Burundi is a fragile state, where economic development is hindered by strong population pressure and a development setback that has been accumulating during the years of civil war (1993-2000). More than two thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The Burundian economy is mostly dependent on the agricultural sector and is affected by an important deficit in electricity, hampering private sector development.
Besides its potential in the mining, agricultural and tourism sectors, the country suffers from lack of infrastructure, unattractive business climate, being landlocked, having a low-skilled workforce and a poor match between labour supply and demand. In addition, there is strong pressure on natural resources, due to being one of the most densely populated countries in Africa.
The EU aims to support Burundi’s impovrished population by improving their living conditions by addressing basic needs, namely:
- improving access and the quality of health services
- reducing food insecurity and malnutrition
- providing clean energy
- supporting peace and stabilisation in the country
These 4 sectors of the National Indicative Programme for 2014-2020 are aligned to the national strategy to overcome poverty.
Burundi is a member of several regional organisations: COMESA, EAC, ECCAS, ECGLC and ICGLR.
Burundi is eligible for funding under the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean 2014-2020 (11th European Development Fund (EDF)). Programmes currently underway are:
- Regional Programme on Peace and Security for the Stability of the Great Lakes Region (€10 million).
- Market Access Upgrade Programme - MARKUP (€35 million/of which €3.86 million to Burundi).
- Programme on the Contribution of Sustainable Fisheries to the Blue Economy - ECOFISH (€28 million/of which €2 million to Burundi).
- Under Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) thematic budget lines, (FOOD, HUM, NSAPVD, PP-AP/Health) 6 projects are currently implemented for a total amount of €24.77 million. The largest amount (€20.95 million) is foreseen under FOOD programmes, underlying how important addressing malnutrition in Burundi is.
- 6 projects are ongoing under the civil society organisations and local authorities (CSO-LA) thematic programme for a total amount of €6.1 million, mainly in the agriculture/rural development sector and more generally to reinforce the role and capacities of CSOs. An additional envelope of €9.3 million has been attributed to Burundi for the period 2018-2020.
- Concerning the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), 3 projects where contracted in 2016 for a total amount of €2 million, addressing youth violence and capacity building for human rights defenders (to be completed between end-2018 and 2019). An additional envelope of €2.4 million has been attributed to Burundi for the period 2018-2020.
- Under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) , 6 projects supporting internally displaced persons (déplacés et retournés au Burundi) and social cohesion, with a particular focus on youth are being implemented for a total amount of €6 million.
- Also, under the ACP-EU Energy Facility II (10th EDF) Energy and Fragility, 3 contracts (worth a total amount of €4.73 million) were signed for projects in Burundi.