Strengthening Burundi Through Partnership and Good Governance
by Lucy Mele, Communications Officer, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
Burundi is quickly becoming one of East Africa’s development success stories.
In the 1990s, the ethnic violence between the Hutus and the Tutsis had devastating effects on Burundi’s population, leaving 200,000 dead, 140,000 internally displaced, and forcing an additional 48,000 refugees into Tanzania. This year, the last remaining Burundian refugee camp will close, and the final 36,000 Burundian refugees will be repatriated – allowing the country to move forward from a difficult period in its history and begin a new and more hopeful chapter.
Burundi has proven that it is ready, and able, to move forward. The political environment has improved dramatically; the country held peaceful democratic elections in 2005 and 2010, and due in part to a number of successful anti-corruption and good governance initiatives, it is considered to be safer and more secure than it has been in decades.
Stronger government and social will have also helped the country see successes in other sectors: between 2005 and 2010, maternal mortality fell from 11% to 8.6%, child mortality dropped from 17.5% to 9.6%, the number of women in government increased by 38% and the number of classrooms and teachers across the country rose by 50%.
There is determination among Burundi’s policymakers and its citizens to continue increasing the country’s focus on development initiatives that will reduce poverty, stimulate growth, and encourage social cohesion. Progress thus far has been impressive, but the country remains one of the poorest in the world, and it will need collaboration from global donors and partners to achieve its development goals. Later this month, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will join representatives from his own government, as well as donor countries and international organizations, to speak with these partners about Burundi’s progress and share a vision for its development moving forward.
The conference, called the Conference of Development Partners
, will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on October 29 and 30. Dalberg has been working with the Government of Burundi, as well as the United Nations Development Program
, to develop a communication strategy around the conference and help organize its supporting activities.
“This donor conference creates a unique platform for a country like Burundi to promote their vision and advocate for support,” said Malle Fofana, a Senior Consultant in Dalberg’s Dakar office. “Donors have the opportunity to learn about what the country is capable of and what it needs to move forward, and decide how they can direct their resources to help.”
Central to the conference is the presentation of Burundi’s second Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (CSLP II), which highlights the need for funding in priority areas such as infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, industry, tourism and regional integration to promote economic development. The ultimate purpose of the strategy is to promote job creation and the development of a dynamic and sustainable private sector.
“Burundi presently stands at a critical crossroads in its history, energized by the progress made so far but conscious of the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” said UNDP Country Director Xavier Michon. “This conference represents a unique moment to coordinate our efforts and leverage the strategy to enable long-lasting economic and social development in Burundi. It’s also an extraordinary opportunity for networking, exchanging experiences and ideas in an inclusive setting, as well as promoting collaborations and alliances.”
For more information on the Conference of Development Partners, please visit http://burundiconference.org