Burundi Infrastructure Plan on Track

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The Burundi infrastructure action plan was jointly presented by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the country’s public works ministry on Friday, 2 April 2010 in Bujumbura, during a workshop chaired by the country’s second vice president, Gabriel Ntisezerana, in the presence of the country’s finance minister, Clotilde Nizigama, and the AfDB Country and regional Programs and Policy Operations Vice President, Aloysius Ordu. Some eighty participants, representing the government, the private sector, development partners and donors, participated in the presentation. The report is a summary of a study conducted on transportation, energy, telecommunication and the mining sector, taking into account national and regional objectives.

In his welcome address, Mrs. Clotilde Nizigama thanked the AfDB delegation and all partners present for their efforts in the production of the report which will help the country’s poverty reduction efforts.

In his speech, Mr. Ordu noted: "situated at the heart of Africa is Burundi, a landlocked country that aspires to greater integration and full economic participation in order to be competitive among its neighbors." He added that infrastructure was key  to connecting Burundi to rest of the continent. "This should enable the country to fill its infrastructure gap in order to catch up with other developing countries," he said.

In his opening address, Vice President Ntisezerana thanked the AfDB for the honor done to Burundi, the first among the 53 African counties it had chosen to work with. He also stressed that the report was the result of a rigorous collective effort of all partners. Mr. Ntisezerana recalled that infrastructure had a special role to play in the country’s development, adding: "these objectives, once achieved, will bring new life and help to strengthen the overall efficiency of our country’s development process.” He concluded by commending the report’s quality, which will inform and enrich ongoing dialogue between the government, donors and businesspeople in the development of the three sectors. The various presentations demonstrated how national and regional power would be enough to meet the country's electricity needs; how Burundi could improve its trade through air and rail links, and the manner in which the proposed infrastructure linkages would provide Burundian communities and businesses with low-cost services.

The infrastructure program estimated at US$5.8 billion should be viewed as a tripartite engagement between the government, the private sector and donors. In response to genuine concerns about Burundi’s capacity to muster the necessary resources for the plan’s implementation, Mr. Ordu referred to one of the sources highlighted in the report: "450 million dollars is the amount that all development partners commit to Burundi every year; if only one-third of this amount is devoted to the infrastructure action plan, in line with the priorities set by the government, this could take care of a large part of this report.”

At the end of deliberations  and reflection on the Burundi infrastructure Action Plan, the country’s public works and equipment minister, Anatole Kanyenkiko, said the report would be presented to the government and various institutions in the country in the near future to “enable everyone to properly understand it”.

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