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Overview

  • A landlocked country in East Africa, Burundi is a low-income economy where 80% of the population is employed by the agriculture sector. It is a country of the Great Lakes, surrounded by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west and bordered by Lake Tanganyika to the southwest. With a population of 11.6 million, of which 50.7% (2018) are women, it is one of the most densely populated countries. 

    Burundi has made significant progress in terms of quality and access to education. Since the introduction of free primary education in 2005, the Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) in primary education reached 120.3% in the 2018/2019 school year without significant variation between provinces, gender or wealth.

    Political context

    Burundi is a constitutional republic whose second largest city, Gitega, became the country’s political capital in 2019. Gitega is home to the presidency of the Republic and the Senate, while the main state institutions are still located in Bujumbura, the economic capital. 

    Triple voting was organized in May 2020 and included presidential, parliamentary, and communal council elections. General Evariste Ndayishimiye, former Secretary General of the ruling CNDD-FDD party and majority candidate, won the elections. He replaces the late President Pierre Nkurunziza, who had just spent 15 years in power. The new Constitution establishes the Presidency of the Republic of Burundi for a renewable term of seven years and creates the office of Vice President and Prime Minister. These three bodies constitute the high authorities of the country. There are 36 political parties in the country, and the CNDD-FDD also won the majority of seats in the elections for Parliamentarians and Communal Councilors. 

    Socio-economic context

    Burundi has experienced a unique economic situation over the last five years, due in particular to the decline in foreign aid since 2015, which has caused both fiscal and balance of payments difficulties. 

    To compensate for this loss, the government has mobilized domestic resources to a large extent, but this has not been sufficient to meet the continuously rising social demand driven by a very high population growth rate.  

    • Economic growth increased from 1.6% in 2018 to 1.8% in 2019

    • Deflation due to falling food prices in 2018 (-2.8%) continued in 2019 to -0.8% while inflation had reached 16% in 2017. 

    • The economy is slowly recovering from this crisis, but the weakness of economic growth in relation to population growth results in low per capita income estimated at about $260 in 2019. 

    Impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus)

    In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has put in place mechanisms to mitigate the spread of the virus, including closure of the Bujumbura International Airport, mass COVID-19 screening, training for health care personnel and the establishment of care centers for those who test positive. 

    COVID-19 will also have repercussions on Burundi's economy, which is facing a double shock of supply and demand. All productive sectors are expected to contract, including agriculture, an important pillar of the Burundian economy. 

    Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020

  • The Burundi Country Partnership Framework (CPF), approved by the World Bank Group's Board of Directors in July 2019,  focuses on two priority areas, namely: (i) strengthening human capital; and (ii) strengthening the fundamental foundations for economic and social resilience. Macroeconomic stability, structural reforms, and effective governance guided by citizen engagement are the foundation of these two priority areas.

    Burundi receives financing from the WBG through the International Development Association (IDA) on a three-year performance-based cycle. While IDA18 funding amounted to $300 million, the country has also benefited from $15 million from the Regional Sub-Window for Refugee and Host Communities. Its implementation rate was 100% at the end of FY2020 with an average disbursement for the entire portfolio of 27%, well above the 20% target for the Africa Region. 

    The new IDA19 allocation is $321 million. It will be complemented by an allocation of $256 million from the Prevention and Resilience (PRA) window of the Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group. Burundi is also eligible for the IDA19 regional fund, the crisis response fund, and the International Finance Corporation-Multilateral Investment Guarantee Association IDA19 private sector fund. 

    The World Bank's current portfolio in Burundi consists of 12 country projects and three regional projects that together are valued at $863.30 million. The breakdown by sector is: 

    • Energy 39%

    • Agriculture 16%

    • Health 15%

    • Governance and job creation 9% 

    • Social development 7%

    • Social protection 5% 

    Education 5%- The environment 4%In April 2020, an additional $5 million was released to help the country cope with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, while emergency funding from the Pandemic Emergency Fund of $1.6 million was disbursed to contribute to a tripartite initiative between the Government of Burundi, technical and financial partners, and the private sector. Through this initiative, Savonor, a company that makes “blue soap," reduced the price of soap by half, while   a regular handwashing awareness campaign for the most vulnerable populations was developed. 

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Burundi focuses on capacity building programs for women entrepreneurs. A Systematic Diagnostic of the private sector is planned for 2021, which will provide options for strategic IFC engagement in Burundi. 

    Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020

  • Project results in Burundi include:

    Human Development

    The "KIRA" Health System Support Project (2017-2021, $50 million), aims to improve the utilization of quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services throughout the country through performance-based financing. Under the project: 

    • More than 1.5 million women have benefited from skilled attendance at birth

    • 6.3 million children were fully immunized with the second dose of measles vaccine scheduled between 18 and 23 months of life 

    • 15 million women and children received basic nutrition services.

    The "MERANKABANDI" Social Nets Support Project (2017-2022, $40 million) aims to provide regular cash transfers to households with children (0-12 years old) living in extreme poverty and vulnerability while consolidating key implementation mechanisms for the development of a basic system of social safety nets. Project results include:  

    • Regular cash transfers for 56,090 households in 16 communes in the provinces of Gitega, Karuzi, Kirundo, and Ruyigi to reduce their poverty 

    • Bi-monthly coaching sessions to beneficiary households to promote their investments in human capital

    • Distribution of school kits to 2,018 children from the Twa ethnic group for the 2019/2020 school year

    Infrastructure 

    The Jiji Mulembwe Hydroelectric Development Project (2015-2019, $270.4 million) aims to increase the supply of clean, low-cost hydropower to Burundi's national grid by bringing 49 MW of additional power to the country. Project results include:

    • Compensation for 1,579 households affected by the project. 40 houses, 1 school, 1 church have been built during the fiscal year 2019-2020. 

    • REGIDESO has started the implementation of a plan to improve its performance through the acquisition of a management information system/geographic information system and a smart meter system for industrial customers, thus enabling better management of all its customers for improved collections.    

    Sustainable Development 

    Local Development for Employment Project (2018-2022, $50 million) aims to create income-generating activities for individuals and enterprises and improve access to basic infrastructure in certain regions by targeting vulnerable populations and medium, small and micro enterprises in certain value chains. Project results include: 

    • The construction and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure has enabled the creation of 200,000 jobs and 50,000 people have had increased access to this basic infrastructure

    • Institutional support enabled the organization of institutional, organizational and financial audits of 8 entities (Bujumbura City Hall, 5 communes, FONIC and the Decentralization Directorate)

    • Elaboration of environmental impact studies for 8 sub-projects for environmental and social protection 

    • Support in computer equipment for the Burundian Agency of Locally Elected Officials (ABELO)

     

    Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020

  • The World Bank co-chairs the Policy Advisory Group (PAG), which coordinates the development interventions of technical and financial partners in Burundi.

    It also works closely with the various United Nations agencies in project implementation, reporting and capacity building. Similarly, the World Bank cooperates either in co-financing or in partnership with regional banks such as the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

    In the area of macro-economic management, the Bank is a partner of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    Last Updated: Sep 14, 2020

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LENDING

Burundi: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
3 Avenue de l'Aviation
Bujumbura
Burundi
+257-22-20-6200
For general information and inquiries
Ange Dany Gakunzi
External Affairs Officer
+257-22-20-6200
agakunzi@worldbankgroup.org
For project-related issues and complaints
burundialert@worldbank.org