The Burundian government has requested a modification of the zero limit on nonconcessional external debt in the country’s arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). It has sought to increase the grant element of the financing for the hydroelectric plant. Executive Directors support this request as the benefits of the hydroelectric plant outweigh the additional risk arising from the proposed line of credit. This will help Burundi increase its electricity generation capacity significantly, which has been identified by both donors and businesses as the major constraint to growth.
This paper discusses the progress made by Burundi under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Burundi has made satisfactory progress in achieving the completion point triggers. It has fully implemented the triggers on preparing and implementing a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment. The paper recommends that the Executive Directors of the International Development Association (IDA) and the IMF approve the completion point for Burundi under the enhanced HIPC Initiative.
This paper explains Burundi’s Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). Burundi’s social indicators reflect the effects of poverty compounded by decades of violence. The government’s Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) is based on broad consultations, but limited in some provinces by security conditions. The debt sustainability analysis (DSA) shows that even after HIPC assistance, Burundi would remain above the HIPC threshold for a considerable period of time, leaving it vulnerable to prolonged risk of debt distress.
Burundi’s economy has continued to grow at a slower pace than envisaged owing to the impact of food and fuel shocks on aggregate demand. The macroeconomic outlook remains broadly positive but subject to risks that emanate from the security situation and the external environment. The foremost risks are a decline in donor support, warranting an abrupt fiscal adjustment, and a worsening in the security situation. These risks are mitigated in part by reforms that have improved revenue mobilization and efforts in nation building.
The Burundian economy is recovering but at a slower pace than previously expected, while inflation is expected to rise considerably. The macroeconomic outlook has been adversely affected by the surge in global food and fuel prices. Policies focused on the appropriate policy response to the food and fuel price shock, with a view to consolidating economic stability and further reducing poverty are required. Executive Directors urge the government to anchor medium-term fiscal policy to debt sustainability. Sustained growth depends on accelerating structural reforms.
Burundi is emerging from more than a decade of civil conflict that started with the 1993 coup d’état against its first elected government. Macroeconomic developments in 2005 were broadly in line with the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program, although growth was lower at about 1 percent, largely because of a poor coffee harvest and worsening drought in the north. The 2006 budget, adopted in late 2005, envisaged a drop in revenues to 18.9 percent of GDP and spending of 40.8 percent of GDP.
Burundi’s First Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria are discussed. Fiscal slippages emerged following the surge in petroleum prices and higher spending needs associated with the peace process and the domestically financed counterpart to much higher-than-expected project spending. Important progress has been made in pursuing peace and reconciliation and initiating the multiyear demobilization effort and security programs. Burundi has made considerable progress in normalizing relations with international creditors.
Burundi’s Fourth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement is discussed. The measures undertaken to enhance fiscal outlook by the 2015 elections are reviewed. Satisfactory progress has been made on structural reforms. Policy discusses have focused on reinvigorating program implementation after the difficulties in completing the third review under the ECF arrangement. The IMF staff recommends the completion of the fourth review under the ECF arrangement, setting of new performance and indicative criteria for September 2014, and the disbursement of SDR 5 million.
Burundi showed commendable performance owing to its prudent macroeconomic policies and ambitious structural reforms under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Executive Directors appreciated its macroeconomic stability, strong fiscal discipline, and prudent monetary policies in support of low inflation objectives. They emphasized the need to reduce poverty, sustain macroeconomic stability, and strengthen implementation of structural reforms in reaching the MDGs. They appreciated the efforts taken to deepen implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which offers a framework for the diversification of growth and exports, the improvement of public finance management, and the integration of the regional and global economy.
Michael Atingi-Ego, Mr. Dominique Desruelle, Sudarshan Gooptu, and Sudhir Shetty
The global financial crisis has slowed the Burundian economy and a significant decline in inflation. Against the background of the East African Community (EAC) integration, the Article IV Consultation discussions focused on three fundamental themes. IMF staff and authorities agreed on the need to pursue appropriate growth-enhancing reforms. The authorities and staff agreed on the need to continue reforms of wages and employment to bring the wage bill down to sustainable levels. The fourth review was completed based on Burundi’s performance and the strength of the program.