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Burundi: Overseas Aid

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid his Department is providing to build capacity in Burundi, with particular reference to assistance to the parliamentary authorities in that country. (248613)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and development partners in Burundi to help build state capacity in the health, education and justice sectors. For example, within the education programme which will provide £6 million over three years, we are strengthening the ministry's capacity for policy making and management of the education system. Technical assistance to the Ministry of Finance and our health and education sector programmes all include components to strengthen the government's public financial management and procurement capacity.

With regard to parliamentary strengthening, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes is planning to visit Burundi in February 2009 to provide support to a cross-party group of MPs through an FCO-sponsored workshop, which will also strengthen ties between our two parliaments. DFID is complementing capacity-building support to the Burundian parliament, provided by other donors, through our £6 million over six years Joint Governance Programme with the Swedish International Development Agency. This aims to reinforce other institutions important for transparency and accountability—the media, civil society, oversight institutions—by building their capacity to scrutinise government action. This should help create a more conducive environment for parliament to play its role.