(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

A statement by the IMF Executive director for Burundi says that COVID-19 is having an adverse economic impact on Burundi, creating exceptional fiscal and balance of payments needs.

“The IMF’s debt service relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust will free up public resources to help address the pandemic, the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, they said the statement.

The authorities are committed to using the additional resources to address the COVID pandemic in a transparent manner and have committed to undertake and publish an ex-post audit of COVID-related spending’“, they added.

The pandemic is affecting Burundi through an evolving domestic outbreak and economic spillovers from the global and regional environment, including from the containment measures introduced in trading partners and neighboring countries.

The pandemic has also created a fiscal financing need of 6.9 percent of GDP, which will need to be met mainly from external sources.

For IMF, Burundi should consider “reprioritizing fiscal spending for health and other priority social spending as needed”.

The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing economic challenges and creates significant external financing needs in 2020 and 2021, mainly as a result of lower exports, elevated imports needs, and reduced remittances inflows.

The pandemic has also created sizable fiscal financing needs, which will have to be met mainly from external sources.

Unlike his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, who many observers view as cold-blooded, the newly elected leader Evariste Ndayishimiye has not been linked with the recent abuses carried out by the CNDD-FDD on its perceived critics.

He is expected to open up Burundi to the outside world. Mainly EU and USA partners.

Burundi enjoys already strong ties with China, Russia, and Canada.