Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

This paper discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Burundi. The PRSP comes two and a half years after the approval in January 2004 by the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank of the Interim PRSP (I-PRSP). The PRSP is also the outgrowth of a long period of negotiations encouraged and supported by the international community. The PRSP presents a medium- and long-term development vision for Burundi and sets out bold poverty reduction objectives, which are consistent with the government’s 2005–10 priority program and the Millennium Development Goals.


This paper discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Burundi. The PRSP comes two and a half years after the approval in January 2004 by the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank of the Interim PRSP (I-PRSP). The PRSP is also the outgrowth of a long period of negotiations encouraged and supported by the international community. The PRSP presents a medium- and long-term development vision for Burundi and sets out bold poverty reduction objectives, which are consistent with the government’s 2005–10 priority program and the Millennium Development Goals.


21. Since the establishment of the institutions created as a result of the democratic elections, Burundi has been back on track and moving steadily toward stabilized security and improved rule of law. The State must therefore assume responsibility for two essential tasks in this scenario: restoring normalcy to people’s lives and reviving the economy.

22. From the political standpoint, Burundi entered a new phase in 2005 when it adopted a new constitution and organized free and transparent elections, which led to the election of a new President of the Republic, the establishment of a government, and election of members of Parliament, communal councils, and hillside (colline) councils.

23. It is also apparent that there are significantly fewer armed clashes, and negotiations are ongoing with the last rebel group to integrate them into the peace process.

24. Furthermore, the process of demobilizing, reinserting, and reintegrating ex-combatants and members of the former armed forces is progressing smoothly with the support of the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP). By June 2006, a year and a half after operations began, over 20,000 persons had been demobilized, including some 3,000 child soldiers.

25. The integration of combatants from the various parties and armed political movements, and of members of the former armed forces and former police, which took place concurrently with the demobilization effort, led to a profound restructuring of the country’s defense and security forces. The government is now planning to professionalize these forces so they can shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the security of the State and all its citizens. There will be a heavy emphasis on improving the management of the sector’s human and material resources, building its operational capacity, and providing adequate infrastructure and equipment. In pursuing this goal, Burundi can count on the support of the United Nations as well as several bilateral and multilateral donors and lenders. A long-term commitment of all the parties concerned—government and international partners alike—will be needed to achieve these objectives and ultimately to restore a peaceful economy in which more will be spent on people than on security.

26. It is against the backdrop of this long-term pursuit of the goal of strengthening peace and reviving the economy that one should view the preparation of this PRSP as aimed at laying the foundation for strong and sustainable economic recovery and national reconciliation.

27. This PRSP builds on the gains made in the Interim PRSP adopted in January 2004 by the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank. Its implementation enabled Burundi to reach the decision point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and to benefit from an arrangement under the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).

28. The participatory approach advocated during the PRSP preparation underscores the government’s resolve to develop policies and reforms in consultation with the people, in a spirit of complementarity in decision-making, and to acknowledge them as the primary beneficiaries of development.

29. Consultations initiated within this framework provided the opportunity to gather from all categories of the population the contributions that led to the definition of the strategic axes and priority actions to be carried out in order to achieve the objectives set.

30. Burundi’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper is organized into nine chapters. Chapter I discusses the post-conflict situation; Chapter II outlines the preparation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; Chapter III describes recent changes in Burundi’s political, economic, and social situation; Chapter IV provides an overview of poverty in Burundi; Chapter V outlines the main obstacles to poverty reduction and growth; Chapter VI six sets out the actual strategy; Chapter VII addresses the macroeconomic and fiscal framework; Chapter VIII describes the implementation of the PRSP monitoring mechanisms; and Chapter IX outlines the strategy implementation constraints and risks.


2.1. Institutional organization

31. At the national level, the Interministerial Committee for the Monitoring of Economic and Social Policies (CI/SPES) is responsible for preparing the PRSP and defining its broad outlines. It has 15 members and is chaired by the Second Vice President of Burundi, with the Minister of Finance as Vice Chairman. The Committee is supported by the Permanent Secretariat for the Monitoring of Economic and Social Reforms (SP/REFES), which coordinates the activities.

32. The Permanent Secretariat for the Monitoring of Economic and Social Reforms (SP/REFES) is the lynchpin in the drafting of the PRSP. It is assisted by a Technical Oversight Committee (CTS) comprising 10 members representing civil society, NGOs, the technical ministries, women’s associations, the private sector, and development partners.

33. The Technical Oversight Committee issues assessments of the major phases of the process, provides guidance for the activities, ensures the partners are involved, and approves the reports on the participatory consultations and studies conducted at various levels.

34. At the decentralized level, preparation of the PRSP took place within the communes in the Communal Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CCDLPs) and in the provinces in the Provincial Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CPDLPs). These committees ensured organized participation of the communities, the private sector, and small farmer organizations in analyzing the determinants of poverty, the choice of strategic axes, and the priority poverty reduction actions.

2.2. Methodological approach to PRSP preparation

35. The preparation of the PRSP built on that used to produce the Interim PRSP, by: (i) raising public awareness through the media; (ii) organizing information exchange sessions; and (iii) holding consultations at the community, sector, and thematic levels throughout the country, including in Parliament.

36. These sessions were deliberately highly representative of the poorest strata of society and other segments such as youths, women, and other marginal groups, such as the Batwa, which were often underrepresented or not represented in community organizations.

37. Target groups comprising 50 participants representing the communes were chosen democratically by the people themselves, with men and women equally represented.

2.2.1. Organization of participatory consultations

a. Organization of community consultations

38. The community participatory consultations were organized with partner NGOs specializing in participatory approaches and group dynamics. The consultations took place countrywide with participation by the communities represented by CCDLPs and CPDLPs. Participants were given a chance to discuss in detail the determinants of poverty as they experienced them and to reach a consensus on the strategic axes and priority actions required to combat poverty. The consultations were also an opportunity for communities to express their commitment and resolve to participate henceforth in Burundi’s socio-economic development through the programs and projects immediately relevant to them.

b. Organization of consultations with civil society

39. Preparation of the PRSP required the involvement of all components of civil society. Thus, representatives of 145 organizations took part in the discussions that gave rise to seminal ideas on poverty and its causes, the solutions proposed, the strategic axes, and the actions required to combat poverty.

40. The participants put forward proposals on civil society’s proper role in implementing the PRSP, which focused essentially on four main points: (i) offering technical expertise in the various areas, including management of the programs and projects under the PRSP, and training and organizing beneficiaries; (ii) developing the partnership and complementarity with the government in implementing the PRSP; (iii) keeping a critical eye on the monitoring and evaluation of the PRSP through information actions, communication, and training of beneficiaries; and (iv) functioning as a counterweight by monitoring and conducting regular social audits of government action and decentralized government agencies.

c. Organization of sectoral and thematic consultations

41. Sectoral and thematic consultations were also held using a participatory and inclusive approach. Fourteen sectoral and thematic groups took part in the consultations.

42. A total of 840 participants representing different sectors and themes conducted a poverty analysis according to their respective sectors and identified opportunities for the sector to combat poverty. They also determined the strategic axes and priority actions for poverty reduction and proposed mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction activities in their sectors.

43. The disabled participated in the consultations to underscore their contributions in the “vulnerable group” sector and to find appropriate solutions for their economic and social insertion.

d. Consultations with Parliament

44. Parliament’s contribution to the participatory process reinforced its inclusiveness. It broadened the partnership and secured the buy-in essential to the success of subsequent phases of the PRSP

45. The members of Parliament conducted an in-depth diagnostic of the main challenges and major constraints thwarting the country’s development. They reviewed the various proposals put forward in community and sectoral consultations and made their input on the ways and means of implementing the PRSP.

46. The contributions of the Members of Parliament not only enriched the content of the strategic axes, but also afforded a sharper definition of the scope of the priority actions and measures to be implemented, which are all set out in the general matrix of the actions chosen for the PRSP.

47. The members of Parliament also defined the role they intended to play, especially concerning monitoring and evaluation of priority programs, outreach to the population, and encouraging the government to observe the priorities decided upon by the people

2.2.2. The review phase

48. At the commune level, the summary reports on the consultations were produced and returned to the CCDLPs prior to approval.

49. At the provincial level, the same process was followed, this time through provincial workshops, making it possible to take into account the opinions and considerations of stakeholders who had not taken part in the communal consultations.

50. An executive summary of the conclusions of the participatory consultations was drafted and presented to the provincial authorities. This review phase also included members of Parliament, who made very useful contributions toward finalizing the PRSP. A total of 14,600 persons took part in the community consultations.

2.3. Dissemination of the PRSP

51. Preparation of the PRSP was characterized by promotion of targeted communication. This multifaceted communication on the PRSP process was developed to cover all the stakeholders. Several television and radio programs were organized in the publicly and privately owned media, and the various partners were able to monitor closely the activities involved in PRSP preparation.

52. In keeping with this emphasis, the government established a website, the regular updating of which led to genuine dialogue, especially with Burundians abroad. In addition, an audiovisual information presentation tracing the different stages of the consultations is available and can be obtained from the SP/REFES.

2.4. Relevant innovations of the PRSP process

53. Given its inclusive nature, the PRSP preparation process boosted understanding and participation communities from the ground up and gave rise to the spontaneous establishment of the CCDLPs and CPDLPs.

54. This welcome initiative, resulting from the communities’ proactive stance, should be supported and recognized in the new policy of decentralization and democratization of community organizations. This new dynamic will enable grassroots population groups to participate in managing their own development.


3.1. Political developments

55. The major political development was the successful conclusion of the negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, in August 2000. Among those signing the accords in Arusha were 17 political parties. The CNDD-FDD, and FNL were absent. A transitional constitution was adopted in October 2001 and a transitional government set up in 2001 for a period of 36 months based on the principle of power sharing between the country’s two main ethnic groups. A transitional Parliament was established in 2002.

56. The transition was uneventful until May 2003. The government of the second transition signed ceasefire agreements with all the parties and armed political movements that were not signatories to the Arusha accords, except for one faction of the FNL. The spirit of the accords was one of accommodating the political weight of the respective groups in the distribution of influential positions in the army and in the central, provincial, and communal governments.

57. In January 2003, the transitional government began preparation of a National Demobilization, Reinsertion, and Reintegration Program (PNDRR) with the support of the World Bank. In May 2004, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1545 transformed the forces of the African Union’s African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) into a United Nations peacekeeping operation (ONUB) tasked with monitoring the ceasefire agreements and supporting efforts to bolster the peace process. This development was timely and should contribute positively to implementation of the PNDRR and the related program of security sector reforms.

58. In 2004, a national consensus was reached on a draft constitution and completion of the transition in 2005 through intense negotiations, which culminated successively in the signing of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in 2000, the conclusion of accords to cease hostilities with armed movements in 2003, a national consensus on a draft constitution in 2004, and the completion of the transition in September 2005.

59. The referendum on the constitution and communal, legislative, and colline elections held between February and September 2005 took place in a peaceful climate and in full transparency. The results were accepted by all the political and social stakeholders, as well as the international community.

60. The ensuing political changes also reflected strong representation of women in the decision-making bodies, including in sectors hitherto exclusively reserved for men.

61. Peace prevails throughout most of the country at present, and there is enough security to allow for resumption of economic activities locally and nationally. However, worry and skepticism are still rife, as it is clear that there continue to be instances of human rights violations, rapes, robberies, and growing insecurity in urban and rural centers. What is more, during the consultations, a fair amount of the population expressed keen concern at the lack of economic opportunities despite prospects of lasting peace. Some participants even held that one of the main obstacles to the peace process is the apprehension that peace instills, because the conflict had been cited as one factor explaining the dire poverty.

62. In order to consolidate the political gains, a process to transform the security sector was undertaken. New defense and security forces formed from the integration and demobilization of the ex-combatants are now the components of the country’s new security architecture, namely: the National Defense Force (FDN), the Burundian National Police (PNB), and the National Intelligence Service (SNR).

63. In a bid to secure permanently these gains, the government has also begun talks with the last FNL rebel movement, which has just joined the peace process.

3.2. Economic developments

64. Although the return to a peaceful situation re-establishes an environment conducive to economic recovery, innovative policies and reforms must be initiated to salve the wounds left by a conflict that lasted more than a decade.

65. Given the combined effects of the destruction of productive capital, massive population displacement, and the drop in official development assistance, Burundi’s economy experienced a significant decline.

66. Since the crisis, GDP fell an average of 3 percent annually, resulting in a cumulative decline in production of 30 percent to date. This receding GDP caused per capita incomes to drop to US$83 in 2004, from a level of US$214 in the early years of the preceding decade.

Chart 1.
Chart 1.

Changes in per capita incomes

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2007, 046; 10.5089/9781451802924.002.A001

Source: ISTEEBU database, 2005.

67. Besides the impact of the war, the Burundian economy is facing significant structural rigidities, such as its dominant but scarcely productive food-crop agriculture, limited and clearly dwindling export capacity for coffee, its primary source of foreign exchange, plus a very limited secondary sector severely hampered by the fact that the country is landlocked.

68. Investment trends are the other visible indicator of the country’s economic recession. Whereas the annual investment ratio was on average nearly 15 percent of GDP at the start of the decade, it fell to 6 percent between 1998 and 2000. This drop in investment during the crisis period is a reflection of a trend toward decapitalization of the Burundian economy. It is attributable essentially to a reduction in external assistance, which used to provide the financing for investment programs.

69. Official development assistance, which was gradually increasing in the early 1990s, dropped off considerably during the crisis. From almost US$320 million in 1992, the total volume of assistance fell below the US$100 million threshold in 1999. This trend could only have an adverse impact on the government’s financial operations.

70. The government therefore financed the public deficit primarily through borrowing from the banking system and suspending the Treasury’s obligations to donors and lenders, thus pushing external arrears to US$78.6 million by end-2004.

71. Recourse to bank financing of the budget deficit to meet the government’s operational needs contributed to expansion of the money supply, which grew from US$35 billion at end-1992 to US$201.5 billion in 2004, and to the acceleration of inflation and sharp depreciation of the national currency. The U.S. dollar, worth FBu 200 in 1992, rose to FBu 1,000 by end-2004.

72. This crisis in public finances owes its origins to the confluence of the following factors: a drop in taxable income, current expenditure requirements that could not be compressed, increased security expenditure, an unsustainable level of debt service, and a rapid depreciation of the Burundi franc.

3.3. Social trends

73. The social sector was gravely affected by the conflict that prevailed in Burundi in the past 12 years. The situation led to a considerable drop in production in virtually all sectors of the national economy and consequently caused poverty to worsen. Life expectancy at birth fell from 51 years in 1993 to less than 42 in 2005. Per capita incomes are below US$100, markedly lower than for other African countries and lower than the Sub-Saharan average, estimated at over US$500.

Chart 2.
Chart 2.

Comparison of per capita incomes in selected African countries

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2007, 046; 10.5089/9781451802924.002.A001

Source: Mini Atlas of Millennium Development Goals, World Bank, 2005.

74. Worsening poverty could also be seen in the limited access of Burundians to basic social services. The gross enrollment ratio, which reached 67.8 percent in 1993, fell to 42 percent in 1996. This situation has gradually improved, but the needs are still very great, considering the number of children of school age, the destruction of infrastructure, the dropout rate (especially among girls), and the shortage of teachers.

75. In like fashion, an overall vaccination coverage rate of 80 percent in 1992 fell to 55.3 percent in 1997, and then rebounded to 78.6 percent by end-2004.

76. HIV/AIDS is one of the main causes of mortality. The pressure on the healthcare infrastructure has become a severe handicap to proper care of the sick in general, and of AIDS patients in particular. The number of malaria victims has also risen, and for several years now malaria has been a veritable national scourge.

77. After a marked improvement in the early 1990s, potable water coverage fell from 1993 onwards. Estimates drawn in 2000 show an 8 percentage point reduction in coverage for rural areas (from 51 percent in 1993 to 43 percent in 2000). This reduced access to potable water is attributable largely to lack of maintenance and the destruction of water supply infrastructure.

78. The crisis also led to the displacement of populations within and beyond the national borders. In 2005, around 18 percent of the total population was affected, or about 1.2 million persons living in deplorable conditions in which the lack of decent housing, lack of access to basic social services, lack of potable water, crowded conditions, and malnutrition expose them to a state of physical and mental vulnerability.

79. Since the crisis began in 1993, some of the families who had escaped the massacres had to flee and find refuge in army barracks. This situation was compounded by the subsequent insecurity and their numbers continued to grow.

80. Typically, these families are living in abject poverty, which could worsen if they are not offered better prospects. Thus far, some camps have become veritable centers for the displaced. Moreover, this situation is jeopardizing the return to barracks that must take place as part of the process of integration and normalization of the security situation.

81. This uncertainly is accompanied by a new phenomenon of sexual violence, especially rape, which is gaining ground and claiming innocent victims. By way of illustration, 983 cases were recorded in 2003 compared with 1,664 in 2004, and the situation is all the more dramatic considering that 43 percent of the cases are minors, and 17 percent children under 10 years of age. Sweeping reforms are being introduced in the penal code in order to stamp out this scourge.

3.4. Economic and social recovery programs already under way

82. Since the signing of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in August 2000, the government embarked upon major programs aimed at improving the country’s economic situation. To this end, it negotiated and implemented macroeconomic and structural reforms supported by its development partners, notably the IMF and World Bank.

83. These programs provided for reforms as follows: (i) internal reforms to restore macroeconomic stability; (ii) structural reforms to promote good governance and strengthen public financial management of; and (iii) sectoral reforms to promote economic recovery.

84. Beginning in July 2001, the International Monetary Fund supported a staff-monitored program intended to: (i) contain public deficits; and (ii) jumpstart the process of improving relations with donors and lenders.

85. Given the unstable security situation, insufficient economic support, and the shortage of foreign exchange, the results of the program were not fully satisfactory. The poor performance recorded during execution delayed the completion of the post-conflict program, which did not occur until October 2002.

86. This new program, supported by an Economic Rehabilitation Credit (ERC) from the World Bank and emergency post-conflict assistance from the IMF, sought the restoration of a sound macroeconomic framework and the rehabilitation of community infrastructure.

87. In November 2003, the Bretton Woods institutions’ positive assessment of the execution of the post-conflict program led to the preparation of a three-year program of reforms (2004-2006) supported by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).

