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U.S. Participates in Burundi Donor Conference at UN
October 29, 2012

Statement delivered by Brad Wallach
USAID Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator for Africa

Geneva, Switzerland
October 29, 2012

Two men listen to speakers
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Dr. Reuben Brigety (right), and USAID’s Brad Wallach (left)

The United States congratulates the Government of Burundi on its progress in achieving peace and security after many years of instability and internal conflicts.  As evidenced by this conference today, Burundi’s government is clearly focused on expanding its economy and rebuilding infrastructure while enhancing relations with its neighbors.

The U.S. Government sees this donor conference as an appropriate forum to discuss the Government of Burundi’s strategies and priorities for economic growth.  My government remains committed to providing assistance and support to Burundi in its implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II (PRSP-II) and achieving the Burundi Vision 2025.  We are collaborating with the Government of Burundi, international donors, and implementing partners to help accelerate social service delivery, advance the democratization process, enhance food security, and rebuild the country’s economy.

The U.S. Government is committed to continuing USAID support to the Government of Burundi to improve the health status of Burundians.  We will build on the successes achieved and lessons learned to support Burundi’s priorities in maternal, newborn and child health, reproductive health/family planning, malaria and HIV/AIDS over the next five years.  In FY 2012, the United States provided approximately $31.5 million in health programming to Burundi.

We also support the Government of Burundi’s goal to improve its agriculture sector.  In May 2012, with our backing, Burundi received a $30 million Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) grant in support of the country’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).  The United States is the largest donor, providing about 38% of the resources for the GAFSP.  The GAFSP grant will help increase the availability and quality of food by intensifying and diversifying production, increasing agricultural productivity, and improving access to inputs, such as seeds and fertilizer, and technical know-how.

Another example of the U.S. Government’s commitment to enhancing food security is USAID’s Title II Food for Peace program.  The program focuses on improving access by women and children to quality health services; encourages the practice of appropriate health and nutrition behaviors; and increases the intake of diverse foods, including supplementation with Title II commodities.

We congratulate the Government of Burundi on its membership to the East Africa Community (EAC).  Regional integration among the members of the East African Community presents a potential opportunity for Burundi to expand its markets and to diversify its economy.  The combined EAC market comprises 133 million people with a GDP of $79.2 billion and $1.1 billion in two-way merchandise trade between the United States and the EAC in 2010.  Burundi benefits from USAID’s regional support to customs harmonization and procedures for Burundian officials on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards and harmonization.

The U.S. Government greatly appreciates Burundi’s steadfast contributions to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2008.  The valor and sacrifices of the Burundian peacekeepers deserve the highest praise.  We are proud to support Burundi’s peacekeepers through training, equipment, logistical support, and mentoring.  In addition, we support Burundian military’s long-term professionalization efforts to promote effective civilian oversight, and respect human rights and the rule of law.

The PRSP II presents an opportunity for Burundi to expand its markets and to diversify its economy.  To that end, we encourage the Government of Burundi to ensure an open and transparent business environment to attract investment and boost trade.  We congratulate Burundi on the achievements of its revenue authority.  For the economy to flourish, we urge Burundi to improve transparency in governance and respect for human rights, to maintain its freedoms of the press and of assembly, and to bring an end to violence, whatever its origin.  The challenge of democratic consolidation remains critical — as does the need to deliver peace dividends to a population that is poorer today than when the conflict began in 1993.  To support Burundi’s efforts in democracy and governance, our assistance that is focused on good governance has aimed at strengthening mechanisms to control corruption, protect civil liberties, bolster participation in democratic processes, and promote government effectiveness.  The U.S. Government commends the Government of Burundi on its continued efforts to meet the eligibility requirements for a Millennium Challenge Corporation threshold program as it works toward improved political freedom, good governance, the role of civil society and human rights.

We look forward to supporting the Government of Burundi in realizing its commitment to advance and rebuild the country’s economy.