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.
Burundi is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region that is characterized by large fragility, institutionally and socio-economically, and environmentally. The country is currently emerging from a long period marked by isolation and internal and regional political tensions. However, the first half of 2021 was marked by several positive developments in terms of policy, including the resumption of the EU-Burundi political dialogue.
The interests of the EU in Burundi are multiple, justifying an engagement of the EU with and for Burundi both politically and in terms of cooperation.
The proposed priority areas are the following:
Inclusive, green, sustainable, and job-creating growth
This area provides for the following specific objectives:
- The improvement of the income of the population in rural areas and the sustainable use of natural resources.
- The development of sustainable and fair value chains in the agricultural sector.
- The development of the energy sector by favoring equitable access for all to clean energy.
- The improvement of the management of natural resources, protection of the environment, the conservation of biodiversity, and the fight against climate change.
- National-level operations to be strengthened and complemented through actions at the regional level.
Human development and basic services
This area is structured around three sectors:
- Water, hygiene, and sanitation
- Basic Education and Vocational Training
A number of aspects and approaches will be taken into account in future interventions with the specific objective of improving the living conditions of the Burundian population, in particular the most vulnerable groups and young people.
Good governance and rule of law
This area revolves around three sectors:
- Democratic culture and reconciliation
- Human rights and access to justice
- Economic governance and climate Business
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Burundi for 2021-2024 amounts to €194 million.
Priority area 1: ‘’Inclusive, green, sustainable, and job-creating growth’’ facilitates the improvement of food and nutritional security, the strengthening of sustainable agricultural value chains, territorial planning, and land management, and access to reliable, modern, and sustainable energy services in rural areas. Part of the agenda is also the governance of forest heritage, protected areas and national parks, biodiversity, water, and fisheries resources.
Priority area 2: ‘’Human development and basic services’’ promotes Universal health coverage, drinking water distribution and wastewater collection and infrastructure, and good hygiene in urban areas. Furthermore, it improves education facilities and services in primary schools, structures, equipment, and human resources necessary for training professionals and vocational training in line with labor market needs.
Priority area 3: ‘’Good governance and rule of law’’ offers mechanisms for conflict prevention, resolution, and peaceful transmission of memory while supporting the dialogue between civil society actors and authorities within the framework of the democratic process. Finally, it encourages the capacities of the media to contribute to the development of a free environment, pluralistic, independent, and conducive to national reconciliation with monitoring and protecting human rights.
In recent years, the legal and regulatory environment has become increasingly binding on national and international civil society organizations. As a result, international NGOs suffer from increasingly strict controls which limit their room for action, while Burundian CSOs have been left out of any discussion or consultation on development policies and have seen their operational capacities sharply decrease. In this context, it is essential to provide specific measures in favor of CSOs aimed at:
- Strengthening Burundian CSOs technically, financially, and in terms of management and advocacy.
- Focusing on the improvement of the legal and regulatory framework concerning CSOs.
- Supporting the creation of spaces for dialogue between civil society and the authorities.
This support will be complementary to the involvement of CSOs in the implementation of actions in the priority sectors of the MIP and within the framework of sector dialogue.