International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that important changes have been made in the World Bank’s management systems since Mr. A. W. Clausen became President in July 1981. The changes reflect Mr. Clausen’s belief that there needs to be a more collegial approach to decision making and greater delegation of authority. The aim is that the World Bank should become more efficient and its activities should be more responsive to its clients’ needs. A Managing Committee was also established to take decisions on all key issues facing the World Bank.
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 Joint Staff Advisory Note focuses on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper–Annual Progress Report (APR) for Burundi. Slow implementation of structural reforms, a sharp decline in coffee production, and the unstable security situation are largely responsible for lower-than-expected economic growth. Poor weather conditions and rising international petroleum and food prices are the main factors behind the faster-than-expected increase in domestic consumer prices. The APR also discusses the issue of regional economic integration, which is one of the elements that will shape medium-term economic developments in Burundi.
This Joint Staff Advisory Note provides comments and advice on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), plans for its implementation, and priorities for strengthening it, including through annual progress reports (APRs) for Burundi. The PRSP highlights that Burundi’s weak institutional capacity must be strengthened if the poverty reduction strategy and growth programs are to succeed. There is particular need for improved public financial management and better implementation of socioeconomic policies and reforms over the medium term.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) on Burundi focus on the implementation of the interim PRSP. The implementation of the Interim PRSP has been undertaken in a relatively difficult social and political context, as Burundi is still involved in a process of normalizing and democratizing its political life. The experience acquired in the process of formulating the I-PRSP showed gaps in the dissemination of information to the public at large, as well as gaps in the understanding of the PRSP process on the part of all the social and economic development players in Burundi.
The poverty reduction strategy program summarizes the current state of knowledge on poverty in Burundi derived from the participatory process and national consultations. The paper describes Burundi’s serious poverty situation and presents a sound poverty reduction strategy that is integrated into the immediate post-conflict priorities stemming from the Arusha agreement. Peace and democratic governance; reintegration of conflict victims and disadvantaged groups into the economy; private sector development; issues on human capital; HIV/AIDS-related issues; and advancing the role of women in development are the priority areas.
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.
This paper discusses key findings of the Fifth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement for Burundi. Macroeconomic performance under the PRGF-supported program in 2006 was broadly in line with the program. All end-June and end-September 2006 quantitative performance targets were met with the exception of a temporary accumulation of external arrears. Structural reforms lagged in mid-2006. The structural performance criterion at end-September and the structural benchmarks were missed. The measures covered by the performance criterion and three of the benchmarks were implemented by early 2007.
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.