IMF Executive Board Discusses the Ex Post Assessment of Longer-Term Program Engagement with Burundi

Public Information Notice (PIN) No. 11/92
July 19, 2011

Public Information Notices (PINs) form part of the IMF's efforts to promote transparency of the IMF's views and analysis of economic developments and policies. With the consent of the country (or countries) concerned, PINs are issued after Executive Board discussions of Article IV consultations with member countries, of its surveillance of developments at the regional level, of post-program monitoring, and of ex post assessments of member countries with longer-term program engagements. PINs are also issued after Executive Board discussions of general policy matters, unless otherwise decided by the Executive Board in a particular case.

On July 13, 2011, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed the Ex Post Assessment (EPA) of Longer-Term Program Engagement with Burundi.1

Background

Burundi has been engaged with the Fund since 2002, through a Post-Conflict Emergency Assistance (2002–03) and two successive Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (now Extended Credit Facility) arrangements. The EPA focuses on the latter two, covering the period since January 2004.

Despite steady improvements in civil peace and macroeconomic stability, economic development has remained constrained by weak institutions and governance, small and inefficient markets, poor infrastructure, and scarce capital, skills and technology. Growth has rebounded to pre-conflict levels, but remains volatile. Satisfactory performance under the programs secured considerable debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiatives (MDRI), and encouraged a surge in external aid that boosted government outlays in priority sectors, but left the public sector highly dependent on foreign assistance. Notable progress was made on structural reforms aimed at improving the conduct of monetary and fiscal policies, but was much slower in other areas, especially the coffee sector (the main source of income for half of the population). Technical assistance has played an important role in enhancing the macroeconomic policy framework.

Looking forward, Burundi needs a growth strategy based on further reforms that alleviate key bottlenecks and guarantee stability-oriented macroeconomic policies. Priorities for macroeconomic policies include greater exchange rate flexibility to better absorb external shocks, and the need to save part of the growth dividends to build fiscal buffers and restore debt sustainability. Further technical assistance aimed at implementing recent institutional reforms and building up capacities will be essential.

Executive Board Assessment

Directors broadly agreed with the findings of the Ex-Post Assessment that Fund involvement in Burundi has supported sound macroeconomic policies, catalyzed external assistance, and spurred reforms on a broad front. More broadly, Burundi’s experience highlights the importance of strong program ownership and well-coordinated technical assistance and donor support. Directors noted that continued technical assistance and a successor program could cement macroeconomic stability and boost growth prospects.


Burundi: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2008–10
 
  2008 2009 2010
 
  (Annual percentage change)

Real Economy

     

Real GDP growth

4.5 3.5 3.9

Consumer prices (period average)

24.4 10.7 6.4

Consumer prices (end of period)

25.7 4.6 4.1
  (Change in percent of beginning of period M2, unless otherwise indicated)

Money and credit

     

Net foreign assets

21.9 -2.9 -5.4

Domestic credit

18.8 27.8 24.2

Money and quasi-money (M2)

34.2 19.8 19.4
  (Percent of GDP)

General government

     

Revenue (excluding grants)

18.5 18.6 19.8

Total expenditure and net lending

56.7 50.7 54.7

Overall balance (commitment basis)

     

  Excluding grants

-38.2 -32.1 -34.9

  Including grants (excl. HIPC)

-2.4 -5.2 -3.2

External sector

     

Current account balance

-15.0 -16.1 -13.4

Gross official reserves

     

  US$ million

267 323 332

  Months of imports

5.0 5.0 4.8
 

Sources: Burundi authorities and IMF staff estimates and projections.


1 An EPA is required for all members having longer-term program engagement with the Fund. It is intended to provide an opportunity for the Fund to step back from continuing program relations with a member country to consider an analysis of the economic problems facing the country, a review of progress under Fund-supported programs and forward-looking assessment that takes into account the lessons learned, and presents a strategy for future Fund engagement.



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