Burundi: WASH as a key sector for economic growth

By Ms. Jeanne Nizigiyimana, SWA Government focal point, Director General of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation, Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines, Burundi

19 Aug, 2019 in Partner Perspective Categories


In Burundi, the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is witnessing a new momentum thanks to the place it occupies in the 10-year National Development Plan (“Plan National de Développement du Burundi 2018-2027” - PND). This priority is the result of a strong and continuous evidence-based advocacy highlighting how adequate and efficient WASH is necessary to take full advantage of efforts in other sectors such as energy, roads and education. The PND was adopted by the Government of Burundi on June 29, 2018, and officially launched by the Head of State on August 22, 2018. This plan aims to become the basis for a strong and inclusive growth, which will allow Burundi to become an “emerging country” by 2027.


Financing & Implementation of the National Development Plan, 2018 - 2027

The Technical committee in charge of developing the PND has also made a Priority Action Programme (“Programme d’Actions Prioritaires”, PAP), which would help translate the focus of the PND into strategic objectives supported by programmes aimed at “structural transformation of the economy to lead to a sustained and inclusive growth”. Spending forecasts for the PAP for 2018-2027 have been developed with a high priority to the sectors that are considered levers of economic growth and the basic social sectors.

More than 8% of the total budget of the PND is allocated to water and sanitation, a manifold increase in the allocation. A dedicated inter-ministerial commission is currently working on an implementation strategy for the PND – this strategy is expected to be ready by the end of 2019. The table below presents the main plans of the PND pertaining to water and sanitation, the implementation of these plans through objectives and programmes, and the costs involved.










To ensure that no one is excluded from access to services and in keeping with the principle of solidarity included in the water law, the sector Ministry has adopted a Pro-Poor Strategy. This Strategy guides the realization of the government’s wish while also defining the measures to be taken at the national level and by partners, to enable the poorest households having access to improved water and sanitation services and thereby, improving their living conditions.

Institutionalizing & Sustaining progress

The political will that has succeeded in raising the priority of WASH, to be recognized as a key factor of economic growth, will ensure that the necessary funding is raised. Each of these priority sectors will be regularly evaluated by a national committee, to ensure that the planned activities are funded and undertaken. Thus, the ministry responsible for water and basic sanitation is currently working on estimating the available funding from government and partners; this analysis will be presented to the highest political decision-makers in the country and a high-level advocacy will be carried out to fill any gaps between the funding necessary for the planned activities and the funds that are really available.


Together, the following four factors will promote rapid progress in the sector
(i) strong commitments from the highest political levels, including from the Head of State himself;
(ii) leadership from the Minister in charge of the sector;
(iii) increased political priority for the sector; and
(iv) the other sector elements, such as solid institutional structure (5 institutions in charge of the sector, each with a clear role), sector policies and strategies like the National Sanitation Policy (PNA) and National Water Policy (PNEau), national water strategy, national sanitation strategy, national CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) implementation strategy, the Pro-poor strategy; and specialized agencies such as the institution responsible for regulating the sector, and the Principal Inspector of WASH.


Burundi's engagement within SWA

Burundi participated in the 2019 Sector Ministers’ Meeting (SMM) and was represented by H. E. Côme Manirakiza, Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines, and the Director-General for Drinking water and basic sanitation (DGEPA). This participation allowed Burundi to reiterate its success in increasing the political priority of the sector, and to inform and inspire other SWA partners. The country also discussed its main challenges towards achievement of the PND 2018 – 2027 and the SDGs. After the SMM, a meeting report was written and sent by the Minister to the 2nd Vice-President. In addition, a debriefing of the SMM is done in all sector and partner meetings (e.g. during the joint mid-term evaluation workshop with UNICEF, in the periodic sector meetings on WASH emergencies, and during different inter-ministerial meetings).

As part of the SWA’s Mutual Accountability Mechanism, Burundi tabled three commitments linked to key policy documents that guide the WASH sector, notably the PND 2018 – 2027. Therefore, Burundi’s work within the SWA will help the country translate the higher political priority into progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and towards ensuring the monitoring and reporting of this progress. This will be done through the Mutual Accountability Mechanism and the country’s engagement in other SWA mechanisms like the High-Level Meetings.


For more information: Download Burundi’s Country Brief, which describes in detail the context and process of increasing the political priority to the water and sanitation sector, as well as the elements that will help build progress on the foundation of this increased priority.

Also, you can read the full version of this story in English and French.