Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, borders Rwanda to the north, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, and Tanzania to the south and east. It is located in the geographic region of the Great Lakes. Since 1966 the country has been a presidential republic and the current head of state is the president of the republic Évariste Ndayishimiye. Burundi is the second most densely populated country in Africa with around 470 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The country's economy is heavily dependent on the agricultural sector which, despite the extreme scarcity of arable land, employs 80% of the population. Despite the high percentage of the employed population, the agricultural sector suffers from low productivity contributing only 40% of GDP. Burundi has experienced a difficult economic situation over the past seven years, which has led to fiscal and balance of payments difficulties. Economic growth was estimated at 1.8% in 2021 (up from 0.3% in 2020), supported by an easing of restrictions related to COVID-19. Economic growth is expected at 2.5% in 2022, supported by gains across all sectors.
The Italian contribution
AICS is currently active in Burundi with two initiatives:
- Access to renewable energies in the off-grid areas of Burundi as a driving force for socio-economic development. Managed by the Institute for University Cooperation (ICU), the project, proposed and implemented as part of the projects promoted by the Italian CSOs, aims to improve access to energy to contribute to resilience and socio-economic development of rural areas. The renewable energy market is strengthened by acting on two lines: 1) access to solar energy for agricultural cooperatives, commercial activities, basic health services and families and 2) leveraging the "Italian system" and the experience of the business network companies involved in the initiative to reduce the barriers to private investment in renewable energy, the main driving force of development.
- Maison Parma, the value of the territory: the tomato supply chain and sustainable development. With this initiative, leveraging on the agri-food vocation of the Parma area, we want to promote a supply chain approach to tomato cultivation and the establishment of a product transformation consortium. Through training initiatives, institutions, small entrepreneurs, farmers, workers and artisans will be involved for the enhancement of the local tomato product, both fresh and transformed. The implementing body of the project is the Municipality of Parma, thanks to the contributions disbursed by AICS through the tender reserved for local authorities.