Burundi Poverty Note: Prospects for Social Protection in a Crisis Economy

As of late 1993, Burundi fell into a political and economic crisis. Even though some improvements are beginning to show, such as the embargo suspension in January 1999, the poverty situation has definitely worsened since the beginning of the crisis. The report aims at exposing the extent of poverty, reviewing both income and social indicators, and identifies the causes of changes in the poverty profile. Poverty in the country is estimated to be the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Burundi, rural poverty increased by 80 percent, with double estimates in urban poverty. The report reveals a deterioration in social indicators, with a widespread food insecurity, declining incomes and rising health problems, coupled with reduced public services. Under the present fragile situation, the study suggests not only the need for action on social protection, but the need to address issues likely to hinder the effectiveness of social protection initiatives. The stabilization of political and security situations will allow the program of structural economic reforms to resume, ensuring greater intervention and comprehensive development investments for the protection of social interests.