88. Based on the priority axes from the Interim PRSP, the overall objective of the three-year reform program is to promote sustained economic growth and thereby reduce poverty.

89. The main reforms agreed within the framework of the PRGF are essentially in the area of macroeconomic stabilization, economic liberalization, government withdrawal from the productive sectors, public finance reforms, and monetary management conducive to sustainable growth.

90. The results seen over the two years of implementation have been deemed broadly satisfactory in line with the overall objectives. For 2006, there are plans to build upon and continue pursuing the objective of reducing macroeconomic and financial disequilibria and controlling inflation in order to trigger economic recovery.

91. The aim of the economic program for 2006 is therefore to boost real economic growth to 6.1 percent, hold average inflation to 2.5 percent, and cap the current external balance at -17.1 percent of GDP.

92. In the budget area, social and poverty reduction expenditures will be given priority. Furthermore, improved revenue collection and domestic debt reduction will be pursued. Fresh measures have been taken in this connection under the budget law for fiscal 2006 to rehabilitate fiscal management, expand the tax base, and strengthen the monitoring of budget execution.

93. On the monetary and foreign exchange front, the government intends to curb significantly the expansion of liquidity and pursue liberalization of the exchange regime.

94. Generally speaking, 2006 is a decisive year for accelerating the implementation of structural reforms, notably the government’s withdrawal from the productive sectors, economic liberalization through an effective policy of support for the private sector, and swifter progress in the areas of governance and transparency.


95. Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries, with per capita incomes at US$83 at end-2004. The seriousness of poverty poses a major risk to the country’s economic and social recovery.

96. While some progress has been made in just a few years, thanks to tangible progress in the political arena and in the implementation of economic reforms, the social situation remains difficult because of: (i) widespread poverty; (ii) the large number of disaster victims; (iii) the shortfall in basic social services coverage, and (iv) the proportions of the HIV/AIDS problem.

97. It is difficult to ascertain fully the scope and structure of poverty in Burundi, given the shortage of reliable and detailed statistical data. The poverty analysis was carried out by using the 1998 household survey, the polls conducted in 2002 and 2004, and the social indicators.

4.1. The perception of poverty

99. The findings of a 2004 opinion poll of 3,000 persons yielded a glimpse of how poverty is perceived and the priority measures that should be taken. The results of the poll showed that around 40 percent of those polled are subjectively poor.1

100. More than 80 percent of those surveyed feel that poverty remains unchanged or has increased over the past five years, with 50 percent of them citing a sharp increase. Some 40 percent of respondents predict a drop in poverty over the next five years. A similar proportion foresee a worsening of the situation.

101. For most respondents, the first symptom of poverty is the inability to feed one’s family, followed by lack of decent housing and difficulties in meeting medical expenses for family members.

102. Satisfaction with the quality of public services is generally low, especially among the poor. The satisfaction rate is below 50 percent for maternity services and health centers. The lack of capital, especially in the form of cattle, but also illiteracy and inadequate security are, in the view of respondents, the major obstacles limiting their poverty-reduction capacities. For a third of participants in the survey, an end to the conflict is at the top of the list of poverty reduction factors.

103. On the matter of the priority measures required of the State, the main areas identified are health and education, followed by security. Food security and youth employment are also perceived as important areas requiring the government’s attention.

104. When asked what the main priorities of the community should be in seeking to reduce poverty, people stressed promoting productive activities (56 percent) and potable water supply (54 percent). These were followed by the construction of dispensaries and health centers (48 percent), while basic commodity supply, curbing violence and insecurity, and building schools are mentioned by over a third of respondents as being among their top four priorities.

105. Combating HIV/AIDS is a relatively secondary priority for people. Only 13 percent of respondents raised it, which places it in 13th position out of 15. This result denotes a gap between the emphasis placed on this issue by the authorities and the perception of the public, who would prefer to see spending redirected. This gap may well be a reflection of the difference between the people and government authorities in their level of awareness of the scope of the pandemic.

106. Community consultations identified the same signs of poverty as those in the perception survey. They also presented poverty as a multifaceted phenomenon affecting people in varying degrees. Thus a typology of the Burundian population was put forward, with five main categories, according to the level of poverty:

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    Those who are extremely fragile because they are incapable of surviving without the assistance of neighbors or other benefactors;

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    Those who survive on their own ability to work, failing which they would fall into the preceding category;

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    Those who are poor but have a few plots of land with low yields;

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    Those who are relatively well off but vulnerable because they are unable to put aside emergency savings;

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    The wealthy.

4.2. Income poverty

107. The only recent household survey from which poverty could be measured directly was conducted in 1998. The 2006 CWIQ survey was initiated to gather data on household consumption and spending, but the results have not yet been put to use. The income poverty analysis presented here is therefore indicative of the situation in 1998, but does reflect the current state of poverty given that the situation has not changed radically since that time. This diagnostic does at least have the advantage of providing a basis for comparing future evaluations of poverty trends.

108. According to this 1998 survey, income poverty affects a wide swath of the Burundian population. In 1998, the poverty rate for the whole country was 81 percent, registering 41 percent in Bujumbura and 83 percent in the rest of the country. This rate differs from the one published in the Interim PRSP because of the recent adoption of a more appropriate methodology for estimating the poverty line (see Box 1).

Two Methodologies for Estimating the Poverty Line

(i) The relative poverty approach

During preparation of the Interim PRSP, the poverty line was estimated by means of a simple and quick methodology consisting of calculating the average per capita household income, then the average per capita household income for all households and, finally, considering two-thirds of the resulting average income as the poverty line. The poverty rate is then estimated as the proportion of the population living in a household whose per capita income falls below this threshold. The national poverty rate was thus estimated at 66.5 percent This result was far more a reflection of the method used than the poverty situation itself. This approach actually considers that people are poor relative to the economic situation of the other members of the society in which they live, and not necessarily because they find it hard to meet their needs.

This relative poverty approach is widely used in wealthy countries where the issue of poverty is posed more in terms of creature comforts than survival. For a poor country, such as Burundi, where some regions are severely affected by famine, poverty is more a question of survival and should be assessed in terms of people’s survival capacity. For this reason, the method known as the “cost of basic needs” method has been used to estimate the poverty line instead of the relative poverty method.

(ii) The cost of basic needs method

The poverty line is defined as the sum of two indicators: the food poverty line and the nonfood poverty line.

The food poverty line is defined as the monetary equivalent of the minimum number of calories needed by an adult to ensure his or her daily subsistence. For Burundi, the minimum caloric intake has never been calculated. In light of international standards, it has been set at 2,400 kcal daily. Estimation of the food poverty line consists in determining the monetary value of the food basket that provides 2,400 kcal.

The nonfood poverty line is arrived at by means of average nonfood expenditure of households whose standard of living is close to the food poverty line.

109. Given the major differences in standards of living between Bujumbura and the rest of the country, their poverty lines have been estimated separately and found to be FBu 182,725 and FBu 103,730, as shown in Table 1.2

Table 1:

Poverty Indicators

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Source: ISTEEBU, 1998 priority survey.

110. Urban and rural areas alike have been affected by poverty. Nevertheless, for the rural poor, the income gap needed to reach the poverty line is wider than for urban dwellers. In fact, the average standard of living of the rural poor is estimated at FBu 56,014, or 49 percent below the poverty line. However, the average income of the urban poor, estimated at FBu 149,880, is only 17.9 percent lower than the poverty line.

111. The wider gap between the standard of living and the poverty line in rural areas as opposed to urban areas reflects the extreme poverty experienced by many rural households.

112. Although it is quite widespread, the phenomenon of poverty does not affect the whole country in the same way. The disparities observed between rural and urban areas also exist between the different regions, as well as between the different socio-economic groups.

4.2.1. Poverty and regional disparities

113. Whereas the poverty rate is 41 percent in Bujumbura, in the 16 provinces it ranges from 72 percent in Bururi to about 90 percent in Kirundo, Kayanza, Gitega, and Ruyigi.

114. From a spatial point of view, and according to the results of the 1998 priority survey, the provinces most severely affected by the deleterious effects of the conflict were where poverty rose most sharply. Such was the case in the provinces of Bujumbura rural, Bubanza, Cibitoke, and Karuzi. Some provinces such as Ruyigi, where the percentage of poor was already quite high before the crisis (over 50 percent), reached even more disturbing levels, with over 80 percent of persons living below the poverty line.

Table 2:

Geographic Distribution of Poverty in 1998

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Source: ISTEEBU, 1998 priority survey.

4.2.2. Determinants of poverty

115. Analysis of the disparities in the incidence of poverty does not suffice for drawing conclusions on the determinants of poverty. To analyze the determinants of poverty, a regression model on the inequalities in standards of living based on household spending made it possible to identify the main individual characteristics associated with a high poverty risk.

116. Thus, per capita consumption is highly responsive to household size and composition. The presence of an additional child in the household is reflected in an average contraction in per capita consumption of 25 percent, in rural and urban areas alike. The presence of an additional adult in the household also results in lower consumption, but in smaller proportions (10 percent). Living as a couple in rural areas is conducive to higher consumption. The influence of this couple factor is imperceptible in urban areas.

117. Education also lowers the risk of poverty. Households headed by a literate person have lower poverty risk levels. Their average per capita consumption outstrips that of illiterate households by 18 percent (in rural areas) and 31 percent (in urban areas). Typically, the poverty risk is weaker when the head of household has a higher level of schooling. Compared with a household where the head did not attend school, per capita consumption is 45 percent higher when the head of household did not go beyond secondary school, and ranges from 60 percent to 90 percent in rural areas when they have completed university. The wife’s level of education also has a positive influence on the level of spending, but to a lesser degree in urban areas and to a greater degree in rural areas.

Table 3:

Poverty Incidence

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Source: ISTEEBU, 1998 priority survey.

4.3. The nonincome dimension of poverty

118. Poverty is not measured solely in terms of monetary income. It has a multidimensional aspect, which must cover all forms of lack that prevent people from feeling fulfilled and attaining what is considered minimal well-being. It is this aspect that is addressed by the human dimension of poverty.

119. The scope of human poverty affects almost half of all Burundians, hovering in the region of 47 percent in the past six years. This worsening poverty is due to the significant drop in the social indicators. As early as 1992, Burundi’s human development index was 0.341, which placed Burundi 165th out of 174 countries because of the low annual per capita income but also because of low life expectancy (51 years), adult literacy rate (38 percent), and enrollment ratio (67.8 percent), which are among the lowest in Africa.

120. Education and training reach but a small share of the population. More than half the adult population is illiterate. Despite progress made in the last decade, over 40 percent of the population is illiterate—the vast majority of them men.

121. At the primary level, the gross enrollment ratio fell over 15 points between 1992 (67.8 percent) and 1996 (42.9 percent). It was not until 1999 that Burundi was able gradually to increase the enrollment ratio to 62.5 percent. It reached 65 percent in 2000 and 79.6 percent in 2004.

122. At the secondary level there has been a proliferation of “communal secondary schools” established since 1992 with cofinancing from the government, communes, parents, and local communities. Thanks to this measure, the rate of passage from primary to secondary school increased and the enrollment ratio for secondary schools improved, rising from 5.1 percent in 1990 to 9.5 percent in 2000 and more than 11 percent in 2004.

123. Nevertheless, internal efficiency remains low, given that for every 100 pupils registered in the first year of primary school, 37 will go on to secondary school and only 8 and 4 will reach the first year of the second cycle of secondary school and the last year of lycée (pre-university secondary school), respectively.

124. In the health sector, Burundi’s indicators before the 1993 crisis were in line with the average for Sub-Saharan Africa, which is no longer the case today. Life expectancy at birth has declined to 42 years. Infant mortality and mortality of children under five years of age remained very high at 128.4 per thousand and 208 per thousand, respectively, according to the 2000 MICS survey.

125. With a rate of 800 deaths per 100,000 live births, the maternal mortality rate is also one of the highest in the world, in part because of poor screening of high-risk pregnancies and complications at birth (only one woman in four is attended to by a qualified person during delivery).

126. Immunization coverage fell from 82 percent in 1991 to 61 percent in 2001. In fact, it was observed during the crisis that there was a renewed upsurge in infectious and parasite-borne diseases, such as malaria, acute respiratory infections, skin diseases, and bacillary dysentery. The current situation is also the result of substandard conditions and overcrowding, especially in the camps for displaced persons, and of the inadequate access to medicines, especially in rural areas.

127. Malnutrition is a public health problem in Burundi: the prevalence of failure to thrive among children under age 5 is 52.5 percent, one of the highest rates compared with other Sub-Saharan African countries. The rate of underweight children is 39.2 percent and the overall acute malnutrition rate is 7.4 percent. The anemia prevalence in children under 5 is 56 percent, and 28 percent of children have serum retinol levels below the acceptable threshold. Nutritional practices are inappropriate and the exclusive breastfeeding rate is 44.7 percent. The country currently suffers from food insecurity and is partially dependent on food aid to meet its food needs.

128. As regards HIV/AIDS, the AIDS prevalence rate is 9.5 percent in urban areas and 2.5 percent in rural areas. Women and children are the most affected by the virus (56 percent of affected persons are women). The AIDS epidemic thus appears as a major socioeconomic and health threat.

129. This state of affairs in the health sector is especially worrisome, given the substandard sanitary and housing conditions facing the population. In rural areas, the rate of access to potable water was 55 percent in 1992. Following the crisis, the Communal Water Authority Boards were unable to maintain the infrastructure and the access rate fell to 43 percent in 2000-2002, a drop of 12 percentage points in 8-10 years.

130. For housing, the situation is still precarious and fragile. The housing shortage grew more severe with the crisis when thousands of housing units were destroyed in both rural and urban areas. Notwithstanding concerted efforts by all the partners (government, donors and lenders, and recipients) to reconstruct homes, the needs are still immense, given the large number of households still displaced within the country and prospective returnees. Housing is generally still of poor quality nationally.

131. Generally, the combined effects of poverty and conflict are reflected in Burundi’s poor social indicators compared with the Sub-Saharan African average. Per capita GDP for Burundi is a mere fifth of the Sub-Saharan African average (Table 4). Life expectancy in Burundi is shorter by four years than for the continent as a whole, while child mortality, like maternal mortality, is higher.

132. Other indicators, such as the literacy rate and enrollment ratio, are also lower in Burundi than Africa as a whole, whereas HIV prevalence is higher.

Table 4:

Social and Poverty Indicators, Burundi and Sub-Saharan Africa, Latest Data

(In percentage terms, unless otherwise indicated, and for the last year of each figure available)

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Sources: I-PRSP of Burundi, World Bank, African Development Indicators 2004 and World Development Report 2005, and UNESCO database.

133. Burundi’s low human development indicator performance is to some degree a reflection of the relatively harsh living conditions that are reflected in particular in problems of access to basic social infrastructure. Difficulties in gaining access to school and information foster illiteracy and limited access to potable water and health care adversely impact the population’s health.

4.4. Vulnerable groups: characteristics and risks

134. The Burundian population is subject to several risks that adversely affect its economic situation. There are risks affecting everyone, such as drought or low prices for agricultural products, or affecting individuals, such as unemployment or disease. Some groups are at greater risk than others. They are as follows:

135. Rural and urban poor: Typically, the rural and urban poor face difficulties stemming from low financial resources limiting their access to basic social services. In urban areas, it is primarily lack of employment and income, whereas in the rural areas it is natural risks such as drought and low productivity, which are at the root of their vulnerability.

136. Internal and external refugees: The different conflicts that have affected Burundi created an unprecedented humanitarian disaster with a high number of internal and external refugees. Many of them joined the ranks of the poor during the crisis because their property was pillaged and destroyed. A great many of them also became physically and psychologically disabled, malnourished and sick from endemic diseases. According to a study conducted by UNICEF in 1997, 84 percent of displaced persons displayed symptoms of conjunctivitis. The HIV rate is high among the internally displaced and they suffer from a high prevalence of sexual violence.

137. Households suffering from HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS is a major risk for the Burundian population, particularly individuals of working age. The consequences are also felt by the members of families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. They stem from failure to meet the basic needs of those affected and failure to meet the cost of treatment and care of the children, grandchildren, and parents who are victims of AIDS.

138. Widowed heads of household: One of the consequences of the war and HIV/AIDS is the appearance of a large number of widowed heads of household. For this reason, widows make up 31 percent of heads of household among the internally displaced households. This category is still vulnerable because of gender-based discriminatory practices such as access to inheritance, land, credit, and education.

139. Children: Like the above-mentioned vulnerable groups, children make up a significant share of victims of conflict and AIDS. They are the orphans and street children, abandoned children, former child soldiers, HIV positive children, and children heads of household. The data appear to indicate that while 24 percent and 27 percent of nonorphan boys and nonorphan girls, respectively, work more than four hours per day, these proportions increase to 36 percent and 40 percent for orphan boys and orphan girls, respectively.

140. The elderly and disabled: There are very little data on the disabled in Burundi, but the conflict can be expected to be a key factor explaining the growing number of the physically and emotionally disabled among the population.

141. As far as the Batwas are concerned, despite their low numbers—they represent only 1 percent of the population—it is a fact that they have been stripped of everything and are isolated socially and culturally. This category of the Burundian population was particularly discriminated against in past years.


142. Poverty, as perceived and described during participatory consultations and confirmed by empirical analyses, is manifested primarily in: (i) problems of governance and insecurity; (ii) sluggish economic growth; (iii) an unstable macroeconomic framework; (iv) a growing and widespread lack of access to basic social services; (v) an increase in the categories of disadvantaged people and heightened vulnerability to poverty spawned by the conflict and inadequate social safety nets; and (vi) a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases.

5.1. Governance, security, and conflict resolution constraints

143. For a long time, the system of governance was characterized by the centralization of political, economic, and social power. This centralization was reflected largely in a system of planning and management that did not adequately involve beneficiaries in the formulation and implementation of policies that directly affected them. From the standpoint of good governance, these deficiencies have led to disequilibria, in the socioeconomic, geographic, human, and political systems, characterized by social exclusion, marginalization, and the breakdown of the rule of law.

