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AfDB Tasks Burundian Government On Reforms In Fertilizer Sector

AFRICAN EXAMINER) -The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group urged the Burundian government to pursue reforms in the fertilizer sector of its economy.

President of AfDB Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina gave the charge when he met with the Burundian officials at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.

Dr. Adesina, who was accompanied by some top officials of the bank, suggested the establishment of an electronic wallet (e-wallet) for greater transparency in the process of distributing fertilizer to beneficiaries.

He also promised that the AfDB will mobilise close to $4 million to help Burundi urgently procure over 3,000 tons of fertilizer over the upcoming agricultural season.

The support, according to him, will enable the country to procure fertilizer for the first phase of the season, which begins in May. The country’s needs for the entire season are estimated at 145,000 tons.

Burundi’s Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Audace Niyonzima requested this support on behalf of President Évariste Nadyishimiye during a meeting with the bank chief.

Niyonzima, who is also the Bank Group Governor for Burundi, was accompanied by Sanctus Niragira, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock.

He said the bank will use two existing projects from its current portfolio in Burundi to help meet the immediate needs of the first phase. The African Fertilizer Development Financing Mechanism, a special fund managed by the AfDB, also represents an opportunity that will be explored for subsequent phases, Adesina said.

Dr. Adesina added that the bank will also support Burundi’s efforts to explore fertilizer procurement opportunities with other international agencies such as the World Food Programme.

The meeting focused on concrete concerns and was a continuation of discussions between Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye and Dr. Adesina at the last Dakar 2 summit on food sovereignty and resilience in January 2023.

The bank chief further reaffirmed the AfDB’s commitment to support the government in its efforts to mobilize resources for Burundi’s Food and Agriculture Delivery Compact—concluded at the Dakar 2 Summit, which amounts to $200 million over five years.

Meanwhile, discussions to fund the compact are underway with other key partners, including the Netherlands, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

To this end, the bank has mobilised about $1.3 million to finance technical studies for the establishment of agro-processing zones and irrigated areas in Karusi and Cibitoke.

The Burundian minister also requested participation in the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa or AFAWA initiative, for youth and women in his country.

In response to this request, the AfDB Group has committed to strengthening the capacity of Burundi’s Youth Investment Bank (YIB) and its Women’s Development and Investment Bank (WDIB). Adesina explained that the Bank is moving towards the establishment of youth investment banks across the continent.

During the meeting the parties also discussed regional integration. Adesina said the Bank plans to invest about $100 million in the construction of the Uvinza-Musongati-Gitega section of the Tanzania-Burundi-Democratic Republic of Congo railway, between Tanzania and Burundi. The project will be presented to the Board of Directors in September 2023.

Dr. Adesina assured the Burundian government of the Bank’s support to other partners to mobilize the remaining funds for the construction of the Tanzania-Burundi railway section which requires $1.4 billion of which about $645.76 million is being mobilized.

The bank’s active portfolio in Burundi comprises 19 operations with commitments of $372 million, mainly concentrated in energy (45 percent), transport (34 percent), agriculture (12 percent) and social (8 percent) sectors.

The visit to the headquarters of the pan-African development institution highlights the bank’s ongoing relationship with its member countries and its role as the premier multilateral development finance institution in Africa.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=87030

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