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World Bank to help Burundi improve public finance management and foster private sector-led growth

December 15, 2011

The World Bank Board approves today a single tranche grant to the Republic of Burundi in the amount of US$35 million for a Fifth Economic Reform Support Grant (ERSG V) to help the Government of Burundi to consolidate recent efforts to transform the country’s economy from a post-conflict to a sustainable development oriented economy.

The Fifth Economic Reform Support Grant is the second in a series of two operations (the first operation of the series, ERSG IV, was approved in December 2010), designed to assist Burundi to consolidate efforts to formulate and implement policies to accelerate growth and promote human development, including through private sector development.

According to the Task Team Leader of this operation, Jean-Pascal Nganou, “The new reform program builds on a series of two operations and draws further lessons from the Emergency Economic Recovery Credit (EERC, 2000), the Economic Rehabilitation Credit (ERC, 2002), and ERSG I (2006).” He added that “the proposed program will also lay the groundwork for reforms in the energy sector in future budget support operations, the success of which is critical to support private sector led growth. Moreover, in a context of increasingly volatile international food and fuel prices, this operation supports the authorities' efforts to cope with the effects of an ongoing food and fuel price crisis on the poor.”

The proposed reform program aims at reinforcing and operationalizing reforms, which began during ERSG II and III and pursued under ERSG IV. It will be focused on: (i) consolidating reforms already underway in public finance management aimed at improving budget credibility, planning, and controls; and (ii) reenergizing the reform process in private sector development, including through improvements in the legislative framework and competitiveness in the coffee subsector.

“This grant is designed to assist the Government of Burundi in implementing policies and institutional reforms to promote growth and achieve sustainable reductions in poverty. It is aligned with the Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (FY09-12), which is also based on Burundi's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper”, said the Acting Country Director for Burundi, Mercy M. Tembon. She concluded that “Improvements in the management of scarce public finance resources will make more funds available to finance PRSP priorities and to achieve the government’s poverty reduction objectives.”

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