Burundi bemoans UK's 'sad, sad' decision to close aid office | Clar Ni Chonghaile

From Aid | The Guardian Fri Dec 7 2012, 07:00:01

The closure of the UK Department for International Development's office is lamented in Bujumbura - and in London

In the tiny African nation of Burundi, one of the world's poorest countries, Britain's decision to close its development arm's country office and end bilateral aid has left people smarting, and scratching their heads.

The Department for International Development (DfID) no longer has an office in the capital, Bujumbura, a small city where electricity is intermittent in most quarters. Last year, Britain gave £13.7m to Burundi - 3.6% of all the African country's aid - mainly for projects related to education, health, access to justice, and regional economic integration.

Christian Nkengurutse, the secretary general of Burundi's chamber of commerce, said his members were shocked by DfID's decision. "The difference when a donor is present ... is clear. You can feel it," he said, pointing to the example of the African Development Bank, which opened an office in Bujumbura this year. "We can feel the ADB in our activities now."

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