144. In the security sphere, continuing insecurity is in part attributable to the delay in negotiations to sign an agreement with the FNL. It is also linked to the need for vocational training of the newly-minted defense and security forces, pervasive crime in urban and rural areas, and ongoing gender-related violence. This situation is slowing the resettlement process of displaced persons and refugees within and outside the country. The demobilization of ex-combatants and establishment of integrated army and police force are also prerequisites for maintaining security over the long term.

145. In addition, human rights violations, inefficient land tenure management, impunity, and corruption have long hobbled efforts to establish the rule of law and political good governance. The country’s future is contingent on the effective management of conflicts rooted in the past and the ability to better anticipate these conflicts in the future, in order to end the cycles of violence that have marred the socio-economic situation in the country in recent decades.

146. With the advent of democratically-elected institutions, policies linked to good governance, security, and conflict resolution are in a nascent stage and should be sustained.

5.2. Economic growth constraints

147. Economic growth is stymied by an unstable macroeconomic framework and structural problems, the main characteristics of which are summarized below:

5.2.1. An unstable macroeconomic framework

148. Symptomatic of the need to strengthen the macroeconomic framework in Burundi are the country’s economic and financial disequilibria, which are hampering an upturn in economic growth and considerably limiting the chances for poverty reduction.

(i) An expenditure structure largely unsuited to growth

149. The current public expenditure structure is not conducive to economic growth. A large portion of current expenditure goes toward the payment of wages and unavoidable expenditures arising from the rehabilitation needs of disaster victims and the need to reform the defense and security forces. Investment fell from almost 15 percent of GDP in 1992 to under 10.8 percent in late 2005. This trend toward decreased investment has highly negative implications for short-, medium-, and long-term growth.

(ii) An inefficient tax system

150. In Burundi, the tax system is characterized by a narrow tax base and high rates. This tax pressure is not conducive to growth, given that it falls on a very small formal sector; a situation that leads to tax avoidance through recourse to informal activities and to corruption, resulting in significant public revenue shortfalls.

151. Exemptions are also a significant drain on tax revenues. They are the root cause of the spread in fraud and corruption and thus contribute to distortions in the national economy.

(iii) Persistent balance of payments disequilibria

152. Burundi’s economy is plagued with balance of payments problems. This situation stems from a low volume of exports in relation to imports, deterioration in the terms of trade resulting from fluctuating coffee prices, and the need to settle accumulated arrears owed to external creditors. The level of foreign exchange reserves has therefore fallen steadily, with the attendant negative impact on the economy’s supply capacity.

(iv) Inflationary financing of public deficits

153. In order to tackle disequilibria in internal and external operations, the government has had to incur domestic debt and suspend external debt repayments. Central Bank advances more than doubled between 1997 and 2002 and external payments arrears climbed from US$5.2 million in 1995 to US$85.7 million in 1999, and stood at US$78.6 million in 2004.

154. Central bank financing of the government has triggered a rapid increase in the money supply and price hikes. The result has been a sharp increase in inflation, although it is being brought under control through a tightening of monetary policy.

(v) Monetary and foreign exchange management heavily impacted by the crisis

155. The money supply has increased steadily despite a sharp decline in foreign assets. In the monetary sector, there has been a pronounced increase in domestic credit, which has not led to an increase in medium- and long-term investment credit. This situation has fueled an unprecedented and steep rise in prices, followed by an erosion of real incomes. The foreign exchange shortage has prevented the Central Bank from proceeding with foreign exchange policy reform at the desired pace. However, since 2004, the implementation of the IMF-supported PRGF program has paved the way for considerable progress to be made with the liberalization of the exchange system and on liquidity management.

5.2.2. Structural obstacles to economic growth

156. The structural rigidities hampering rapid and sustainable economic growth in Burundi are, in particular, the lack of development of the rural economy and the absence of a dynamic mechanism to transform and modernize the economy.

157. In order to achieve economic poverty reduction and growth, production must be increased. The latter is stymied by: (i) a demographic explosion; (ii) a shortage of arable land; (iii) the predominance of subsistence agriculture; (iv) inadequate infrastructure to support production; and (v) a low level of savings and investment.

a. Strong demographic growth and gradual environmental degradation

158. In 2004, Burundi’s population was estimated at approximately 7.3 million inhabitants living on close to 25,950 km2 of land (an overall population density of 285 inhabitants per km2). With an average estimated demographic growth rate of 2.7 percent, the population is expected to climb to 11 million by 2025 if appropriate policies are not adopted.

159. Although this situation does not in and of itself pose a threat given that other countries with higher population densities have enjoyed a sustained level of economic and social well-being, Burundi’s problem arises from its special demographics.

160. The high percentage of young people under age 15, who account for half of the total population, has clear and direct implications for the financing of such social sectors as education, health, and employment. In addition, despite the very high population density, Burundi’s urbanization rate is a mere 8 percent, making it one of the least urbanized countries in the world. It should be noted that this large population not only lives in rural areas but is, for the most part, illiterate.

161. Strong demographic growth has already led to environmental degradation. The adaptation of productive systems to demographic pressures and emerging needs is taking place at the expense of fallow land, pasture land, and woodlands. Consequently, excessive pressure is being exerted on natural resources, leading to the degradation of soil and pasture land, increased deforestation, and the disturbance of ecosystems such as wetlands.

b. Chronic underemployment

162. The labor market in Burundi is characterized by mounting demographic pressure, excessive dependence on the agricultural sector, an unskilled labor force, a lack of proper job training, and a poorly controlled informal sector.

163. The problem of access to financial resources by the population is thus exacerbated by the sharp decrease in paid employment opportunities. The civil service is now at full capacity from a hiring standpoint and, in addition to the small size of the private sector, the latter has been forced to downsize owing to the reduction in business turnover as a result of the crisis.

164. In rural areas, the lack of employment for skilled individuals as well as underemployment block access by the population to income that ought to be channeled toward modernization of their production systems.

c. Predominance of subsistence agriculture

165. In Burundi, the productive system is dominated by a traditional agricultural sector. In such a context, land becomes a decisive factor. However, access to land is becoming increasingly limited, owing to mounting demographic pressure which is gradually reducing the amount of land available per household. This situation has already led to the overexploitation of land, land degradation, and a decline in food production, which have spawned the food insecurity problem seen in recent years, particularly in the northern provinces.

166. Against the backdrop of limited access to land, the only way to increase production is through intensified exploitation. However, intensified exploitation possibilities are curtailed by the limited monetization of rural areas and the small size of markets for the sale of agricultural products. Consequently, agriculture in Burundi remains at the subsistence level and is difficult to integrate into the other sectors of the productive system.

d. A low domestic savings rate

167. Inadequate marketable agricultural surpluses curtail the ability of rural households to build savings. Furthermore, the modern private sector is not mature enough to achieve true modernization and play a significant role as a driver of development. Few enterprises or households have disposable income that can be channeled toward savings. From a structural standpoint therefore, the domestic savings rate is very low.

168. The financial sector is not well developed, nor is it adapted to the provision of rural credit. The availability of financing in rural areas is inadequate, given that even the Savings and Loan Cooperatives (Coopecs), which operate in rural areas, do not provide coverage to all communes in the country and are not yet functioning satisfactorily. The problem of limited access to financial capital also plagues the other productive sectors such as the modern private sector, owing to the high cost of credit.

e. A low level of investment exacerbated by the conflict

169. The investment level dropped precipitously during the 1990s. This trend is attributable to the conflict, which dampened the private sector’s interest in investment, and also, to some degree, to the paucity of public sector resources. In addition, because of the decline in revenue, coverage of essential private and public consumption needs is eating up an ever-increasing share of GDP.

170. The conflict has also adversely affected the country’s ability to attract foreign investors and prompted the freezing of international assistance. This was followed by low levels of foreign direct investment and a significant reduction in bilateral and multilateral capital, thereby abruptly reducing development resources.

f. An undeveloped private sector

171. As with all post-conflict countries, net disinvestment had a significant and adverse effect on the national economy during the crisis period. On average, the gross investment ratio has amounted to a mere 2.8 percent of GDP over the past five years. This level is clearly inadequate, even for capital stock maintenance.

172. The secondary sector is quite undeveloped and accounts for approximately 15 percent of GDP. The State remains the main operator in most economic sectors such as energy, agro-industry, mining, and communications.

173. Compared to the public and parapublic sectors, the remainder of the formal private sector, composed of small and medium-sized enterprises, is quite small. These enterprises engage in a variety of disparate activities and virtually all their production is geared toward the local market. Exports are rare, accounting for only a minor portion of production. Most SMIs/SMEs were established to take advantage of the opening provided by a protectionist environment and captive market. In other words, they were created with import substitution in mind.

174. Consequently, in the current environment of globalization, liberalization, and regional integration, enterprises cannot compete when faced with foreign products, owing to supply problems (the country is landlocked), which drive up the cost of raw materials. The small size of the local market, coupled with high taxes and a lack of access to financing, make the expansion of industry in Burundi all the more difficult.

g. Inadequate production support infrastructure

175. One of the factors explaining the lack of dynamism associated with agricultural activities, livestock rearing, fisheries, and small and medium-sized industries and enterprises (SMIs/SMEs) is the acute shortage of support infrastructure. Consequently, water and energy shortages and problems in the transport and telecommunications sectors continue to pose a major problem for attainment of the country’s objective of increasing and diversifying production.

176. Regarding potential in the areas of food conservation and processing, the participatory consultations revealed that even in instances of surplus food production, distribution is difficult and food often ends up spoiling.

177. In the field of energy, Burundi has significant hydraulic potential, given that it has 1,700 MW of theoretical capacity, of which only 32 MW is being used. Despite the country’s significant hydroelectric potential and heavy public investment in this sector, the electrification rate remains very low (1.8 percent).

178. At the moment, national electricity production has declined as a result of scant investment over the past 15 years and the lack of rainfall. At the moment, the sector is experiencing an energy deficit on the order of 10 MW, the result being the operation of the grids through load shedding and a slowdown in economic activity.

179. The telecommunications system remains very expensive and inaccessible to most of the population. Its impact on the dissemination of information is therefore insignificant. Even post offices are hard to find in rural areas.

h. Lack of competitiveness of the economy and a low level of integration into regional economies

180. Like most developing countries, Burundi exports largely primary commodities, which makes its foreign exchange earnings vulnerable to international price fluctuations. Insofar as other products are concerned, volume is so low that there are no surpluses available for export.

181. In addition, the prices of exported products relative to those of comparable products from other countries (which have already achieved economies of scale) automatically make them noncompetitive. Lastly, the ability to export is further hampered by the country’s landlocked status and its weak infrastructure, such as communications and suitable essential equipment (in particular, warehousing).

182. Halting steps have been taken toward regional integration, with a view to expanding markets and providing incentives to Burundian enterprises. Most of these efforts have failed. As a result, institutions have had to absorb heavy losses, without making any headway toward resolution of the initial problem.

5.3. Undeveloped human capital

183. The participatory consultations revealed a sharp increase in poverty, fewer opportunities for access to economic and financial resources, and an unprecedented decline in production. These consultations also brought to the fore the precipitous decline in access to basic social services (education, health, and potable water). This observation is borne out by technical analyses, as shown in Table 5.

Table 5:

Provincial Distribution of Access to Basic Social Services

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Source: 1998 Priority Survey.

184. Lack of accessibility (to social services) is also manifested in shortages, poor distribution of infrastructure and facilities, and weak purchasing power by the population.

5.3.1. Educational improvement constraints

185. Community and sectoral participatory consultations pointed to the following problems at the various levels of the education system: (i) inadequate human capacity from the standpoint of both quantity and quality; (ii) tremendous pressure on school infrastructure; (iii) an acute shortage of teaching and educational materials as well as equipment; (iv) poor spatial distribution of school infrastructure; (v) an imbalance between general instruction and technical instruction; (vi) a low level of contribution by the private sector; and (vii) weak management.

186. The situation at the various instructional levels is outlined below:

(i) Preschool education: The rate of access to preschool instruction is abysmally low. Coverage at this level remains modest and limited to urban areas, particularly to the capital. The projected population in this age group is one million, and the school enrollment ratio, 1.6 percent. This extremely low rate stands in contrast to the goals set in Dakar for this category of instruction.

(ii) Primary education: The enrollment ratio, which stood at 68.5 percent in the late 1990s, fell sharply during the crisis owing to the destruction of schools and the disappearance or exile of teachers. The situation improved with the restoration of peace. The enrollment ratio in 2003-2004 was around 81 percent. At the moment, new trends are being seen in primary education: students are relatively old, grade repetition rates (31 percent in 2004) are high, the dropout rate is significant (6 percent), and transition rates toward secondary education are very low (approximately 10 percent of the students make it to the first year of secondary education). The offer of free primary education implemented by the government at the start of the 2005/2006 school year prompted a surge in student numbers. As a result, new classrooms had to be built and teaching materials had to be made available.

(iii) Secondary education: In terms of numbers, access to secondary education has increased sharply as communal secondary schools and private schools have sprouted up. Despite the sustained and rapid growth in numbers beginning in 1996, the gross enrollment ratio stood at a mere 13.6 percent in 2004. Compared to general secondary education, technical secondary education options remain clearly insufficient. The teaching of job skills, intended for youth outside the school system, continues to be a neglected area.

(iv) Higher education: As is the case with the preceding levels, the number of students pursuing higher education has increased sharply. Between 1999 and 2003, this number has more than doubled, rising from 6,600 to more than 16,000 students, respectively. In addition, the number of students in private schools has risen sharply (35 percent in 2004).

(v) Nonformal education: The adult literacy rate in Burundi is one of the lowest in the world (37.7 percent). The literacy rate of women is far lower than that of men (27.3 percent versus 48.4 percent).

5.3.2. Health sector development constraints

187. The situation is no better in the health sector. The destruction and pillaging that took place during the crisis have taken a heavy toll on the national health system, curtailing both management capacity and the ability to focus on priority health actions. Consequently, a significant number of health facilities are unable to meet minimum national standards with respect to the provision of necessary services, owing to the paucity of materials (medication and medical equipment), a shortage of adequate numbers of qualified staff, logistical problems (transportation, emergency equipment such as ambulances), and funding shortages (inadequate management capacity and standards).

188. One of the most acute problems facing intermediate and peripheral health facilities is water and electricity shortages, a situation that makes it difficult to preserve some medications and to maintain standards of hygiene.

189. The problems facing the health system are reflected in the following:

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Inadequate (and obsolete) infrastructure and a shortage of staff who, in addition, are poorly distributed, both qualitatively and quantitatively;

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Poor management of health facilities (owing to a lack of trained staff);

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The concentration of health services in Bujumbura with very little linkage within the country. As a result, the sector does a poor job of supplying medication and providing services in rural areas.

190. The following also bear noting: (i) management of the health sector is highly centralized; (ii) the sector is underfunded; (iii) the epidemiological surveillance and health information systems are weak; and (iv) poor hygiene and sanitation are factors that greatly undermine the performance of the health system in Burundi.

191. Despite the efforts made in recent years to correct these problems, very high child and maternal mortality rates persist. These rates are 114 per 1,000 for children under age 5, with maternal deaths being slightly over 800 for every 100,000 births. In 2005, life expectancy had fallen to age 42. For that same year, the estimated percentage of underweight children under age five stood at 37 percent.

5.3.3. Low potable water coverage; hygiene and sanitation problems

192. Potable water, hygiene, and sanitation needs exist throughout Burundi. The country does not meet international standards with respect to the amount of water required for normal daily activities. National potable water coverage rates remain low and supply is unevenly distributed.

193. A number of facilities such as boarding schools, health centers, and penitentiaries have no running water, a situation that leads to contamination and the outbreak of diseases.

194. The long distances that still have to be traveled in order to get to traditional water sources make it difficult to assimilate and apply the most rudimentary hygiene lessons imparted, such as personal and clothing- and food-related hygiene.

5.3.4. Growing numbers of disaster victims and vulnerable persons

195. As a result of the conflict, the number of disaster victims and vulnerable persons living in conditions of utter deprivation increased. These persons owe their survival to national and international assistance. Malnutrition, unhealthy conditions, and crowded conditions make them even more vulnerable to all manner of diseases such as cholera, bacillary dysentery, exanthematic typhus, cerebro-spinal meningitis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

196. The protracted nature of the crisis has also led to an increase in the number of indigent persons, who are resorting to such undesirable activities as alcohol and drug use, crime, begging, and prostitution. In most cases, these activities are the root cause of the higher incidence of HIV/AIDS in camps housing refugees and displaced persons.

197. All indications are that problems linked to disaster victims pose a major challenge for Burundi. Although humanitarian assistance has facilitated repatriation and reintegration activities targeting refugees and displaced persons and transitional subsistence allowances have been provided to ex-combatants, major constraints are hobbling efforts to achieve the sustainable socio-economic reintegration of all disaster victims.

198. Special attention should be paid to the current plight of the young people of Burundi. Indeed, most were born during the crisis and post-crisis effects still linger on several levels. For the majority of these young people, access to education, vocational training, and basic social services is either limited or completely nonexistent. They have also been witnesses to, victims of, or participants in human rights violations and the destruction of property. This war has left in its wake young people who are disconnected from the social fabric, with the resulting loss of values and trust at the family and community levels. In this regard, the efforts of the government and civil society should be directed toward the reintegration of young people in order to bolster the peace that has been restored. It is therefore important to devote attention to vocational guidance programs and to the psychological and social well-being of the young people who need assistance in these areas. Such an approach will allow young people to redirect their lives and to participate actively in the reconstruction of their country.

5.4. High prevalence of HIV/AIDS

199. In Burundi, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is exacerbating household poverty. A number of deficiencies in the health sector are contributing to its spread and to the heightening of related problems. These include insufficient preventive measures, a poorly functioning system to collect HIV/AIDS/STI-related information, and a dearth of up-to-date statistics on the pandemic at the national and provincial levels. All these deficiencies are thwarting implementation of a meaningful strategy to combat this scourge effectively.

200. AIDS was first detected in Burundi in 1983. In the past two decades, this disease has had a major impact and taken a heavy financial toll in the social, economic, and health spheres. AIDS has become the leading cause of death among adults and plays a significant role in child mortality in Burundi. For this reason, it poses a major problem from a public health and developmental standpoint.

201. During the 1980s, the epidemic spread rapidly in urban areas while rural areas remained relatively unscathed. During the 1990s, the prevalence of the epidemic stabilized somewhat in urban areas; however, it made major inroads in rural areas.

