The African Development Bank Group will mobilise close to $4 million to help Burundi urgently procure over 3,000 tonnes of fertilizer over the upcoming agricultural season.
Through a statement on Thursday, April 13, AfDB said the support will enable Burundi 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.
The commitment follows a request by Burundi’s Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Audace Niyonzima during a meeting with the African Development Bank head in Abidjan on April 7, 2023.
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.
Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said the Bank will use two existing projects from its current portfolio in Burundi to help meet the immediate needs of the first phase.
AfDB’s active portfolio in Burundi comprises 19 operations with commitments of $372 million, mainly concentrated in energy (45 per cent), transport (34 per cent), agriculture (12 per cent) and social (eight per cent) sectors.
“The African Fertilizer Development Financing Mechanism, a special fund managed by the African Development Bank, also represents an opportunity that will be explored for subsequent phases, Adesina said. The Bank will also support Burundi’s efforts to explore fertilizer procurement opportunities with other international agencies such as the World Food Programme,” the statement added.
Adesina encouraged the Burundi government to pursue reforms in the fertilizer sector, suggesting the establishment of an e-wallet for greater transparency in the process of distributing fertilizer to beneficiaries.
President Adesina reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to support Burundi in its efforts to mobilize resources for its Food and Agriculture Delivery Compact —concluded at the Dakar 2 Summit—which amounts to $200 million over five years.
Discussions to fund the compact are underway with other key partners, including the Netherlands, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Bank said.
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 this regard, AfDB has committed to strengthening the liquidity of Burundi’s Youth Investment Bank and its Women’s Development and Investment Bank to the tune of about $5.3 million. Adesina said the Bank is moving towards the establishment of youth investment banks across Africa.
According to Adesina, the Bank plans to invest about $100 million in the construction of the Uvinza-Musongati-Gitega section of the Tanzania-Burundi-DRC railway, between Tanzania and Burundi. The project will be presented to the Board of Directors in September 2023.
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.
Niyonzima, who is also the Bank Group Governor for Burundi, was accompanied by Sanctus Niragira, Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock.
“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,” the statement added.