regularly in order to improve the quality of policymaking, strengthen national ownership of key reforms, and promote accountability.
Last updated: September 2013
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 2010, including the adoption of organic law, a law or system of laws which forms the foundation of a government, corporation or other organization's body of rules, for the Ministry of Finance. These included a revised procurement code, investment code, commercial code, competition law and modem planning and budgeting instruments like MTEF (Medium Term Expenditures Framework).
Reduction in the number of cases pending before the Commercial Court beyond the 60-day deadline mandated by law to 10% in 2009 down from 40% in 2007.
Rehabilitating agriculture from 2004 to 2010 by improving yields. Rice yields rose from 2.5 MT/ha to 5.0 MT/ha from 2.5 MT/ha, cassava yields rose from six MT/ha to12 MT/ha, milk yields rose from 2.5 liters/cow/day to seven liters/cow/day, onion yields rose from four MT/ha to 15 MT/ha from 4 MT/ha. About 40,000 households benefitted (35% headed by women) and another 240,000 people benefitted indirectly (45% were households headed by women).
Improving access to education from 2006 to 2010. The primary completion rate increased to 48% from 38% and the gross enrollment rate to 130.4% from 101.3%. Gross enrollment rate is defined as the total enrollment in a specific level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official school-age population corresponding to the same level of education in a given school year. The gross enrollment rate can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over-aged and under-aged students because of early or late entrants, and grade repetition.
Filling the gaps in education infrastructure and materials by constructing 32 new schools and continuing the distribution of tens of thousands of textbooks to schoolchildren.
Curbing the risk of HIV/AIDS infection. The number of people voluntarily testing rose from 89,000 to 237,000 from 2005 to 2009, and the number of patients prescribed antiretroviral treatment increased from 14,343 in 2008 to 20,307 in 2010. The number of HIV-positive pregnant women under mother-to-child transmission protection increased from eight percent to 61%.
Strengthening local development since 2007, which includes training of about 2,000 local staff in project management techniques, 368 micro-projects agreements in addition 182 in favor of vulnerable groups.
Accelerating job creation from 2004 to 2009 (6,082,722 person-days, 17% women); increasing budget allocations to community infrastructure by 80% from 2004 to 2007; creating of 3,614 maintenance teams for local community infrastructure.
Investing in roads from 2003 to 2010: rehabilitation of more than 176.2 km of roads and maintenance of over 885 km of roads; generating over 12,000 jobs; and developing road maintenance schemes by strengthening the financial capacity of the Road Fund.
Enhancing access to electricity while securing financing viability by financing 13,000 additional prepayment meters in public buildings and areas with poor revenue recovery.
Building national capacities in procurement, and re-structuring the national power company’s balance sheet to remove unsustainable debt.