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Burundi: African Development Bank’s 2019-2023 Country Strategy Paper impactful, says evaluation team

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, August 2, 2023/ — The African Development Bank Group has expressed satisfaction with the implementation of its Country Strategy Paper for Burundi for 2019-2023 based on an evaluation by a Bank team led by country representative Pascal Yembiline.

Approved in 2019, the CSP helped Burundi mitigate fragility and build resilience through two main pillars: support for the development and transformation of agriculture; and improvement of transport and energy infrastructure.

The Bank mobilized about $131 million to finance projects under the CSP, some of which have been co-financed by development partners. Funding for two flagship projects under preparation could increase the figure to $245 million. The Bank provided technical assistance to the private sector to develop two hydro-solar power stations. It also set up a transaction guarantee facility for a private bank.

A total of 12 projects were approved across energy, transport, agriculture, social and private sectors. The resource mobilization rate for the plan currently stands at 70% and is ranked satisfactory. However, the Bank team noted that the performance of the public sector portfolio was weak, with an average disbursement rate of 35.6%.

Burundi’s Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Audace Niyonzima, thanked the Bank for its wide-ranging support for Burundi. “The Government of Burundi welcomes the completion of the 2019-2023 Country Strategy Paper, which comes at a time when the country is turning towards development and has embarked on a large-scale process of economic and social reforms to boost economic growth and regional integration.”

The Bank’s Country representative, Pascal Yembiline, noted that the strategy was implemented amid global headwinds, including climate change with an impact on infrastructure projects, the Covid-19 pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which have exacerbated the vulnerability of Burundi’s economy.

Despite these challenges, he said resources were mobilized to build infrastructure, which was essential to the country’s resilience in the face of shocks, and to strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive development.

The evaluation team gave an opportunity to analyze Burundi’s economic and social performance, as well as its main challenges, constraints and opportunities, helping to frame reforms that can lead to strong, sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The evaluation found that the Burundian economy is highly vulnerable to external shocks due to its heavy import dependence. It said Burundi must reinforce its productive base, make it stronger and more inclusive, and promote a more efficient allocation of resources and greater economic resilience.

The mission also made recommendations for structural reforms in specific sectors. The proposals will be considered in preparation for the new cooperation framework between the Bank and Burundi. This framework will consider the lessons learned from the implementation of the 2019-2023 CSP, the country portfolio review, and the conclusions of the country’s diagnostic note.

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