WASHINGTON, D.C., October 24, 2012 –The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors discussed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to support Burundi’s development strategy and lay a firm foundation for growth and poverty reduction. The Board also approved the Sixth Economic Reform Support Grant (ERSG VI) to the Republic of Burundi in the amount of SDR 16.5 million (US$25 million equivalent).
The four-year CAS covering the 2013-2016 is aligned with Burundi’s development priorities spelled out in the country’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II). It will focus on two strategic objectives namely, improving competitiveness by establishing an enabling environment for inclusive growth and poverty reduction; and increasing resilience by consolidating social stability. The CAS which is the Bank’s business plan for Burundi will lay the foundation for faster and more inclusive growth and help mitigate risks of renewed instability by building trust between the state and its citizens.
“Over the next three years, we will step up efforts to enhance development impact through establishing a conducive environment for growth. This includes reducing binding constraints and the cost of doing business. This focus was explicitly requested by the Government and by the private sector and civil society groups during consultations”, said Philippe Dongier, Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. “The strategy places an emphasis on strengthening governance, as a cross-cutting foundation for sustainable impact”, Dongier added.
The process leading up to the new CAS focused on a series of multi-stakeholder consultations including with key Government institutions, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, media, academia, private sector, and social accountability agencies.
The new CAS will also maintain and increase support for public financial management and budget planning, improving the business climate, and heightening agricultural productivity. This is expected to help boost Burundi’s export competitiveness. Under the new strategy, the World Bank will also continue to support existing safety net programs that include labor-intensive public works to provide employment opportunities, community and social development interventions that promote more equitable local service delivery, and ongoing efforts to demobilize ex-combatants and support their socioeconomic livelihood.
“The proposed new program will include a series of development policy operations, investment lending, policy dialogue, economic and sector work and technical assistance. To leverage resources of the International Development Association (IDA), the CAS will promote innovative financing, such as output-based schemes and guarantee products aiming to attract private sector financing”, said Jean-Pascal Nganou, Co-Task Team Leader for the CAS.
Regarding the approval by the Board of the ERSG VI, Mr. Rachidi Radji, Country Manager for Burundi, said that “the proposed Development Policy Operation (DPO) grant is the first in a series of three operations designed to support the Government of Burundi's overarching objective of transforming the country's trajectory from a fragile post-conflict equilibrium to a resilient growth-focused path.”