The donor community ended a two-day conference in Burundi with a promise to provide $665 million in aid to the African country, as it struggles to strengthen its economy after 12 years of civil war. “We are happy to see that the pledges made will cover all the needs for the realization of our priority plan to fight poverty for the years 2007-2010,” said President Pierre Nkurunziza, who was elected into office in 2005. Major donor countries were Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and France. China, which offered $28 million in debt relief, also committed to construct schools, hospitals and a presidential palace, while the United States pledged to triple its aid to $28.5 million by 2008. The funding, $175 million of which will be given as direct budget support to government, will be used to develop agriculture, health and education, good governance, private sector promotion, and infrastructure in the country.
Source: Donors pledge $665 mln for Burundi reconstruction (Reuters)