A high-level conference of Burundi’s development partners will take place from 29 to 30 October 2012 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The aim of the conference is to secure the resources necessary for Burundi’s continued process of recovery from over a decade of civil war.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Nations, Dante Martinelli, and representatives from UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, the European Union, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank will be in attendance, with more than 50 countries expected to participate.
The normalization of political life has been a remarkable achievement in Burundi, seven years after the civil war ended, in which ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Free, fair and peaceful elections took place in 2005 and 2010 and safety and security has been re-established across the entire national territory.
Despite these achievements, Burundi remains one of the poorest countries in the world and has faced considerable challenges linked principally to the breakdown of social cohesion, the slowing down of economic development and an increase in poverty. The Burundian government now seeks support for the implementation of its second Poverty Reduction Strategy which focuses on growth, job creation and the development of a dynamic private sector, with agribusiness, tourism and mining in particular showing strong potential as key drivers of economic growth.
According to Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, there is a strong determination amongst the people of his country to build a country that is democratic, reconciled and unified. He has recently emphasised that this conference is Burundi’s opportunity to show the world that it is ready to work with its development partners to achieve the vision desired by all its people, which is based on a nation that is united, cohesive and at peace. At the forthcoming Geneva conference, donor countries, international organizations, and other key partners will have an opportunity to assess Burundi’s development plans and make their pledges to support the country as it enters a new, more hopeful chapter in its history.