Despite some significant progress, the transition period, which began in 2003 with the Arusha peace agreements, has not been able to repair the damage to the country caused by twelve years of crisis. Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 2006 between Palipehutu-FNL (party for the liberation of the Hutu people – National Liberation Force) and the government led since 2005 by Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi has enjoyed relative stability. However, there are still widespread problems in the fields of human rights and security, good governance, the economy, the social sector and human development, while the peace process itself also remains fragile. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), ranked Burundi 167th out of 177 countries in 2007 in terms of human development. Three areas received support within the framework of the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) to fight poverty – rural development, good governance and macroeconomic support.
For the period 2008-2013 (10th EDF), the European Commission will contribute € 188 M distributed as follows: i) rural development and rehabilitation (€ 52 M), ii) the healthcare sector (€ 25 M), iii) general budgetary support (€ 90 M). Other areas will also receive funding totalling € 21 M. These include good governance and support for the national ordonnator. Finally, a total of € 24.1 M will be provided for unforeseen requirements in a B envelope.
The Commission decided to prioritise healthcare with specific objectives, including a new salary policy aimed at attracting well-qualified employees to the medical profession, improving access to healthcare and the quality of services, training for all categories of healthcare workers and, finally, reproductive health with its anticipated impact on demography.
Demographic growth and density, the waves of refugees and repatriated citizens and poor use of the land are other threats to the country’s economy, which is based primarily on agriculture. The 10th EDF will also continue to support previous policies. From 2008, projects will be initiated dealing with processing and increasing the value of food products, the management of roads, rural electricity supply, use of renewable energy and environmental protection, etc.
The success of the development strategy depends on the implementation of the peace agreements and the stabilisation of the country. In a post-conflict situation, budgetary support is a key success factor in the stabilisation process and the consolidation of peace. This support will aim to help the government to manage stabilisation and economic regeneration as well as supporting the state’s budget and its capacity to meet the expenditure necessary to maintain peace and the production of public goods and services vital to the reduction of poverty and the growth process.