PRESS RELEASE

Burundi: WB approves Budget Support to Increase Competition through Diversifying Key Growth Sectors

January 13, 2015

WASHINGTON, January 12, 2015–The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$25 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to support the Government of Burundi’s program to create jobs, improve its business environment and increase diversification in promising growth sectors such as coffee and mining through private sector-led economic growth.

The financing approved today supports the Eighth Economic Reform Support Grant (ERSG), the last in the three part programmatic series promoting the government’s efforts to transition the post-conflict country into a stable and growing economy. The focus of the series aims to improve public finance management and budget transparency, enhance competition and economic diversification as well as strengthen safety nets for the poorest.

““The reforms supported by this ERSG VIII are expected to contribute to reducing Burundi’s poverty and vulnerability,” said Rachidi R. Radji, the World Bank Country Manager for Burundi.The operation will encourage private sector development through reforms in the coffee and mining sector which is critical for the structural transformation of the economy. It will support transparency and good governance in the mining sector to ensure that the benefits from the extraction of natural resources are shared with the poorest, particularly, those at the bottom 40% of the population.

As a post-conflict country, Burundi faces huge economic and social infrastructure gaps. Access to electricity and transport services is uneven and concentrated mainly on urban areas.

“The government is working hard to reinforce the country’s resilience to external shocks and improve public spending to benefit the growth sectors of the economy while also putting an emphasis on the needs of the poorest.” said Mamadou Ndione the World Bank Task Team Leader for the ERSG VII. “The operation will continue to support Burundi’s efforts by promoting reforms that encourage revenue mobilization, as well as expenditure management and control to cope with challenges and guarantee the delivery of social and infrastructure services to citizens.”

The ERSG VIII will support the government’s main priority of implementing it second Poverty Reduction Strategy Program (PRSP II), which focuses on strengthening good governance, transforming the economy through sustained, job-creating growth, and improving access to basic services.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.



Media Contacts
In Washington
Aby Toure
Tel : (202) 473-8302
akonate@worldbank.org
In Bujumbura
Marie-Claire Nzeyimana
Tel : 257 22 20 6200
mnzeyimana@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2015/274/AFR




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