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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Burundi: New food security and energy projects

During a two-day visit to Burundi (21 to 22 February) EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs is to announce an €18 million new project on food security.
On the occasion, a  second project worth €50 million, aimed at providing access to sustainable energy for a million of Burundi's citizens, particularly for those living in rural areas will be also launched .
In Burundi, the current level of chronic malnutrition rate of 58% of children under 5 is one of the highest in more than two decades. Also, in the country only 3,5% of people have access to electricity.
The food security project, called PROPA-O, is part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Initiative - set up to help those countries who are especially off-track with the MDGs, or reward those who are making particular progress in meeting them. The initiative will aim to improve access to quality agricultural products such as seeds and fertilisers and by helping farmers to access markets (through improved storage, transformation and collection processes).
"While recognising that a number of reforms are on the right path, we must encourage our Burundese friends to move forward and to accelerate the reforms that will ensure sustainable development of the country. The 2015 elections are an important rendez-vous that cannot be missed. The EU will remain an important partner for Burundi to face all those challenges", Commissioner Piebalgs said.
Since 2004, the EU has financed more than 45 projects all over Burundi in the field of Food Security which have been implemented by almost 25 different organizations amounting to nearly €40 million.
Burundi is a small, landlocked country that straddles Central and East Africa, with a total land area of 27,834 km2, and approximately 8.5 million inhabitants; about 15% of whom live in urban areas. After many years of destructive civil war (1993-2000) which had a devastating effect on the country's economy and infrastructure, Burundi is still a very fragile country.

Source: European Commission