202. The second national seroprevalence survey, conducted in 2002, pointed to a seroprevalence rate among persons age 15 and over of 9.4 percent in urban areas, 10.5 percent in semi-urban areas, and 2.5 percent in rural areas. The latter rate more than tripled between 1990 and 2002 (in the course of a decade).

203. In late 2004, the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 250,000, with 230,000 of this number corresponding to persons between the ages of 15 and 49. In 2001, the UNAIDS estimated the number of children who had lost at least one parent to AIDS at 237,000.

204. HIV is exerting tremendous pressure on the health facilities of some services, largely the internal medical, pediatric, and out-patient consultation services. AIDS patients account for more than 70 percent of hospitalized persons in the internal medicine services of hospitals in Bujumbura, while tuberculosis, the other major disease in Burundi, afflicts 56 percent of hospitalized persons who are HIV-positive.

205. The cost of treating opportunistic diseases, the shrinkage of the labor force wrought by these diseases, and the paucity of facilities to manage the situation and conduct awareness- building activities are all impediments to economic poverty reduction and growth. HIV/AIDS has become one of the factors stifling Burundi’s development.

206. Increased seroprevalence is attributable to: (i) the effects of war (population displacement and regrouping and the increase in the number of widows and widowers); (ii) the rising incidence of poverty among the population; and (iii) lack of access to means of communication.

5.5. Gender and equity constraints

207. Despite significantly heightened awareness among women and numerous initiatives benefiting them, much remains to be done in the area of gender equality.

208. In Burundi, as in other post-conflict countries, a host of factors impinge upon the integration of gender into the country’s socio-economic development. One major factor is ingrained cultural habits, which stand in the way of gender equality and the representation of women on decision-making entities as well as their involvement in the economy.

209. The socio-economic problems facing women are additional factors exacerbating their poverty and vulnerability. Take the following, for example: the widowhood rate—21 percent of households are headed by women in rural areas; women figure prominently among disaster victims (over 60 percent); chores are unevenly distributed within families; income is unevenly distributed; the traditional mentality relegates women to a subservient role; and they lack control over production resources.3

210. The incidence of poverty in female-headed households is higher than in male-headed households. Based on a study on the situation of female disaster victims conducted in 1995, the percentage of women widowed by the war stands at 26.3 percent, and the percentage of female-headed households is estimated at 22 percent of all households.

211. Although women in rural areas play a key role in managing the family economy, which is dependent on the agricultural sector, women do not have decision-making authority over the use or management of income, nor do they have access to technologies that are suited to agri-food processing.

212. Insofar as the formal sector is concerned, the 2001 survey data on female skills and gender promotion institutions show that college-educated women working in the public sector account for 17 percent of the workforce, while the figure for men stands at 83 percent. In the parapublic sector, the figures are 27 percent versus 73 percent, and in the private sector, 28 percent versus 72 percent, respectively.

213. The number of female entrepreneurs is very low. Women find it very difficult to obtain credit because of their inability to provide collateral. A 1996 survey of seven banks in Bujumbura revealed that the percentage of loans granted to women account for a mere one percent of all loans granted. Statistics collected from commercial banks show, for example, that in 1993, the loan figure for women stood at 0.9 percent compared to 99.1 percent for men, and in 1995, this figure stood at 1.4 percent for women versus 98.6 percent for men. Consequently, opportunities for women to boost their incomes are limited.

214. Moreover, it bears noting that gender-related violence, particularly rape and physical and psychological abuse, undermine women’s security and prevent women and young girls from participating fully in the development of the country.


6.1. Long-Term Development Vision

215. Emerging from a decade of conflict, Burundi seeks to move conclusively toward political, economic, and social normalization and thereby put an end to the cyclical crises that have weighed on the country, and to guarantee peace, security, and sustainable development for all. This means building a new society of peace and justice that respects the freedoms and basic rights of the individual.

216. The government’s vision is backed up by the conclusions of the participatory consultations which have identified the imperative actions of national reconciliation and restoration of the rule of law as essential steps in building a better future. The PRSP will serve as a tool on which policies and programs will rely in order to create this new reality in Burundi over the medium and long terms.

217. The ultimate goal of the medium- and long-term development vision for Burundi is to achieve development that focuses on the role of Burundian citizens as actors in, and primary beneficiaries of, the country’s progress in respecting the principles of fairness, gender equality, participation, transparency, and justice.

Elements of a Long-Term Vision for Burundi

  • A Burundi at peace with itself;

  • A pacified subregional context conducive to economic integration;

  • Poverty on the decline;

  • A population that enjoys access to basic services (education, health, hygiene);

  • Highly educated youth;

  • A diversified and modernized agricultural sector;

  • An industrialized, competitive economy fully integrated into the dynamics of regional and world trade;

  • Population growth under control;

  • Institutions that function on the basis of transparent and decentralized management of authority and resources.

218. The government’s development objectives under the PRSP are consistent with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will guide the long-term development vision study for 2025, under preparation.

219. Indeed, Burundi, like other signatory countries of the Millennium Declaration, intends to place the MDGs at the heart of its national poverty reduction strategies. The PRSP will be enriched with comprehensible needs assessments for the purpose of moving toward achievement of the various MDGs. These interventions, along with their induced cost, will form the basis for the annual updating and future generations of the PRSP.

220. Exactly ten years separate 2006 from 2015, which provides a time frame of three generations of PRSPs. In line with the recommendations of the last Millennium Summit (September 2005) for countries to adopt national development plans, including PRSPs, in order to achieve goals adopted at the international level, including the MDGs, Burundi fully intends to incorporate the PRSP in this perspective. In the absence of the exercise of assessing costs/needs for achieving the MDGs, sectoral costing by MDG can be used to refocus the ambitions of the PRSP so that it serves as a rolling three-year plan for moving toward the various MDG targets.

Table 6:


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Sources: The World Bank; and Fund staff estimates.

2002 data of the World Development Indicators.

2000 data of the 2004 WDI.

Data of the Ministry of Health, Burundi.

1996-2002 data of the 2004 WDI.

Based on the HIPC document (Jan. 2004), using preliminary data.

b. Basic government policies

221. To give concrete expression to its vision, the government places an emphasis on six basic sectors, as follows:

(i) Refocusing the role of government

222. A refocusing of government, after more than a decade of conflict, is critical in order to rebuild a nation governed by the rule of law, energize government, and stimulate economic growth.

223. This refocusing is also based on the observation that the welfare state no longer exists, and room must be given to other key actors, namely the private sector, community-based organizations, and civil society, to drive the economic and social development of the country.

224. The government’s objective is to put in place an effective and decentralized administration to ensure efficient management of the commonwealth and the organized participation of the private sector and local communities in a spirit of complementarity.

225. In addition, the refocusing involves promoting modern government management by developing appropriate structures and institutions and qualified men and women. Incentive policies also need to be developed in order to create an environment and conditions conducive to the emergence of a dynamic private sector and active community organizations.

(ii) Capacity building

226. Successful implementation of poverty reduction and growth programs requires improved performance in the areas of project management and the steering of socio-economic policies and reforms over the medium and long terms.

227. Similarly, at the decentralized level, the impact of actions undertaken by communities will hinge on their capacity to manage development and poverty reduction programs.

228. To provide an adequate response to these concerns, the government will set in place a national capacity-building policy to ensure effective government and, in so doing, improve the performance of the various stakeholders so as to achieve the PRSP objectives.

(iii) Stimulating growth

229. The government’s objective is to achieve real GDP growth of 6 percent to 7 percent. Such rapid growth is possible only if substantial investments are made to transform the rural sector and measures are taken to ensure that underprivileged groups are able to participate in boosting production.

230. Experience has shown that implementation of sound sectoral policies, combined with improved infrastructure, enhancement of human capital, financial support, and economic openness, can indeed enable Burundi to reach this goal.

(iv) Strengthening the community dynamic

231. The war situation that Burundi lived through for more than a decade resulted in the emergence of a community dynamic which filled the space left vacant by the government. This community dynamic, with support from national and international nongovernmental organizations, is the source of development of survival and poverty reduction projects, along with solidarity building and mutual assistance.

232. The PRSP preparation process took into account these community development entities. It also led to the creation of such entities as the Communal Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CCDLPs) and the Provincial Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CPDLPs), which have played a central role in conducting community consultations. The participation of community organizations has strengthened the dialogue between government and the grassroots community, the selection of priority poverty reduction actions, and their implementation.

233. The government is aware of the stakes and, to permit community organizations to fully participate in the country’s economic and social development, is preparing a decentralization policy that reflects the communities’ will to participate, in particular by transferring the responsibilities of planning, financing, and managing development plans that are initiated at the local level. This policy will also allow the country to capitalize on the enthusiasm and know-how of these community entities, which will function as necessary and essential paths to local development and the launch pad for economic development in Burundi.

(v) Affirming the central role of women in development

234. Women’s participation in the development process is considered a key element of all development and poverty reduction projects, and Burundi is no exception in this regard. In fact, the country’s female population accounts for nearly 52 percent of the total population and more than 52 percent of the economically active population. The area in which women are most dominant is agriculture, accounting for 55.2 percent of the workforce in this sector. All these indicators show the potential role of women in national development and poverty reduction.

235. Women’s participation in the country’s economic and social development process will take place at all levels. Thus, no strategy will be developed without explicitly addressing gender issues, so as to guarantee the full participation of women in decision-making, the choice of priority actions, and, more specifically, their implementation.

236. The goal is to expand opportunities for women on a par with opportunities for men, in order to ensure equal treatment and eliminate discriminatory legal and regulatory provisions that affect women and their personal, mental, and physical potential.

237. More specifically, measures will be taken to ensure equal access to education for girls and boys, to facilitate access to micro credit and means of production, to improve maternal health, and to promote the sociopolitical integration of women through their participation in national, regional, and local development entities.

238. In addition, to address gender-based violence, specific measures will also be taken to correct this situation, in particular by setting up a specialized office at the gender unit, with appropriate staffing, at the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security. Furthermore, measures will be taken to instill a culture of gender equality and respect in the media, in schools, and in the working world.

(vi) Promoting a new partnership with donors

239. The partnership between the government and the development partners of Burundi is a continuation of their sustained support during ten years of war, in the form of humanitarian aid, security assistance, and budgetary support. PRSP implementation requires that the capacities of this cooperation be strengthened at all levels, in order to help the government establish an environment of peace, resumed economic growth, and poverty reduction.

240. As it emerges from these ten years of armed conflict, the government is aware of its financial, institutional, and operational limitations. This is why the government is counting on the continued support and active solidarity of development partners in order to successfully implement its poverty reduction strategy for the well-being of present and future generations of Burundians.

6.2. Strategic Axes of the PRSP

241. The present strategy concerns the medium and long term and is based on a rolling approach to the planning process so as to reflect matters of urgency and address the principal challenges identified during participatory consultations.

242. The strategy seeks to be realistic and takes into account sectoral programs already being implemented, those at the planning stage, and those yet to come.

243. The principal priority axes goals emerging from the participatory consultations are as follows:

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244. In a post-conflict country like Burundi, all national reconstruction actions are a priority. Aware of this situation and of the stark necessity of setting in place the conditions and resources needed for an economic takeoff likely to reduce poverty, the government has selected the following programs as priorities:

  • - Good governance

  • - Economic recovery

  • - Social development

  • - HIV/AIDS prevention and control

6.2.1. Improve Governance and Security

245. Burundi has suffered the devastating effects of poor governance. This was the assessment given by political representatives at the various negotiations for peace and reconciliation, and repeated by citizens at the various sectoral and community consultations held in all provinces of the country.

246. The government that emerged from the democratic elections of August 2005 indicated in its platform that peace, security, and good governance are the foundations on which it intends to base the country’s socio-economic development.

247. To that end, every effort will be made to restore security and good governance on a sustainable basis. Strengthen security

248. The government’s objective with respect to security is to restore the free movement of persons and goods throughout the country. As such, the priority actions already under way or in the pipeline focus on the following matters: (i) negotiating a permanent, comprehensive ceasefire aimed at the consolidation of security; (ii) continuing the demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration programs until the size of the military and the police is stabilized at a level that meets the country’s needs and is compatible with its financial capacities; (iii) professionalizing the defense and security forces; (iv) disarming civilian populations and stemming the proliferation of small arms.

(i) Negotiating the permanent, comprehensive ceasefire

249. The Arusha Accord made it possible to create a sound basis for the gradual restoration of peace and stability in the country from a political standpoint. In particular, it facilitated the establishment of institutions and appropriate structures for achieving that end.

250. Despite this remarkable progress, the persistence of violence caused by the last rebel movement requires an appropriate and rapid response.

251. The government has committed itself to mobilizing all the necessary means to protect and ensure the security of the population. To that end, it has already begun negotiations with the FNL in order to bring the FNL into the peace process and to integrate the new, restructured defense and security forces.

252. In addition, the government continues to participate actively in efforts to resolve the conflicts in the sub region and ensure the security of the country’s borders.

(ii) Continuing the demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration programs for ex-combatants

253. The end of the conflict has been marked by initial steps toward reforming the defense and security forces, along with demobilization of some of the ex-combatants. With the support of its development partners, the government has set in place a multi-sectoral program for the demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants.

254. By the end of June 2006, 20,298 ex-combatants had been demobilized, including 3,015 child soldiers and 485 woman combatants. The objective is to demobilize another 5,000 ex-combatants with a view to reducing the size of the army to the agreed levels by end-December 2006.

255. Apart from the demobilization operations which are already at an advanced stage, the National Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration Program (PNDRR) provides assistance to demobilized combatants for their reintegration into civilian life. To make the program permanent, the Executive Secretariat for coordination has established partnership links with other development programs, particularly at the community level. The plan also calls for demobilized individuals to be able to participate in self-help activities within their social milieu. In this regard, it will also be necessary to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of National Defense and Veterans’ Affairs, improve the social welfare of members of the FDN and PNB, and ensure their participation in national reconstruction programs.

(iii) Professionalizing the defense and security forces

256. In line with the Burundi Letter of Demobilization Policy, the government anticipates that, over time, the PNDRR will help it conserve resources earmarked for defense and security during the conflict and direct them instead toward other socio-economic development sectors. To that end, the PNDRR provided initial support to the integration process from which the new defense and security forces emerged. The program phase now under way supports stabilization of these forces and provides an exit to the planned reform process.

257. The reforms under way within the defense and security forces have the dual objective of stabilizing the size of the FDN and PNB at levels compatible with the country’s financial capacities on one hand, and improving the performance of these components, on the other. To consolidate the achievements of the integration and demobilization process, the government will endeavor to professionalize these forces. The government anticipates that the initial investment required for this transformation will result in improvements in the security situation, which will in turn encourage resumption of activities that drive development. The sector’s contribution to national reconstruction could also extend to rehabilitation of the country’s infrastructure (military engineering), management of natural disasters (FDN), firefighting (PNB), environmental protection (reforestation), and assistance to the health sector (access to care provided by military hospitals to the civilian population, support for public health programs such as immunization campaigns).

258. The government pledges to support its efforts to restructure the defense and security forces by means of a policy of strengthening the operational capacities of these forces through training and equipment, along with judicious redeployment of forces in the field.

(iv) Disarming civilian populations and stemming the proliferation of small arms

259. Disarmament also poses a major challenge with respect to the goal of achieving a sustainable peace. In this area, the government has set the objective of disarming the entire civilian population.

260. To that end, the government has established a National Commission for the Disarmament of Civilian Populations, charged with implementing national strategy in this area. The legal framework pertaining to this issue will conform to international and regional standards and, in particular, the Nairobi Protocol. The government also plans to set up a management and control system that will enable it to fight illicit arms trafficking and contribute to the sub region’s efforts in this area. Special emphasis will be placed on mine-clearing operations and the neutralization of unexploded explosive devices. Strengthen the rule of law and the justice system and fight impunity

261. As it emerges from its protracted crisis, Burundi faces a number of difficult challenges: (i) serious violations of human rights, including crimes against humanity and war crimes; (ii) the persistence of impunity; (iii) the poorly functioning judicial apparatus; and (iv) lawlessness and corruption.

262. The ongoing fight against impunity and the task of managing a society heavily prone to conflict hinge on strengthening the rule of law and the judicial system, two fundamental and necessary elements for consolidating sustainable peace in Burundi.

263. Aware of the scope of the challenges to be met in such a crucial area as justice, the government has set a number of priorities: (i) facilitate access to justice for the most vulnerable categories of society, especially by educating them about their rights and about judicial practices and facilitating their understanding of the law, as well as through legal and judicial assistance; (ii) improve the institutional framework, particularly by strengthening the independence of the judiciary and building the trust of ordinary citizens by addressing, among other issues, the composition of the judiciary (ethnicity, gender); (iii) improve the legal framework as well by amending certain statutes or adopting new laws such as the law on marriage settlements, inheritance, and gifts; (iv) upgrade the human and material capacities of judges and representatives of the law; and (v) modernize penal administration and respect the rights of prisoners, including incarcerated minors.

264. To that end, the government intends to: (i) conduct a public information and education program on the rights and responsibilities of citizens; (ii) strengthen the capacities of the police and members of Parliament in the area of human rights; (iii) improve the institutional framework by creating an Independent National Commission on Human Rights and by establishing an Ombudsman; (iv) ratify the principal international agreements on human rights and ensure that international human rights instruments are more fully reflected in national law; (v) implement a policy of justice for minors that is consistent with the principles of the agreement on the rights of children; (vi) strengthen the framework and action of civil society, including the media and arbitration and reconciliation structures. Manage disputes related to the past and anticipate the future

265. To establish truly pacific cohabitation, prevent new conflicts, and put an end to the cycle of violence that impedes development and intensifies poverty, the government is firmly committed to the following actions: (i) illuminate and establish the truth about the bloody events of the past and determine the facts and responsibilities in order to bring Burundians to the point of reconciliation; (ii) settle land disputes related to the crisis; (iii) promote equitable access to resources.

(i) Promoting reconciliation

266. As regards the serious violations of human rights committed over the course of forty years of conflict in Burundi and their impunity, the parties to the peace negotiations recognized their importance as a cause and aggravating factor of the conflict. Accordingly, the parties advocated adoption of transitional justice mechanisms to provide appropriate responses to this impunity and thereby help reconcile the Burundian people. The objective is to ensure a transition from the divided past to a more reassuring, shared future.

