Burundi seeks international aid for new development plan

Burundi's flag. The country is requesting for up to $1 billion to fund six priority development goals. Photo by: Seeds of Hope / CC BY

Burundi has identified six priority development goals which it said would require up to $1.1 billion in foreign aid to achieve by 2015.

The request for international assistance was made Oct. 29 by Burundi Second Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri at a donors’ conference hosted by the U.N. Development Program in Switzerland. The conference — attended by representatives from key donors, development partners and U.N. agencies — ends Oct. 30.

The money, according to Rufyikiri, will finance development projects and other initiatives needed to meet the six objectives of the country’s second Strategic Framework for Growth and Poverty Reduction. This plan covers the period 2012-15 and builds on the first framework, which focused on governance, private sector development, human capital development, gender equality and business climate improvement.

The six objectives in the new strategy are population control, agriculture development, public spending reforms, private sector engagement, energy sector development and institutional development. These priorities are designed to meet existing challenges in the country, such as food insecurity, malnutrition and high energy demand.

According to Rufyikiri, Burundi aims to generate at least 48 percent of the $2.1 billion total budget needed to finance the plan. He said the country hopes to mobilize the rest of the money from its development partners, the Voice of America says.

Burundi, Rufyikiri added, is worthy of foreign aid given its progress in stabilizing the country and improving socioeconomic conditions since 2006, when the government signed a peace deal with rebel groups.  

Among donors represented at the conference is the U.S. Agency for International Development, whose aid priorities in Burundi include the health and agriculture sectors.

Burundi, a small country in sub-Saharan Africa, is not among the top recipients of official development assistance in Africa. In 2010, it received some $635 million in aid from bilateral and multilateral sources — significantly smaller than the $1 billion to $3 billion secured by top recipients like Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi’s neighbor, Tanzania.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.