Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country is emerging from more than a decade of civil conflict. The World Bank’s country assistance strategy focuses on structural reforms to further increase growth and reduce poverty. The economy is emerging from the effects of the global crisis. Performance under the Extended Credit Facility-supported (ECF) program has been satisfactory. The discussions focus on the appropriate policy mix to consolidate economic stability and support recovery of the economy. The economy is expected to continue to recover from the effects of the global crisis.
This paper discusses key findings of the Second Review for Burundi under the three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). All quantitative and structural performance criteria for March 2009 were met, and structural reforms are on track. In the near term, the authorities are determined to focus on sustaining macroeconomic stability, increasing domestic resource mobilization, promoting pro-poor growth, and implementing the power-sharing agreement to consolidate the peace process. Their commitment to the PRGF-supported program is unwavering and their end-March 2009 program performance has been impressive.
This paper presents key findings of the First Review for Burundi under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Economic growth in Burundi increased to 4.5 percent in 2008, mainly because of a good coffee harvest and more donor-financed projects. The economic outlook is generally positive but subject to risks arising from the security situation and the external environment. Performance under the PRGF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative and structural performance criteria at end-September 2008 were met, and structural reforms are proceeding.
This Selected Issues paper on Burundi highlights that after the Arusha Peace Agreement in 2000 Burundi has faced a wide range of challenges to generate sustained and equitable economic growth and improve social conditions. Burundi has begun to stabilize the economy, liberalized the trade and exchange regimes, reformed monetary policy, and taken steps to reinforce public financial management. GDP growth has been high during the program, except in 2005, when drought and floods reduced growth to about 1 percent of GDP.
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 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.
The Burundian economy faced several adverse shocks. The government responded by allowing greater exchange rate flexibility and by tightening its monetary policy. The fiscal stance was in line with the program, and program implementation has been broadly satisfactory despite difficult circumstances. Sustaining revenue mobilization remains a top priority. Public financial management needs to be bolstered significantly and the country remains at high risk of debt distress, underscoring the importance of reinforcing debt management. Monetary policy should remain tight until inflation falls.
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.