267. The central element of this reconciliation consists of a dual mechanism that aims to establish a truth and reconciliation commission and a special court to judge the main figures responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The truth and reconciliation commission will need to develop or propose measures to promote reconciliation and pardons. Negotiations are under way between the government and the United Nations to reach agreement on these mechanisms, which will need to clarify the relationship between justice and reconciliation.

268. Pending such an agreement and its implementation, the government has proceeded to release individuals considered to be political prisoners, an action contested by some human rights organizations. The government also intends to explore other innovative channels, based on the experience of other countries, in order to achieve an effective reconciliation and lasting peace among Burundians.

269. There is an imperative need to: (i) promote a process of reconciliation that places the victim at the center of its concerns; (ii) develop other transitional justice mechanisms such as administrative sanctions in lieu of judicial sanctions; (iii) promote local initiatives for reconciliation as a necessary complement to national and international initiatives, the scope of which will remain limited.

(ii) Settling land disputes

270. The multiple crises experienced by the country have forced Burundians to abandon their property while taking refuge either outside or inside the country. As a result, social conflicts have arisen here and there in the country as refugees and displaced persons have returned to their property, often finding it occupied by other persons.

271. The land issue also concerns a particular category of persons considered to be landless: the batwas, on one hand, and the occupants of settlements on the other hand, subject even now to a law that dates back to the colonial era.

272. To reduce the risk of land-related disputes, the government plans to: (i) set in place and strengthen mechanisms for settling and preventing land disputes related to the crisis; (ii) manage state lands equitably and transparently; (iii) develop and implement a mechanism and procedures for expropriation and compensation; (iv) develop a national strategy on land use planning and a corresponding action plan that includes urbanization; (v) update the inventory of state lands and ensure that they are equitably allotted; (vi) conduct a campaign to raise awareness of land security issues; (vii) simplify the procedures and make it easier to obtain relevant legal documents.

273. To that end, the government has established the Commission on Lands and Other Assets, adopted by the National Assembly on March 30, 2006. The mandate of this commission is to hear disputes related to lands and other assets between victims and third parties or public or private agencies. It is also charged with identifying and recovering state lands that have been improperly allocated, hearing all cases submitted to it by victims who seek to recover their property, providing technical and material assistance to help victims exercise their property rights, assigning new lands to victims who have none, and studying the possibilities and methods of compensation for victims who have not recovered their lands and other assets. The mandate of this commission is consistent with the Arusha Accords. The land issue concerns a number of ministries: Justice; Agriculture and Livestock; Interior; Finance; and National Solidarity, Human Rights, and Gender.

(iii) Promoting equitable access to resources

274. There are clear disparities with respect to gender, region, and, most particularly, vulnerable populations. These disparities are generally reflected in difficult access to income, justice, land, employment, and basic social services.

275. The government will set in place mechanisms to guarantee equitable redistribution of the benefits of growth, based on effective administration of justice and sound social policy. Promote good governance

276. The mismanagement of power and public affairs over a period of several decades has been a primary source of conflict. Furthermore, the resulting crises have also been mismanaged. This is why the quest for lasting peace, reconciliation, and development requires efforts to promote good governance from a political, administrative, and economic perspective.

277. The government has developed a national policy on good governance with the assistance of development partners active in this sector. The policy involves a harmonious combination of actions to promote democracy, rebuild administrative capacities weakened by the crisis, and improve economic management. Within this framework, the ideal of good governance will entail the following: (i) strengthen the culture of democracy; (ii) promote effective public administration; and (iii) strengthen the entities responsible for planning and economic management.

(i) Strengthening political governance

278. Burundi has clearly already passed an important milestone in the democratic process by organizing democratic and transparent elections. However, to establish the foundations of true democracy at all levels, a long road lies ahead. With respect to priority action aimed at averting bloody conflicts in perpetuity and reducing poverty in real terms, promoting a culture of democracy is the key to success.

279. To strengthen the culture of democracy, the government intends to: (i) upgrade the capacities of elected institutions; and (ii) promote decentralization and greater citizen participation.

280. The task of strengthening the culture of democracy will fall first and foremost to elected officials at various levels, but also to political and administrative officials. Accordingly, training activities should be designed with specific objectives in mind for different groups of beneficiaries, especially: (i) members of Parliament; (ii) administrative officials in Parliament and in municipalities; (iii) local elected officials, i.e. members of municipal and colline councils; (iv) officials of political parties, as well as representatives of civil society and media professionals because of their leverage regarding good governance.

281. The decentralization policy now being developed reflects the government’s resolve to create optimal conditions for the organized participation of community entities in spelling out sectoral and thematic policies, in planning the poverty reduction programs that primarily affect them, and in implementing these programs.

282. Furthermore, also with respect to decentralization policy, the government pledges to recognize and take into account local development institutions such as the community development committees (CDCs), the Communal Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CCDLPs), and the Provincial Development and Poverty Reduction Committees (CPDLPs), which have been democratically set up by communities themselves to act as necessary intermediaries for the socio-economic development of Burundi.

283. Through the organized participation of community entities, the government intends to bring about decentralized implementation of the PRSP, thus fostering a sense of ownership.

284. In addition, to strengthen this partnership with community institutions, the government will initiate appropriate mechanisms to facilitate their participation in projects and will create a Community Development Fund (FDC) for that purpose.

(ii) Strengthening administrative governance

285. The civil service reform policy, together with revisions of civil servant status aimed at improving the efficiency of administrative structures and improving the highly precarious working conditions of civil servants, is now being prepared. In addition, the government will develop a multiyear training, human resources development, and equipment plan in order to create an effective administration that is capable of confronting the many challenges of the post-transition period. An effort will also need to be made to address the widespread inadequacy of administrative buildings.

286. Within this framework, a national school for government officials and an institution of higher learning for judges will be created. These institutions will train personnel for public administration and the bench respectively.

287. The government has pledged to support the decentralization process so as to make full use of the conclusions of the participatory consultations by making municipalities true poles of development. It will provide the latter with the necessary means to design and execute local development plans with the participation of the various development actors.

288. The government will also support improvements in the planning and oversight capacities of local communities and the development of local leadership in order to correct the deficiencies observed in this area.

(iii) Strengthening economic governance

289. The Burundian government is gradually emerging from the ill effects of the crisis, which impacted its economic and financial management. The government is aware that major reforms are needed in this sector to ensure: (i) the creation of an institutional and regulatory environment conducive to transparent management and the fight against corruption; (ii) restoration of economic steering capacities; and (iii) judicious allocation of resources.

a. Corruption and transparent management of government finance

290. With respect to corruption, on August 3, 2006 the President of the Republic promulgated a law establishing the Special Anti-Corruption Brigade. This law represents a major step forward in the fight against corruption and economic embezzlement. In fact, the very first article of this law states that the Special Anti-Corruption Brigade holds sole jurisdiction to seek out alleged perpetrators of corrupt actions and related violations of the law. As regards the brigade’s overall mission, Article 2 calls upon it to raise the moral standards of the public and deter and crack down on corrupt actions and related violations.

291. The government has also undertaken institutional reforms to strengthen transparency in government management and ensure optimal allocation of government resources. These include: (i) an independent watchdog agency on corruption, involving the private sector, civil society, the press, and all other stakeholders; (ii) an independent Audit Court that reports to Parliament on government budget execution; (iii) a State Inspectorate General; (iv) a commercial dispute arbitration center; and (v) a general census of civil servants, including the distribution of identification cards.

292. In addition, the government will also set in place other institutional mechanisms aimed at facilitating the following: (i) access to information on the source and use of public funds; (ii) efforts to reform laws and regulations pertaining specifically to tax and customs incentives and government contracts; (iii) implementation of incentive mechanisms designed to eliminate corrupt practices, particularly by rewarding the integrity and improving the working conditions of government employees, while subjecting them to effective controls and sanctions; (iv) enforcement of the anti-corruption law; (v) establishment of a computerized management information system on government resources; and (vi) a fully operational anti-corruption brigade and anti-corruption court. Also, in collaboration with the World Bank, the government is planning a diagnostic study on problems of corruption.

b. Economic steering

293. In this area, capacity building is an important component. Accordingly, the government is determined to strengthen public affairs management capacities at the macroeconomic and sectoral levels.

294. Accordingly, the planning and management tools and the databases will be updated periodically. Special attention will be given to upgrading the statistical apparatus, which means strengthening the institutions responsible for producing and analyzing statistics. In this regard, technical assistance will be requested from the IMF and the Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT) to establish a database of reliable statistics.

295. At the same time, steps will be taken to build the capacities of communities and civil society so that all actors can participate in designing, managing, and monitoring development activities.

296. To bolster the participatory process, national NGOs and civil society organizations, particularly at the community level, will be strengthened so that they can make an effective contribution to the local development process.

6.2.2. Promote Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth

297. The government of Burundi wants to set in place an economic recovery plan aimed at achieving an average annual growth rate of 6 percent to 7 percent and doubling per capita GDP over a period of 15 years.

298. Identification of a strategy for strong, stable, and sustainable growth is one of the major challenges for the PRSP. This strategy could involve expansion of the contributory capacities of growth sectors, sustainable development of the private sector, and diversification of job and income-generating opportunities.

299. The feasibility of this growth strategy hinges on substantial official development assistance, along with the rehabilitation and a greater density of infrastructure to support production. A stable macroeconomic environment, characterized by good control over inflationary trends and budgetary risks, will be a key factor in the success of this growth strategy. Development of growth sectors

300. Efforts to support and strengthen sources of growth within the Burundian economy should foster economic recovery and poverty reduction by increasing the volume and value of output and by creating jobs. The principal sources of growth identified within the framework of this PRSP concern the agriculture, trade, industry, mining, tourism, and handicrafts sectors.

301. In collaboration with the World Bank, the government has recently undertaken a new study to complete the work already done in identifying rural (agricultural) sources of growth. A recent study commissioned by the government of Burundi highlighted the potential importance of traditional and nontraditional export crops, as well as food crops and livestock. The study carried out in partnership with the Bank should serve to confirm the areas of greatest potential growth and, most importantly, identify and prioritize the actions to be taken to fulfill this potential. Stimulate the agricultural, livestock, fisheries, and fish farming sectors

302. The agricultural sector is the foundation of the Burundian economy. It occupies 94 percent of the working population, provides 95 percent of the food supply, and accounts for more than 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings. The rural sector is thus currently the principal source of growth of the economy and the foundation on which efforts to strengthen and improve the Burundian economy must be based.

303. To increase the sector’s contribution to the creation of wealth and fight poverty more effectively, rural development must target three objectives for improving food and export crops, livestock, and fish farming: (i) improve volume of output and productivity; (ii) improve cost control; and (iii) improve and stabilize income from sales.

a. Develop and improve food production

304. The objective is to raise yields in this sector and thereby increase local market output, which remains insufficient overall to satisfy the needs of a growing population. This also involves finding the means, by monetizing trade in food products, to increase the income of populations living in rural areas. In addition, special emphasis will be placed on crops likely to improve food security and crops for which the country possesses a comparative advantage and which could find better outlets in the context of regional integration and globalization. This principally comes down to the following crops: paddy rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, beans, cassava, and bananas.

305. Rice production rose from 4,500 metric tons in 1972 to 64,000 metric tons in 2005 and should reach 120,000 metric tons by 2010. The output of wheat should also show a positive trend. Production had in fact stagnated at 8,000 metric tons after the processing plant closed down, but it is now steadily climbing and could reach 16,000 metric tons by 2010. This growth in output is supported by creditworthy demand from both processors (establishment of a second flour mill) and bread consumers in rural areas.

306. As for bananas, which account for the highest volume of output in the country by far, the departments of the Ministry of Agriculture estimate that banana yields, which are currently on the order of 20 metric tons per hectare, could rise to 30 metric tons per hectare. From a practical standpoint, that would enable smallholders to increase their output of bananas from 1.6 million metric tons in 2005 to 2.3 million metric tons in 2010, a surplus which could be traded on the local market.

307. Maize and sorghum yields are very low in the wake of problems of varietal degeneration and the lack of security prevailing in some producing regions. Bean yields have also been affected by declining soil fertility in the principal producing regions, especially the Kirundo region. Actions aimed at promoting the use of the best performing varieties, improving soil fertility, and upgrading cropping techniques would lead to significant increases in output and household income for farmers.

308. To increase the yields of these crops, the following actions are recommended: (i) improve input supply costs so as to make the use of inputs affordable for the poorest populations; (ii) identify and implement improved cultivation techniques; (iii) improve vegetable crop extension; (iv) encourage the development of food processing, preserving, and marketing technologies; (v) upgrade water management capacities; and (vi) promote the widespread use of quality seed.

309. While increased output, the restoration of food security, and nutritional improvements remain medium-term objectives, it is still important in the shorter term to be in a position to mobilize emergency assistance for a population beset by famine.

b. Stimulate exports

310. Traditional export crops such as coffee, tea, and cotton are the principal cash crops and main income sources for the government and for rural populations. New export options were identified by the study on sources of growth conducted by the government in May 2005 and will be further explored by the study now under way in collaboration with the World Bank.

(i) Coffee

311. Coffee is the principal cash crop in Burundi and the country’s leading source of income. Coffee employs some 750,000 households. Proceeds from coffee sales have never accounted for less than 80 percent of the country’s export earnings. However, the total output of coffee is subject to extremely broad fluctuations, with serious repercussions for Burundi’s growth. Thus, for example, the output of green coffee came to roughly 16,000 metric tons in 2001-2002, 36,000 metric tons in 2002-2003, and 6,000 metric tons in 2003-2004! Of course, the cyclical nature of coffee growing does not suffice to explain such wide variations, which are rooted in a variety of problems to which solutions must be found.

312. The government of Burundi would like to restructure the coffee industry and gradually change the rules under which it is organized so as to rehabilitate the industry and more fully tap its potential contribution to growth. Boosting the coffee sector means increasing the output (from an average of 30,000 metric tons at present to 70,000 metric tons by 2015) and thus the profitability of orchards, as well as improving the quality and value of the product.

313. The government will withdraw from the coffee industry and, in particular, divest the SOGESTALS and SODECO and will continue to implement accompanying measures to ensure the success of the liberalization program.

314. The government will institute a divestment strategy, which will allow it to make a smooth transition from the role of developer to the role of regulator of the coffee industry. The liberalization and privatization strategy could thus include accompanying measures, yet to be defined. At the same time, the government will consolidate the reforms under way in order to identify instruments for managing coffee price risks and thereby mitigate the income vulnerability faced by coffee growers. A study is under way to update the action plan of the reform by spelling out: (i) the appropriate legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for liberalization and privatization of the sector; (ii) procedures for managing and financing critical functions; and (iii) strategies for transferring government assets (washing stations managed by the SOGESTALS and hulling plants managed by SODECO) to the private sector and accompanying measures.

315. Specifically, the government will develop a strategy for the coffee industry with the goal of improving industry performance and increasing the income of coffee growers. In this regard, a study on procedures for selling off the washing stations is planned for 2006, while efforts to promote private initiative will need to be gradually developed at all levels. Major reforms are under way to liberalize coffee-related activities and attract private investment and funding; these reforms will need to be strengthened. It will also be important to adopt measures to minimize the costs and lengthiness of marketing.

(ii) Tea

316. The tea industry is also known as a growth engine in Burundi. It makes a strong contribution to job creation and income generation in rural areas inasmuch as nearly three quarters of total output comes from village plantations. In addition, the tea industry requires acidic and high-altitude soils and thus competes only very slightly with alternative crops such as coffee and food crops.

317. In the past, Burundian tea attracted a substantial premium in comparison to tea from Kenya and the average value of teas sold at auction in Mombasa. This premium disappeared during the 1990s and Burundian tea now sells at a considerable discount, a sign that its quality has significantly declined over time. A number of factors underlie this major reversal: (i) a lack of the necessary means to provide fertilizer to producers; (ii) the dilapidated condition of plant equipment; and (iii) the poor quality of transportation and insufficient capacity for processing green tea into dry tea.

318. A recent study revealed the potential to expand this crop and indicated that such an expansion could provide additional cash income in high-altitude regions. Based on this potential, the output of tea can be projected at roughly 15,000 metric tons in 2010 and 25,000 metric tons by 2015, versus 8,000 metric tons today.

319. However, the tea industry in Burundi currently faces a number of problems that need to be overcome for the sector to contribute more fully to the country’s growth.

320. First of all, no investments in tea processing plants were possible during the last ten years, which is no doubt one of the principal reasons for the decline in quality. In addition, the wages paid to tea pickers remain low, considering how hard the work is, and it is difficult to attract workers.

321. For the tea industry, government divestiture will lead to the development of a private sector possessing the necessary technical and financial capacities. To that end, the government will adopt the sector reform strategy implemented in 2004 and develop a road map, along with a three-year plan for 2007-2009 that lays out the principal stages and components of the reform (liberalization, opening to the private sector, government divestiture, institutional reforms, etc.). The reform will culminate in a single-lot sale or sales of separate lots, complex by complex, and will assign to OTB the role of regulator.

(iii) Cotton

322. Cotton production in Burundi is of minor significance. Some 20,000 households are involved in cotton growing. The output of cotton lint topped out at an average of 1,500 metric tons over the last ten years. The cultivated area averaged 3,500 hectares. The cotton growing regions suffered greatly during the war. Since cotton is an annual crop, the gradual restoration of security in the cotton growing areas, along with improved extension activities and better price levels, could lead to a boost in production and perhaps to output levels higher than before.

323. The potential output of the cotton industry, combined with the new opportunities provided by AGOA, should result in rapid development of production volumes, from 4,000 metric tons in 2005 to 10,000 metric tons in 2010, as suggested by the study on sources of growth.

324. In this context, the government’s objective is to stimulate the sector by restructuring the industry, which requires fundamental legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms bearing upon production, processing, and marketing of the finished product. Accordingly, the government will proceed to update and adopt a cotton sector reform strategy, as well as a road map describing the principal stages and components of the reform (liberalization, opening to the private sector, government divestiture, institutional reforms, etc.).

