Arusha: Civil Society concerned about Burundi economic situation

Following the suggestions given to the Facilitator in the Inter-Burundian dialogue sessions, the members of OLUCOME, PARCEM and SOFEPA (civil society organizations) say they are concerned about the current economic situation in the country. They say Burundi is ranked among the poorest countries in the world, according to the IMF report 2017. “70% of the population lives in extreme poverty and the growth rate is at almost zero while it was at 4.7 in 2014,” the document reads.

Peace talks are taking place at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, in Arusha

Peace talks are taking place at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, in Arusha

The leaders of those civil society organizations say the GDP for each person is estimated at less than $ 300 in Burundi while it is estimated at more than USD 600 in the other EAC countries. They also say they are concerned about the unemployment rate among young people.

According to a study conducted by REJA, a local NGO, about 55% of young people in rural areas and 65% in urban are unemployed.

Burundi Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies-ISTEEBU shows that the inflation rate has gone up to more than 20% for food products in September 2017.

For this, they suggest that political leaders should take notice of this current situation and contribute more to the socio-economic development. “Burundi government should also improve its relationships with technical and financial partners,” they say.

Civil society organizations also suggest more commitment in the strict respect for the Arusha Agreement which is regarded as the reference and foundation of political, social, economic and security stability.

“The Arusha Agreement has demonstrated that it can help reconcile Burundians and
stabilize the country”, they say. In addition, they say the 2005 Constitution of the Republic of Burundi results from the very Arusha Agreement, the reason why its achievements must be scrupulously saved.

Other participants in the 4th Session of Burundi peace talks from the government and opposition groups had already submitted their proposals to the Facilitation office.