Burundi

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France and Burundi

Political relations

France actively supported the implementation of the Arusha Accords and also pursued its support for institutions established subsequently.

President Nkurunziza made an official visit to France from 10 to 14 March 2013 during which he met with French President François Hollande. The Minister Delegate for Development and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Burundi signed on that occasion a “framework document on the policy of development cooperation between France and Burundi” for the period 2013-2015.

President Nkurunziza also participated in the Élysée Summit on 6 December 2013, the EU-Africa Summit on 2 and 3 April 2014, and two special meetings on the Central African Republic (CAR) organized on the sidelines of those two events.

On 27 March 2014, the First Vice President of Burundi Mr Prosper Bazombaza met with the Minister Delegate for Francophonie Ms Yamina Benguigui.

Since the 2015 crisis, France has always advocated a peaceful political solution for Burundians, with the region’s support, pursuant to the Arusha Accords on the basis of inclusive Burundi dialogue. On account of the close ties between Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC, the success of the Burundi transition remains an essential challenge when it comes to stabilizing the Great Lakes region, to which France is extremely committed.

Economic relations

Economic relations between France and Burundi remain modest: Burundi is France’s 168th largest trading partner, with total trade estimated at €13.2 million in 2018.

About 10 French companies are present in Burundi. Sogea-Satom (public works/construction, infrastructure) is the main one, along with SDV to a lesser degree (Bolloré Group) and AGS Movers.

Most of the niches presenting opportunities for French companies (agriculture, hydropower, infrastructure, tourism), undergoing reorganization since 2006, were strongly damaged following the political crisis.

Burundi has low foreign direct investment (FDI).

Development cooperation

In February 2012, Burundi was included on the list of priority poor countries of French cooperation. However, the French Development Agency (AFD) had to suspend its operations for two years during the 2015 crisis. The year 2017 saw its activities resume, particularly via the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE’s) partner agency mission which was entrusted to the AFD to prepare its next round of financing.

From this partnership came a project to support the education sector, prepared by the AFD in 2018 and signed in June 2019, in the amount of US$30 million ($25.6 million from the GPE and a €4 million grant from the AFD), focusing on increasing access to and the quality of education, particularly in the early years of primary school. Active NGOs in the area of inclusive education (gender, handicap, poverty) will have specific programmes to strengthen the resilience of students and schools.

In addition, the NGOs section of the AFD continues to support several regional projects by NGOs operating in Burundi (Play International, Sidaction, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (FIACAT), Reporters Without Borders (RWB)).

Updated: 9 July 2019