(iv) Nontraditional exports

325. Burundi is currently developing a strategy to promote and diversify exports, which should enable the country to make its growth less vulnerable to market price fluctuations for coffee and tea. This diversification strategy should make it possible to boost the growth rate of agricultural output from 3 percent in 2005 to 5 percent by 2010.

326. The establishment of the Investments and Exports Development Agency (APIE) should play a major role in identifying and implementing an effective strategy for the diversification of agricultural products and income. The study on sources of growth will help determine the nontraditional exports that could be effectively supported by appropriate development. In particular, the study will examine the export potential of horticultural and fruit products and essential oils, which are of very high quality although output is currently marginal.

327. In order to promote nontraditional exports, the government will undertake actions conducive to the production and exportation of fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, aromatic and medicinal plants, palm oil, mulinga oil, macadamia oil, ethnic products, and manufactured items, the potential of which will be proven by appropriate economic and financial analyses. Promoting sugar cane and creating a banana industry are also very important matters.

c. Develop livestock production

328. Stock raising is an omnipresent activity in Burundian households and represents savings on the hoof, which helps mitigate the poverty and vulnerability of rural populations.

329. To restore to stock raising its former role in achieving food security and generating income, the government will place a priority on rebuilding livestock populations and introducing genetic improvements, particularly by distributing breeding stock.

330. With respect to cattle, the government will also set in place an artificial insemination program, which is likely to yield better results than any plan to import cattle ill suited to the country’s climate. In addition, the government will encourage forage crops and special attention will be given to herbaceous and woody pulse species that not only provide good fodder but also improve soil fertility. From this perspective, livestock stabling should also be encouraged in view of dwindling pasturelands.

331. The overall program to restore livestock populations that the government intends to undertake will also include small ruminants, which are highly prolific and have a short cycle, in order to obtain rapid results in terms of raising the living standards of rural families. It is projected that livestock populations can rise by 30 percent between 2005 and 2010.

d. Develop fisheries and stimulate fish farming

332. Boosting the fisheries sector means finding solutions to the industry’s problems so that it can operate under sufficiently viable conditions and contribute effectively to nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction.

333. The government’s objective in the fisheries sector is to increase the output of fish and develop channels to supply regions of the interior with fish.

334. The strategy in this sector focuses on: (i) establishing a fisheries and fish farming industry; (ii) sustainable management of fishery resources; (iii) negotiating fishery agreements with the countries bordering on Lake Tanganyika.

335. To increase the output of fish, the government will undertake actions to: (i) develop aquaculture in suitable areas; (ii) provide small-scale fisheries extension services; and (iii) strengthen maritime legislation concerning fisheries and reactivate sub regional cooperation. Improve and protect the environment

336. According to data published by the World Bank in the 2002 edition of its report titled The Little Green Book, forests cover just 3.7 percent of the country’s total area, versus 59.6 percent in the DRC, 21.3 percent in Uganda, and 3.9 percent in Rwanda.

337. To consolidate the necessary link between environmental protection and development, government strategy will be based on the following themes: (i) upgrade institutional, technical, and financial capacities; (ii) promote the national policy on natural resources management; (iii) promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

338. To implement this strategy, the government will focus its efforts on the following actions: inform and educate all stakeholders about the rational management of natural resources; train and equip specialists in water management; train and equip the environmental police; develop natural resources management plans and support and assist local communities in managing natural resources; revitalize the national commission on the environment; reforest and develop all catchment areas in a comprehensive fashion; identify and introduce substitutes to protect threatened natural resources; develop a land use plan and explore the use of community reforestation schemes as a source of income.

339. With respect to land use planning, the issue of land management will take center stage. The specific goal will be to set in place a land occupancy policy that incorporates standards developed with the participation of all stakeholders. Awareness-raising programs will be undertaken in order to promote villagization.

340. Action by public officials alone will not be sufficient to confront all the problems of environmental decline. Accordingly, institutional mechanisms and appropriate incentives will be set in place to encourage involvement of the private sector and other nongovernmental entities in the management and use of natural resources.

341. Burundi has signed a number of international agreements on environmental protection, including, in particular, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, Biological Diversity, and Persistent Pollutants. Develop trade and industry

342. Trade is a powerful engine of poverty reduction and growth. At the same time, the development of industrial activities is an absolute necessity in order to boost output, cut unemployment, and create new jobs.

343. The government’s strategy is to create institutional, legal, and financial conditions conducive to the rebirth of industries impacted by ten years of war and the emergence of other wealth- and employment-generating industries.

344. Accordingly, the government will implement an attractive investment code, access to credit, training and information for businesses, and capacity building for existing support structures such as the Chamber of Commerce and APIE.

345. In addition, the government plans to take regulatory and institutional measures conducive to the development of commercial and industrial activities. To that end, a number of important steps will be taken, including: (i) make the investments and exports development agency fully operational; (ii) simplify the procedures for starting a business and establish a one-stop agency; (iii) implement the integrated framework for the development of international trade; and (iv) enforce the amended business law and prepare a new trade law and a law on competition.

346. Finally, the regulations for starting a business and those related to commercial activities will be developed in collaboration with the primary beneficiary, i.e. the structured and nonstructured private sector.

347. Implementation of these incentive measures will enable the industrial sector to play its role as an engine of development by processing local products and generating jobs and income. Promote the mining sector

348. The Burundian mining sector boasts substantial assets, with a varied range of mineral deposits, including nickel and associated metals, colombo-tentalite, vanadium, iron, phosphates, limestone, titanium, carbonatites, gold, and cassiterite that have already been explored.

349. The sector also offers good prospects for the diversification of economic activities with direct positive effects on economic growth, income, employment, and technology transfer. The studies conducted on the potential of the mining sector project an initial output of 11,641 metric tons of nickel, 1,580 metric tons of vanadium, and 1.5 metric tons of gold.

350. The government’s objective in this sector is to promote and launch a national mining sector program and improve the legal and regulatory framework in this area so as to attract potential local and foreign investors who possess the necessary capital and technical know-how.

351. The actions to be carried out will consist of the following: (i) stimulate exploration activities; (ii) design a sufficiently attractive mining code; (iii) promote the emergence of small-scale and semi-industrial activities; and (iv) form contacts with external partners for mineral extraction; feasibility studies on mineral deposits should be updated in the very short term. Promote tourism and handicrafts

352. Burundi possesses substantial potential in the area of tourism. The country has parks and natural reserves with a variety of wildlife and different microclimates. It is also dotted with lakes where various water sports are possible. In addition, due to its geographic location, the country could become a tourism hub leading toward the Great Lakes region and especially Tanzania.

353. The government intends to capitalize on the diversity of tourism products and take advantage of its strategic location in the Great Lakes region, conducive to the development of ecotourism and sports tourism on Lake Tanganyika. Implementation of this strategy would enable Burundi to meet an objective of 150,000 tourists by 2015 and 300,000 by 2020.

354. To that end, the actions to be taken consist of the following: (i) upgrade human capacities and professional skills so as to raise the quality of tourism products and services; (ii) use new information and communication technologies to enhance the country’s image; (iii) seek the necessary financing to rehabilitate infrastructure and equipment, particularly at sites ravaged by war; and (iv) involve local communities and civil society in developing ecotourism and community-based cultural tourism.

355. Tourism has very strong links with handicrafts development. The latter is essential to increase income, particularly for youth, and to reduce poverty in rural and sub-urban areas.

356. To stimulate handicraft activities, the plan is to: (i) organize and develop the handicrafts sector; (ii) improve the quality of handicraft products; (iii) identify profitable outlets; and (iv) encourage training. Diversification of employment and income opportunities

357. One of the pressing challenges that the government must address is how to adopt policies that will enable the economy to absorb youth newly arriving in the labor market, on the one hand, and real and hidden unemployed populations in rural and urban areas, on the other. The problem is particularly acute because of rapid expansion of the working age population in the face of an employment shortage.

358. The raw data indicate that the working age population in Burundi, i.e. the population between 15 and 64 years of age, comes to 3.5 million. Agricultural activities on family farms occupy more than 80 percent of all persons in this category.

359. In the modern sector of the economy, opportunities to create new jobs remain limited, as does the capacity to absorb job applicants, particularly youth.

360. The private sector is in tatters and investment has not yet resumed. In addition, the credit system used by financial institutions is too cumbersome, too restrictive, and does not encourage young people who have ideas about starting businesses. Mortgage conditions and high interest rates deter them from such plans.

361. With the normalization of the political situation and consolidation of peace and security, it is reasonable to hope that the investment climate will rapidly improve and that economic activity will resume in the near future, creating new employment opportunities.

362. Diversification of employment and income opportunities for the poor will involve the following: (i) promote micro credit throughout the country; (ii) promote labor-intensive activities; and (iii) strengthen income-generating activities. Improve credit access mechanisms

(i) Promote micro credit

363. The rural economy is marked by a low rate of monetization, and opportunities for access to credit remain especially undeveloped in rural areas. Savings volume remains very low because rural credit institutions are few in number and unevenly distributed across the country.

364. The government’s strategy is to diversify the modes of production so as to transform the rural world. This policy will involve promoting and supporting micro credit systems and promoting small-scale individual and collective production units in the form of micro enterprises.

365. To promote the savings and credit system, particularly in rural areas, the government has just finished developing a microfinance policy that reflects its intention to: (i) establish an institutional, legal, and regulatory environment; (ii) promote collaboration among all development partners, beneficiaries, donor agencies, and other donors such as NGOs and churches; and (iii) assign to microfinance institutions, especially savings and credit cooperatives, the mission of approaching the poor instead of waiting for them to step forward to request services.

366. Establishing an institutional, legal, and regulatory environment will facilitate the expansion of micro credit in rural areas, and strengthening the partnership in the microfinance sector will serve to heighten the impact of poverty reduction activities.

367. The government’s policy of approaching beneficiaries will enable the latter to be informed, overcome their fear of debt, and gain hassle-free access to credit. This approach will also enable microfinance institutions to better target their clients, learn the real needs and aspirations of the poor in their environment, and distribute and monitor funds effectively.

368. To avoid setting up structures that are not viable for reasons of nonpayment, failure to understand the purpose of the system, confusion between loans and grants, or poor targeting of activities to be financed, the government will help train extension agents in a variety of disciplines, such as management of the micro credit system, marketing, and raising awareness of the importance of savings for access to credit or for self-financing.

(ii) Strengthen the conventional financial sector

369. Parallel to the development of institutions specializing in microfinance, the regular banking system should, more than in the past, play a decisive role in stimulating economic activity and growth. To that end, revitalization of the financial sector will involve the adoption and implementation of major reforms, particularly the following: (i) consolidate banking institutions; (ii) strengthen and implement effective systems of controls and regulations; (iii) improve credit risk assessments; (iv) develop the private sector’s capacity to prepare business plans in support of loan applications; and (v) establish a clear legal framework in the areas of property rights and bankruptcy. Promote income-generating activities

370. The situation of heightened poverty in Burundi has resulted in substantial resourcefulness, as shown by the emergence of small businesses and other income-generating activities that have enabled the population to face up to its most basic needs.

371. Efforts to promote income-generating activities are an integral part of the government’s poverty reduction strategy. The government intends to support and encourage micro credits as a way to promote local initiatives.

372. The government will strengthen existing initiatives, particularly through the following actions: (i) provide sustained outreach to associations, cooperatives, and other groups in rural areas; (ii) revitalize traditional handicraft activities such as pottery, metalwork, and basketwork; (iii) encourage micro entrepreneurs to enter industries such as product processing, agro processing, hides and skins, carpentry, and masonry; (iv) facilitate access to credit and micro credit by establishing sustainable and reliable guarantee systems; and (v) promote lifelong opportunities to acquire skills and thereby provide new options to workers and address the needs of the national economy. Promote labor-intensive activities

373. Nonagricultural employment in rural areas is a key component of the poverty reduction strategy. In the short term, programs to rebuild, rehabilitate, and maintain social and productive infrastructure represent an opportunity to expand rural employment and inject substantial income in rural communities, especially for youth.

374. The government will develop an environmentally sustainable and labor-intensive public works program for the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads and social infrastructure, marshland development, reforestation, terracing, and soil conservation. Specifically, programs undertaken by the government or municipalities will rely, as a matter of priority, on labor-intensive activities.

375. Implementation of these programs will target, first and foremost, women and youth so as to encourage them to participate as fully as possible in rural economic development. A concerted policy aimed at integrating the labor-intensive approach will be prepared for this purpose.

376. The objective will be not only to offer cash income to those who supply labor, but also to contribute to recapitalization of the countryside, which will help kick-start the cash economy and thereby provide leverage for transforming the rural world. Private sector development

377. The government is convinced that accelerated and sustainable economic growth can only be achieved by a dynamic and diversified private sector oriented toward exports. Accordingly, the strategy advocated for the medium and long terms will consist of making the private sector the engine of growth.

378. Economic liberalization and government divestiture of the productive sector in favor of the private sector are the fundamental pillars of economic management in Burundi. The principal objectives are to: (i) restructure the productive base; (ii) stimulate competition and achieve greater efficiency in all sectors of production; and (iii) reduce the burden placed by public enterprises on government finance.

379. This policy of economic liberalization and privatization of public enterprises, through reinforced reform of the legal and regulatory framework, should help create an environment conducive to attracting direct foreign investment, which remains at a low but promising level, given the country’s potential and the gradual consolidation of political stability.

380. To that end, four specific areas of activity have been identified: (i) short-term emergency actions; (ii) ongoing reforms of the legal and regulatory frameworks; (iii) reinforced incentives for growth in private investment; and (iv) government desengagement from the productive sector and privatization of public enterprises.

381. Emergency actions will include: (i) liquidation of the government’s domestic arrears; (ii) implementation of appropriate mechanisms of support for economic operators harmed by the crisis, particularly through reconstruction activities; and (iii) rehabilitation of trade centers, productive infrastructure, marketing channels disrupted during the crisis, establishment of a private sector recovery fund, etc.

382. To strengthen the reforms of the legal and regulatory framework, the government has just restructured the public institutions that provide support to the private sector, with an eye to making them more effective, by creating an investments and exports promotion agency (APIE). This entity, which will function as a one-stop window, will help improve services for economic operators and reduce administrative red tape.

383. In addition, to improve the investment climate, the government is well on the way to preparing an action plan to modernize all incentives for promoting trade (commercial law, business law, investment code), including the establishment of an arbitration center, and the strengthening of the financial sector.

384. With respect to privatization, the government will adopt a road map that lays out the 2007-2009 three-year program of government divestiture in the productive, commercial, and banking sectors. The government has already adopted a number of important measures including, in particular, liberalization of the sugar sector, and intends to conduct a study on liberalization of the oil sector. A program to strengthen the agency responsible for public enterprises (SCEP) is also planned so that this institution can steer the privatization program effectively.

385. Finally, the restoration of a democratic system and an encouraging security environment will enable the government to establish mechanisms to promote the participation of the Burundian Diaspora in the country’s development. The know-how and contributions of Burundians abroad can indeed assist in private sector development. Consultations with representatives of the Diaspora will thus be initiated and consolidated. Development of infrastructure in support of production

386. Improvements to transportation and communications infrastructure and the availability of electric power will result in greater output, make Burundian enterprises more competitive, and improve the living condition of populations.

387. The government’s objective will thus be, first of all, to rehabilitate infrastructure that supports productive activity, and then to space such infrastructure more densely for a gradual transformation of the rural sector. The government will attempt to strengthen its partnership with the private sector in carrying out projects to complete such infrastructure. Improve transportation infrastructure

388. How transportation is organized and the condition of the roads, especially rural roads, are two key elements in alleviating the isolation of remote areas and reducing poverty.

389. In general, the transportation sector is characterized by structurally high costs and dilapidated, poorly maintained, and infrequently replaced equipment.

390. The national road system, which ten years ago was one of the sub region’s best, has greatly deteriorated for lack of maintenance. In addition, the country’s weak international links (by water and by air) result in excessively high transportation costs.

391. The government’s objective is to improve access to remote areas in the interior of the country in order to promote development and bring populations closer to government services, basic social services, and trade centers. To reach this objective, the government’s strategy is to promote a road system that is efficient in terms of both density and quality, support the development of lake, maritime, and rail transportation, and modernize air transportation.

392. To that end, the government intends to rehabilitate and construct a road system that is efficient in terms of quantity and quality and thereby interconnect all provinces with asphalt roads and expand the system of local feeder roads.

393. International connections will be strengthened and measures taken to reduce the country’s isolation by integrating it into the regional rail system, expanding the port of Bujumbura in line with international standards, and making the airport of Bujumbura a transit center.

394. With respect to regional projects, Burundi will participate in: (i) the maritime rail project to cover the Southern Africa-East Africa link via Lake Tanganyika and the port of Bujumbura; (ii) the connection to the project to build the railroad line linking Tanzania and Burundi; and (iii) the project to build an oil pipeline to transport oil from Kenya (Eldoret, Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura). Improve communication infrastructure and promote New Information Technologies

395. The development of rural telephone service faces a number of obstacles, the most important of which are: (i) a weak national structure that does not permit the emergence of small local operators in either telecommunications or the Internet; and (ii) the nonexistence of a financial mechanism to assist the development of rural telecommunications.

396. The government’s objective is to reduce the country’s isolation by improving access to the various systems of communication, especially for populations living in remote areas. The strategy will be to develop communication infrastructure in order to improve the flow of information between urban and rural areas, stimulate production and regional trade, and thereby contribute to the emergence of new employment and income opportunities.

397. In line with this policy of working to reduce the country’s isolation, the government will carry out the following actions: (i) formulate a national strategy for the development of information and communication technologies; (ii) develop basic infrastructure covering the entire country; (iii) liberalize the telecommunications sector and upgrade the capacities of the regulatory agency; and (iv) provide benefits to those who agree to invest in remote areas.

398. The development of new information and communication technologies is an important pillar of efforts to accelerate growth and create new jobs. Accordingly, the government will adopt incentive measures in order to: (i) diversify opportunities for Internet access; (ii) develop the market of telecommunications services; and (iii) take advantage of regional markets. Expand power supply capacity

399. The principal objectives in this area are to facilitate access to modern power sources for the greatest number of people possible, provide sufficient quantities of power for industrial, traditional, and mining activities, and satisfy the basic power requirements of households.

400. The government will undertake emergency actions for the short, medium, and long term to ensure the power balance. The immediate plan is to operate the existing power plant (5.5 MW) and build another plant of the same capacity to satisfy current demand and help kick-start the economy.

401. In the short term, the government will rehabilitate existing plants (Nyemanga, Buhiga, Ruvyironza, and Gikonge); the plan for the medium term is to upgrade regional hydroelectric plants such as KABU 16, RUSUMO Falls, and RUZIZI III; and, in the long term, the government will follow a policy of power balance at the national level by developing hydroelectric sites for which pre-feasibility and feasibility studies have already been done, as well as other new sites, yet to be identified, along such rivers as the Mpanda, the Maragarazi, the Ruvubu, the Ruvyironza, the Murembwe, the Kagunuzi, etc. The government also intends to make use of the Inga dam to cover power requirements.

402. In addition, the government will undertake a rural electrification program to provide the power needed for economic activities, in particular by extending the grid and connecting villages located near power lines, and disseminate information on alternative energy sources affordable for low-income households or suitable for communities located at some distance from the national grid.

403. Finally, there is a substantial need to rehabilitate the distribution grids, especially in suburban areas, and to increase their output. Regional integration

404. Government policy is to ensure Burundi’s integration in the sub regional market, as well as to strengthen the institutional and regulatory mechanisms and thereby enable the country’s industrial facilities to diversify their output and stimulate the supply of exportable products.

405. The government’s strategy will be to participate fully in COMESA, which offers real opportunities for the country to become integrated into the sub regional economy and expand the market in which Burundian enterprises operate, leading to economies of scale and fuller integration in the world economy.

406. In addition, the government is committed to promoting trade with the countries of Central Africa in order to take advantage of the opportunities provided by access to a wider market. It will also contribute to the revival of the Economic Community of the Countries of the Great Lakes (CEPGL), seek membership in the East African Economic Community, and help meet the economic growth objectives for Africa set by NEPAD.

407. Within this framework, the government will undertake dynamic and innovative steps to promote trade and encourage industrial investments, specifically by: (i) applying the common external tariff of COMESA; (ii) introducing the VAT by the end of 2006 to adopt indirect taxation conducive to the development of SMEs, SMIs, and direct foreign investment.

6.2.3. Develop Human Capital

408. As with the economic growth sector, Burundi also faces a human capital development crisis that spares no segment of society. The government’s social objective is to restore prewar performance levels in the medium term and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

409. To meet this challenge, the government is committed to progressive budget increases in pro-poor spending, principally in the areas of education, health, social welfare, and HIV/AIDS. Education sector

410. The government is currently developing a concerted education sector policy with the assistance of development partners. This policy will consist of instituting major reforms to ensure sustainable development of the sector and establish the necessary conditions for its recovery.

411. The objective of this policy is to: (i) raise enrollment ratios at all levels of education; (ii) raise the enrollment ratio of girls; (iii) reduce illiteracy; and (iv) eliminate regional disparities.

412. To reach these objectives, the strategies planned by the government will focus on the following: (i) build, rehabilitate, and expand education infrastructure, placing a priority on the most underprivileged regions; (ii) upgrade the capacities of the education system by training trainers and teachers of sufficient quality and in sufficient numbers; (iii) make appropriate educational equipment and teaching aids available to both public and private institutions at all levels of training; (iv) enhance the status of teachers; (v) reinforce education planning entities and improve the school map; (vi) develop a national policy on vocational education in order to integrate youth currently outside the school system; (vii) promote private education; (viii) mobilize financing; and (ix) match training to employment so as to meet the country’s socio-economic development needs.

413. At the primary level, the government’s objective is to achieve universal school enrollment by 2015 and improve the quality of education. In this regard, in late 2005 the government announced free primary education, which boosted enrollment levels from 260,000 to 500,000, i.e. an additional 240,000 children at the start of the 2005-2006 school year. In addition, by 2007 the government will begin to introduce courses in Swahili and English to facilitate successful regional integration.

414. To cope with this major influx of students following the decision to offer free education, the government has set up a primary education support program to address the imperative need to increase absorptive capacity and improve the quality of education.

415. At the secondary level, the government intends to support the creation of municipal secondary schools and provide educational equipment and qualified teachers so as to guarantee a quality education. These so-called colleges will gradually take over a full cycle of studies in order to avoid a bottleneck at the transition from the common-core curriculum to the higher cycle. A priority will be placed on technical education in order to satisfy real market needs. The objective is to gradually increase student enrollment from 4 percent at the present time to 20 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2015.

416. With respect to higher education, the government’s objective is to expand access to a quality education. To achieve this goal: (i) training courses will be diversified to ensure a good match between training and staffing needs in the labor market; (ii) qualified trainers will be motivated to focus on training and research, with a priority placed on studies that pertain to the processing of local products; (iii) private developers will be encouraged to provide a quality education; and (iv) at the doctoral level, on-site training will be encouraged as much as possible.

417. With respect to early childhood, the government will capitalize on the experience acquired in implementing the World Bank and UNICEF projects, especially regarding protection of the young children of underprivileged families. In this area, a pilot project to develop preschool facilities in 34 municipalities demonstrated that such initiatives are favorably received by the population because of their dual positive effect on early childhood development and free time for mothers, who can then tend to other activities besides child care.

418. During this phase of revival of education sector development and financing, the studies carried out in connection with the task of formulating development and financing strategies for the entire sector will be updated and added to, with an eye to implementing an education policy that includes a clear description and good coordination of the roles of the various partners (local communities, parents, NGOs, private sector, and development partners).

419. As regards culture, a special emphasis will be placed on restoring the national heritage, in particular by creating true cultural industries and strengthening national identity.

420. Vigorous efforts need to be made to promote sports, not only in order to nurture young talent but also to boost the image of Burundi in the family of nations. A strategy will be developed and implemented to promote playing sports appropriate to the different social categories.

421. In this area, major efforts have recently been undertaken by the government. In particular, these include the all-purpose sports stadium and upcoming development of the Olympic stadium. Sports infrastructure will gradually be built throughout the country, specifically to promote popular sports. Health sector

422. In 2005, the government established its health sector development policy on the basis of the conclusions of the national forum on health issues. This policy revolves around four objectives: (i) reduce the maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates; (ii) reduce the infant mortality and child mortality rates; (iii) reduce the prevalence of transmittable diseases, deficiency diseases, and malnutrition; and (iv) strengthen health sector performance by improving access to services and the quality of care.

423. In the short term, the government’s priority actions will be to: (i) rehabilitate health infrastructure and make existing infrastructure operational, in line with health standards; (ii) improve the availability and accessibility of essential drugs and other consumables, medical and surgical devices, and laboratory reagents in all health facilities throughout the country; and (iii) reassign health personnel to areas with staffing shortages, increase the availability of personnel in terms of quantity, and improve their quality. The government also intends to beef up programs to prevent and control the principal endemic-epidemic diseases, along with immunization, reproductive health, and health education programs.

424. In the medium term, the government will need to revitalize sectoral development reforms and, in particular: (i) formulate a new drug policy and new strategies for health sector financing, involving beneficiaries themselves, particularly through mutual benefit insurance schemes and appropriate health insurance for the informal sector specifically adapted to poor rural areas, so as to bring the cost of care in line with the purchasing power of the population; (ii) continue to promote the autonomy of health care facilities; and (iii) provide health care coverage to the most vulnerable groups, especially children under five years of age and women at childbirth.

425. With respect to health sector financing and sustainable management, the government plans to promote a partnership with the private sector, civil society, NGOs, and community-based organizations. In addition, the government will make every effort to resolve the issue of human resources to ensure that quality health care services are provided at the national and decentralized levels on a permanent basis.

426. As such, the objectives set by the government are to: (i) reduce the infant mortality rate from 114 deaths per 1,000 live births to 90 in 2010 and 65 in 2015; (ii) reduce the maternal mortality rate from 800 deaths per 100,000 live births to 560 in 2010 and 392 in 2015; (iii) raise the proportion of births assisted by health personnel from 17 percent in 2002 to 35 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2015; (iv) increase immunization coverage to 85 percent in 2010 and 90 percent in 2015; (v) reduce the percentage of children with low body weight from 30 percent to under 10 percent in 2010; (vi) reduce the percentage of children with growth retardation from 52.5 percent to 35 percent and low body weight from 39.2 percent to under 26 percent in 2010. Access to potable water, hygiene, sanitation, and decent housing

427. The crisis weighing on Burundi for more than a decade took a devastating toll on the infrastructure for supplying potable water, hygiene and sanitation systems, and housing. Furthermore, it has been noted that all this destruction has led to a rise in waterborne diseases and the spread of malaria.

428. The government’s strategy is to develop a water sector policy aimed at providing rural and urban populations with the minimum quantity of water necessary for their survival.

429. In the area of hygiene and sanitation, efforts will be undertaken in urban and rural centers to promote a sanitation program with the participation of organized communities and the private sector.

430. The principal objectives in this sector are to: (i) develop water sources and rehabilitate potable water supply systems; (ii) strengthen water production facilities; (iii) strengthen existing sanitation programs and expand them nationwide; (iv) promote community management of water supply; and (v) train and inform populations about hygiene and sanitation techniques appropriate to their environment.

431. With respect to housing, the destruction in the wake of the conflict has only worsened an already difficult situation. In rural areas, where more than 90 percent of the population lives, there is virtually no housing that meets standards of decency.

432. Even though Burundi is an overpopulated country, its urbanization rate of 9 percent makes it one of the least urbanized countries of the world. All signs indicate that it will continue to be an essentially rural country for a long time. For this reason, it is important to bring coherence to community land development issues within the framework of village-based clustering.

433. Such a policy will have the greatest chance of success because displaced and repatriated populations are already accustomed to village life in host sites. Making villages viable, specifically by developing water supply systems, electric hookups, and road access, will make them more attractive, especially for youth to develop nonagricultural activities.

434. To address the problem of the country’s strongly rural makeup and to improve housing, the government will take steps to: (i) develop a long-term policy on housing and urbanization; (ii) make the urbanization policy an integral part of land use planning; (iii) promote more densely populated urban areas and secondary centers; (iv) institute mechanisms to raise funds and financing for housing; (v) promote collective housing; (vi) promote private initiative, especially regarding the use of local materials; (vii) strengthen decentralization; and (viii) promote the clustering of populations in villages. Support to vulnerable groups Strengthen social welfare

435. The government’s strategy will be to strengthen existing structures in order to provide better services to users and establish new structures for improved coverage of populations harmed by the conflict.

436. In this context, the government’s approach is to involve populations in designing and managing social welfare systems and thereby address specific financial constraints and diverse social needs.

437. The approach allows the government to provide guidance and also to adjust the systems in line with clearly felt and clearly stated priorities stemming from close contact with the social welfare systems set up in this fashion.

438. Within this framework, the government will set in place appropriate financing mechanisms and encourage and support the development of community-based mutual benefit health insurance schemes by launching a program to promote their development. This system will evolve concomitantly with growth in the income of populations and will make the other programs more effective. The development of mutual benefit health insurance schemes is part of the National Health Development Plan (PNDS). Reintegrate victims in their communities

439. The starting point for real rehabilitation of victims is their acceptance within their community of origin. It is thus of fundamental importance that communities be prepared to support peaceful cohabitation between persons who have often engaged in combat on the hillsides and who decide to seek permanent reconciliation.

440. The main challenges will be to develop peaceful conflict resolution capacities at the community level, promote social mechanisms of mutual aid, and develop the habit of community management of social infrastructure and micro projects with an eye to securing a sustainable reconciliation.

441. The response to the problems of victims must place an emphasis on their socio-economic reintegration and ensure full respect for human rights. It should also be rooted in a strategic approach of providing assistance to vulnerable persons, thus enabling them to strive for self-sufficiency and truly participate in the socio-economic development process. Successful implementation of this strategy will necessarily entail the implementation of additional programs designed to: (i) welcome victims in their communities; (ii) support reintegration; (iii) upgrade the productive capacities of victims; (iv) improve the coordination of interventions targeting victims; (v) strengthen the capacity to treat psychological trauma; and (vi) assist the disabled.

442. At the present time, more than 500,000 Burundians are living outside the country, and more than 200,000 others are internally displaced. Ex-combatants should be added to these figures.

443. Improving the security situation is the key to accelerating the number of voluntary returnees, and the corollary of this is a heightened need of financing for resettlement activities.

444. To ensure their voluntary reintegration in their communities with full dignity, the following activities are planned: (i) identify and develop transit host sites; (ii) inform, mobilize, and monitor returnees; (iii) facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons by providing transportation to their region of origin and assistance in fulfilling the administrative formalities, thus permitting successful social rehabilitation; (iv) distribute a package of food and nonfood items to returnees to ensure survival under decent conditions during a period of at least three months pending the first harvest; (v) support the more vulnerable groups (unaccompanied children, the elderly, the chronically ill, pregnant women, etc.).

a. Support reintegration

445. The reconstruction and rehabilitation of social infrastructure are of critical importance to the reintegration of those displaced by the conflict. This situation offers the opportunity to rethink Burundi’s housing policy. While it is agreed that, for cultural reasons and issues of social cohesion, it makes sense to encourage people to return to their native hillsides, it is also true that land pressures and the goal of bringing social services closer to rural populations are sound reasons for resettling victims in villages.

446. This policy of villagization is also conducive to the gradual transformation from a subsistence economy to a market economy, with the objective of diversifying income sources and thereby reducing the structural causes of income poverty. This vision also lends itself to the development of cooperatives that supply labor, products, and services at the sites of the new villages.

447. The government is aware of the stakes and challenges associated with the villagization policy. Accordingly, it intends to engage in serious discussions with the participation of the primary stakeholders in order to work out together the best strategy for true integration of communities and achieve peaceful cohabitation among Burundians.

b. Upgrade the productive capacities of victims

448. The victims of the Burundian conflict face a steady decline in living conditions and extreme poverty due to the pillaging of their means of production. This situation keeps them in a structural and perpetual, structurally imposed state of requiring assistance.

449. Restoration of the capacities of this segment of the population is thus an urgent concern in order to ensure a rapid return to an active agricultural and artisanal life, a prerequisite for improved living conditions.

450. The strategy for the economic reintegration of victims falls within the framework of economic diversification with the objective of absorbing the entire unskilled population of victims.

451. Under this approach, different economic opportunities can be opened up, with a focus on nonagricultural activities. The main challenge will be to provide facilities to victims for improved access to inputs.

c. Strengthen the capacity to treat psychological trauma

452. The psychological consequences of the conflict and other traumas show up as after-effects in the great majority of displaced populations. As a result, the rehabilitation of victims is not only of a material nature -it also requires coverage for victims in terms of psychological and mental health care. The government attaches a particular priority to this component of the program to rehabilitate victims of the conflict. It will be planned in such a way as to ensure national coverage with professional staffing and substantial resources.

d. Assist the disabled

453. The disabled are the most vulnerable group and the most prone to poverty. It is therefore important to identify specific programs for the disabled in the areas of advocacy, education, and health care.

454. Special emphasis will be placed on implementation of appropriate statutes and regulations, preparation of a specific policy, support to associations of the disabled, and the rehabilitation of disabled individuals.

6.2.4. Prevent And Control HIV/AIDS

455. The government is determined to provide a national response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in order to achieve two major objectives: (i) stem the spread of HIV; (ii) reduce its impact on individuals, families, and communities. The goal is to prevent any expansion of HIV/AIDS and provide social support and appropriate care to those already infected or affected by the pandemic. Prevention of HIV transmission

456. This is the fundamental basis of action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Today, greater access to anti-retroviral treatment is raising the hopes of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in Burundi. It is essential that this improvement be accompanied by an expansion of prevention programs, because if the incidence of HIV is not reduced, then access to treatment will become more and more difficult.

457. The HIV prevention strategy will emphasize local awareness-raising activities, along with other activities focusing on education for girls and gender equality, human rights, interventions aimed at breaking the vicious circle of poverty, malnutrition, and HIV and opportunistic infections, and will seek greater involvement of youth and of people living with HIV in the effort to prevent the disease. These activities will follow the guidelines set forth in the national strategy on communication for behavioral change, developed and validated in 2004.

458. The government will support implementation of the new national policy on condom use, aimed at fine-tuning condom acquisition, storage, and distribution channels in order to make condoms available throughout the country.

459. To step up voluntary screening of high-risk groups, the plan is to outfit at least 300 voluntary HIV testing centers nationwide, with the dual objective of opening one voluntary testing center for every 65,000 persons and establishing a certification system based on the results of the testing center supervision activities.

460. Early diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections will be strengthened at health care facilities.

461. Efforts to prevent the blood-borne transmission of HIV will be strengthened by providing training to care providers, traditional healers, and traditional midwives and by making available to health care facilities the resources needed for emergency prevention and treatment in the event of rape or exposure to blood.

462. Implementation of the program to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV has made significant progress which should be continued and consolidated. Burundi proposes to accelerate the program by creating new treatment sites and incorporating MTCT prevention in prenatal consultation services, while also ensuring adequate geographic coverage. Medical and psychosocial coverage of people living with HIV/AIDS

463. The government’s strategy is to pursue psychosocial treatment, by creating centers for listening to concerns and dispensing advice, and to extend coverage to 25,000 people living with HIV. Treatment will be provided for opportunistic infections, and drugs will be made available for treating some 25,000 people living with HIV. Home care activities will also be strengthened with the support of health care mediators.

464. The opportunity provided by the availability of financial resources has resulted in adoption of a more robust policy concerning access to health care for people living with HIV. This area will remain the absolute priority in the coming years.

465. With respect to access to health care for people living with HIV, Burundi, in line with WHO’s 3 by 5 Initiative, proposes to offer anti-retroviral treatment to all people living with HIV within the next three years. To that end, emphasis will be placed on continued decentralization and the creation of new treatment sites.

466. Intervention capacities in terms of human resources will be upgraded through training for doctors and nurses, specifically by developing a training program that leads to a qualification for comprehensive coverage as part of their respective courses of study.

467. Building the capacities of the human resources involved in implementing programs to promote access to health care for people living with HIV will also entail pre-service and in-service training for relevant actors. The training modules and the various monitoring and evaluation tools will be standardized and widely distributed. The development of new treatment sites to accelerate decentralization of access to health care is also planned.

468. Mechanisms will be set up for certifying facilities that are able to provide proper intake of patients undergoing anti-retroviral treatment.

469. Special attention will be given to monitoring HIV resistance to anti-retroviral treatment. Improved access to anti-retroviral treatment will be part of an overall plan of attack that also includes psychosocial coverage starting from the moment of voluntary HIV screening, early and proper treatment of opportunistic infections, and anti-retroviral treatment as soon as it is needed. Socio-economic coverage

470. The government’s priority in this area is to provide stronger protections for people living with HIV by disseminating the law that protects people living with HIV, monitoring its implementation, and taking steps to make the national watchdog agency for the rights of people living with HIV fully operational.

471. The government is also committed to supporting and assisting orphans and other vulnerable children, with the objective of providing adequate coverage to 900,000 orphans and other vulnerable children. At the present time, according to an identification survey performed by the Permanent Executive Secretariat of the National AIDS Council (SEP/CNLS), orphans and other vulnerable children under the age of 18 account for about 10 percent of the Burundian population. In 2002, there were already 230,000 AIDS orphans, out of a total of 620,000 orphans and other vulnerable children, according to UNAIDS estimates. Institutional capacity building

472. The government will set in place appropriate mechanisms to mobilize resources and upgrade skills in order to ensure that the resources arrive at the point where they are needed to support the activities.

473. In addition, training will be provided to the relevant actors and equipment will be made available to them so that they can be fully operational. Management and coordination of the national response to HIV/AIDS

474. In addition to the consultation and coordination frameworks already established by the National Aids Council through its facilities, a priority will be placed on leadership development at the municipal level as a way to improve national coordination. A review of the 2002-2006 Action Plan and the planning for 2007-2011 will be organized. Studies and research aimed at improving the quality of overall coverage of program beneficiaries will also be carried out in order to refine the basic guidelines for developing the 2007 - 2011 Action Plan. As part of the evaluation of the 2002-2006 Action Plan, combined monitoring of seropositivity and behavior is planned at the national level.


475. The macroeconomic framework for 2006-2009 has realistic aims and reflects a deliberately optimistic scenario, based first and foremost on the assumption of the effective implementation—in a climate of strengthened peace and increased security—of the PRSP itself, which contains multiple actions in favor of economic growth.

476. The framework takes account of the implementation, beginning in 2004, of a program supported by the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), the objectives of which are to favor economic recovery, ensure financial stability, and move forward with structural reforms.

7.1. Macroeconomic framework

7.1.1. Projection of the major aggregates

477. The macroeconomic framework seeks to account in a coherent fashion for the changes that will result from PRSP implementation in respect of the major macroeconomic aggregates such as (i) the real sector, (ii) the state budget, (iii) foreign trade, and (iv) monetary policy.

a. Real sector

478. The GDP projections are based on the level recorded for 2005, to which growth rates of 6.1 percent, 6.6 percent, 7.1 percent, and 6.7 percent are applied for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, respectively, with a uniform deflator of 9 percent.

479. When all the above assumptions are taken into account, the results obtained are as reflected in the following table.

Table 7.

Sectoral Contributions to Real GDP (at 1996 prices)

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480. The changes in the various sectors’ contributions to real GDP reflect the ongoing gradual transformation of the Burundian economy. The share of the primary sector declines from 48.7 percent in 2004 to 43.4 percent in 2008; the share of the secondary sector increases from 14.4 percent in 2004 to 17.3 percent in 2008; and the share of the tertiary sector rises from 30.2 percent in 2004 to 32.3 percent in 2008.

b. Public finances

481. The table which follows shows the projected evolution of the budget over the 2006-2009 period. The total revenue for 2005 reflects the estimated outturn for 2005. The revenue for 2006 is derived from the approved 2006 budget. Owing to the elimination of taxes and levies called for by the budget, the tax ratio (total revenue as a percentage of GDP) declines from 20 percent in 2005 to 18.2 percent in 2006. Total revenue for 2007, 2008, and 2009 are projected on the basis of tax ratios of 18.2 percent, 17.8 percent, and 17.5 percent, respectively.

Table 8.

Government Finance

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column: in billions of Burundi francs.

column: in percent of GDP.

482. Budgetary expenditure will remain substantial owing to the reinstallation and reinsertion of disaster victims, the rehabilitation and reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure, and the financing of socio-economic infrastructure. Expenditure will amount to about 50 percent of GDP annually owing to the sizable financial requirements for reducing poverty.

483. A proportion of the PRSP expenditure as well as external debt relief will be allocated to capital expenditure in the context of financing the national poverty reduction strategy.

484. Because total revenue expands less rapidly than total expenditure, the overall budget deficit triples from 2005 to 2008 (from FBu 144 billion in 2005 to FBu 465 billion in 2008) and doubles in terms of GDP (from 17 percent of GDP in 2005 to 35 percent of GDP in 2008).

485. The financing of the overall budget deficit in 2006-2009 reflects a declining share of external financing excluding the PU and PRSP (from 22 percent of GDP in 2006 to 10.4 percent of GDP in 2009) and a growing share of PU and PRSP financing (from 9.7 percent of GDP in 2006 to 16.4 percent of GDP in 2008).

486. The primary balance thus amounts to -1.7 percent of GDP and moves to -5.8 percent of GDP in 2009 (excluding the PRSP). This development should not be interpreted as calling into question the government’s commitment to avoiding expenditure entailing unsustainable imbalances, but instead incorporates the obligation to maintain temporary increases in some expenditure categories provided that they are conceived within the aim of reducing subsequent recurrent costs and that this temporary increase in the primary deficit can support macroeconomic stability in the long term.

487. Thus, for example, rather than increasing the government’s future commitments, the generalized availability of health care, the maintenance of infrastructure, the fight against AIDS, and demobilization costs will have a broadly positive impact on future reductions in state obligations.

488. A breakdown of the 2006 budget to show pro-poor expenditure and expenditure other than that for the poor shows that capital expenditure is basically allocated to poverty reduction.

Table 9.

Breakdown of Public Expenditure by Pro-Poor and Non Pro-Poor Outlays

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c. Foreign trade

489. Comparative analysis of the export and import trends shows that imports increase at a faster pace, reflecting increased demand for capital goods and intense needs for raw materials from abroad and a low degree of autonomy in respect of foreign exchange.

490. Owing to the uncertainties surrounding world market prices for coffee and tea, and despite the sizable programs aimed at export diversification, the national supply of exports remains well below the level of national requirements for imported goods, as a result of which the trade balance will continue to register a persistent and increasing deficit in the 2006-2008 period. The trade deficit will reach FBu 332.4 billion, or 21.2 percent of GDP, in 2009.

491. Export growth of 12.5 percent a year depends principally on increased coffee production. Moreover, the multiplication of the efforts to diversify export crops, the development of the agro industrial sector, and the export of agro alimentary productions will also support exports.

492. The table which follows illustrates the developments in respect of the main trends in the export sector.

Table 10:

Balance of Payments

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column: in billions of Burundi francs.

column: in percent of GDP.

493. Estimates of the financing items for 2005 are based both on the available data and on IMF staff estimates. The projections of the financing items for 2006 are based on the indications set forth in the 2006 Budget Law, and on indications provided by IMF staff projections. In most cases the projections for 2007 and 2008 are extrapolations from the projections for 2006.

494. The current balance will thus continue to deteriorate during the period under review, moving from -34.3 percent of GDP to -38.7 percent of GDP between 2005 and 2008. Financing requirements will be covered in large measure by external grants, with loans being carefully controlled in order to avoid new borrowing which would be incompatible with the undertakings adopted in the context of the HIPC Initiative.

d. Monetary sector

495. The government will ensure that monetary policy fully plays its role of supporting the economic growth process. Thus, any increase in the money supply must reflect increased economic activity.

496. In particular, an increasing proportion of credit should be oriented toward development of the private sector.

Table 11.

Monetary Survey

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column: in billions of Burundi francs.

column: in percent of M2 (t-1).

497. The increase in government expenditure resulting from the increase in new expenditure under the PRSP (and the 2006 PU) results in a proportional increase in financing requirements, to which it is assumed that donors will respond in an altogether satisfactory manner. This is another aspect of the optimism of the macroeconomic framework.

498. In addition, the macroeconomic framework, which shows a considerable increase in imports of goods and services and deterioration in the current balance of payments, implies that the economy of Burundi will make the best of its increased dependence on external financing.

7.1.2. Management of macroeconomic and structural policies

499. The government’s strategy is to stabilize and enhance the predictability of the macroeconomic framework in order to permit growth in trade and in investment opportunities and to stimulate the potential for growth.

500. During the 2006-2008 period, the objective will be to achieve an average annual GDP growth rate on the order of 7 percent by 2008; to limit inflation to 4 percent by 2008; to contain the budget deficit, to control the growth of the money supply to within limits compatible with the objective of controlling inflation, while releasing the resources necessary for the revitalization of private sector activity; and to maintain foreign exchange reserves at a level exceeding three months’ imports of goods and nonfactor services. This will contribute to restoring as rapidly as possible the performance levels preceding the crisis, thereby ensuring a solid basis for economic recovery.

501. In this context, in collaboration with the IMF and World Bank, Burundi has implemented major reforms aimed at correcting the budget and external imbalances and thereby eliminating the distortions which hamper economic activity.

502. Carrying out these reforms will make it possible to improve the predictability of the economic fundamentals (acceptable inflation, a realistic exchange rate, a tolerable fiscal deficit, etc.) through the establishment of a sure, reliable framework which favors capital accumulation.

503. Controlling inflation, the adoption of prudent fiscal policies, and the implementation of a monetary policy compatible with growth as well as the liberalization of the external sector will constitute the four main components of the strategy for rehabilitating the macroeconomic framework.

a. Mastering the management of public finances

504. Fiscal policy is aimed at controlling and rationalizing the allocation of public expenditure, accompanied by an effort to increase state revenue, so as to absorb what has become a chronic fiscal deficit.

505. To increase domestic public revenue, specific revenue enhancing measures are oriented toward: (i) extending taxation to cover activities which so far are still outside the tax system, so as to achieve an efficient tax system with revenue-enhancing tax rates; (ii) reducing tax and customs duty exemptions; (iii) improving the efficiency of tax and customs administration; (iv) improving the identification of taxpayers by adopting a single identification system; (v) preparing and introducing a value-added tax (VAT); and (vi) privatizing the management of the revenue collection offices to improve their performance.

506. With regard to public expenditure, because it is not possible to reduce expenditure in the short term owing to the uncompressible nature of most spending, the actions to be taken will be aimed at improving the expenditure profile by allocating public resources to priority expenditures, in particular toward poverty reduction programs.

507. Some measures to stabilize the operating expenditure of the state will be taken, including: (i) elimination of the direct and indirect subsidies to companies with public sector participation (SPPs); (ii) controlling the wage bill by freezing hiring in the civil service, except in the priority social sectors (health, education); (iii) putting ceilings on the consumption of selected goods and services so as to limit abuses and diversion from public usages, in particular in the personalized state administrations, projects, and boards; (iv) formulating clear sectoral policies as regards the actions of the state, leaving a place of choice for the private sector; and (v) regular monitoring of pro-poor expenditure.

508. With a view to achieving greater effectiveness in expenditure, the processes of preparing Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs) and Public Expenditure Reviews (PERs) will be systematically initiated in the various priority sectors. The expenditure circuit will be computerized and recurrent project costs will be identified at the sector level and incorporated into the program budgets. Similarly, the allocation of resources to investment will be carried out in accordance with the rationality and effectiveness of public action and in keeping with the priorities of this PRSP as identified through participatory consultations.

b. Introduce a prudent monetary policy

509. During the period of socio-economic crisis, the indirect monetary policy instruments used did not make it possible to achieve the results anticipated, owing to a macroeconomic environment characterized by deterioration in the public deficits and the sluggishness of economic activity.

510. The primary objective of monetary policy will be to ensure price stability, the basis for macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth.

511. To achieve this objective, the central bank (BRB) will, with the government, establish quantitative criteria for credit to the administration and the public sector. With regard to credit to the economy, the central bank will rely upon indirect monetary control instruments.

512. In order to further improve the effectiveness of monetary and credit policy, an interbank money market will be created so as to enable banks and financial institutions to periodically exchange their liquidity surpluses among themselves. Finally, to improve the conduct of monetary policy, the BRB will strengthen its technical capacities in the area of monetary programming, with technical support from the IMF and from other central banks.

c. Liberalize the external sector

513. The economic management strategies envisaged for this sector are based on the assumption of a recovery in exports and international economic cooperation. They are aimed at strengthening the external financial position of the economy and reducing its vulnerability to external shocks. The strategies will consist, among other things, in gradually ending the foreign trade restrictions that were reintroduced following the crisis situation, continuing the exchange policy reforms, continuing the reforms aimed at liberalizing the trade and payments system, and promoting exports.

514. As regards exports, the reforms and incentive policies aimed at creating a climate conducive to export promotion and diversification will be continued and intensified. They pertain primarily to tax incentives, the easing of administrative procedures, and the introduction of appropriate support infrastructures.

515. To further strengthen Burundi’s integration into the global economy, the government will participate actively in regional integration initiatives as well as the liberalization of the trade and payment system. Necessary reforms will be initiated, in particular in the customs area, in respect of the legal and regulatory framework for business, and as regards the investment regime.

516. The government will continue the policy of flexible management of the exchange rate with the objective of ensuring the continuous equilibrium between the supply of and demand for foreign exchange. The policy of liberalizing the external trade and payments system will be continued to strengthen the range of incentives for the promotion of nontraditional exports.

d. Streamline debt management

517. The government is resolved to continue vigorously a policy of external debt reduction initiated in the context of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative. By 2007 Burundi will be in a position to reach the completion point, subject to the condition, however, of satisfactory implementation of the reform program under way with the IMF and the World Bank and implementation of the PRSP. The resources freed from debt service could be used to increase spending in favor of poverty reduction.

518. Another far more important consequence of reaching the completion point will be the forgiveness of multilateral debt in accordance with the Gleneagles terms approved at the meeting of the G8 in 2005.

519. Sensitivity analysis reveals that Burundi’s capacity to cover its external debt service is heavily dependent on exogenous shocks and export performance. In addition, the soundness of the external position is affected significantly by the composition and modalities of external aid. Export weakness strictly limits the level of debt that Burundi could service in the medium and long terms, in particular if the priority for public expenditure is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

520. Consequently, the government advocates the adoption of vigorous and sustained domestic reforms, focused on the development of exportable output, a prudent debt management strategy, and recourse to external aid in grant form.

521. Furthermore, the government will ensure that new external loans contracted or guaranteed by the state and the BRB have a grant element consistent with the objectives of lasting sustainability of the debt.

522. The government is aware of the problems with aid and the need to enhance its effectiveness. A National Aid Coordination Committee chaired by the Second Vice President of the Republic has recently been established. Under this PRSP, the government has assigned itself the objective of implementing the recommendations of the Paris Conference on aid harmonization and alignment with national instruments and policies. Special emphasis will be placed on the gradual and concerted shift toward direct (or sectoral) budgetary aid modalities.

523. In addition to the efforts under way to improve the budget and public expenditure as well as the mechanisms for ensuring transparency, control, and audit, the government will prepare a policy paper setting forth the principles which should lead to greater aid effectiveness.

7.1.3. Challenges to PRSP implementation

(i) Obtaining the financing projected

524. The anticipated aid “lined up” for the 2006-2009 period is estimated at about FBu 669 billion. Implementation of the PRSP—apart from the 2006 Emergency Program (PU)—should result in the additional mobilization of FBu 535 billion over three years. The total amount of financing, both “lined up” and “new,” would thus come to some FBu 1,204 billion, at least on the assumption that donors not replace all or part of their “traditional” aid by simple reallocations.

(ii) Address the deterioration in the current balance of payments

525. Assuming that the anticipated financing is available, the framework shows that the sudden increase of about FBu 129.5 billion a year in the government’s current and capital expenditure would bring about an annual increase of FBu 103.03 billion in imports of goods and services, slightly greater than the average for the three preceding years, namely FBu 84 billion, which would aggravate the current deficit of the balance of payments: it would increase from 34 percent of GDP in 2005 to 37 percent on average over the 2006-2008 period. Finally, a decrease in net foreign exchange reserves would take the place of their accumulation in 2005 (FBu +32 billion), reaching the level of FBu 11 billion at end-2008.

(iii) Significantly increase the capacity to absorb financing

526. A third challenge concerns the capacity of Burundian structures to absorb the new PRSP financing, especially the financing relating to the government’s capital expenditure. The increase in the government’s expenditure on consumption poses few problems other than that of the availability of the financing for it, because the capacity to absorb the related appropriations is generally not subject to limits (as in the case of food aid, medicines, etc.). This said, the current expenditure relating to health care or education, for example, may be limited by the capacity to recruit nurses or teachers.

527. The Ig/GDP ratio, which was 10.8 percent in 2005, rises sharply to 20.7 percent in 2006 and 21.2 percent in 2008, and of necessity calls for a significant improvement in the capacities of national structures to manage such growth efficiently. This urgent need to build the capacity to absorb the financing of capital expenditure can be addressed, for example, by reforming public bidding and government procurement procedures, by promoting effectiveness in project supervision, by developing capabilities in the administrative structures, etc.

(iv) Need to preserve macroeconomic stability

528. A macroeconomic environment characterized by tensions between supply and demand, by external imbalances, and by unsustainable debt, may constitute a major impediment to poverty reduction and growth. Consequently, alongside the effort to build institutional capacities so as to respond adequately to an increase in aid volumes, the government will take the measures necessary for preserving macroeconomic stability and thereby ensure that there is a sound basis for sustainable development.

7.2. Costs of the priority programs

529. Table 12 was prepared on the basis of data on the projects currently being implemented and for which financing has been lined up, and which are consistent with the implementation of the PRSP, as well as programs now being prepared for the 2006-2009 period.

530. The historical amount of resources comes to US$669 million, and the additional financing required to cover priority actions under the PRSP amounts to US$535 million, for a total of US$1,204 million. Table 12 below shows the annual breakdown by strategic axes of the potentially mobilizable resources and the financing.

Table 12.

PRSP Costs and Financing

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