Burundi: Construction Begins on Agri-Food Training Centre, With Funding by African Development Bank


On 26 October 2023 in Gitega, the East African Community, the Burundian government and the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) Country Office in Burundi officially launched the Agropastoral Entrepreneurship and Professional Development Project for Youth and Women.

The initiative will involve the construction of a regional polytechnic and vocational training centre in Rusi, in Karuzi Province, located approximately 50 kilometres from Gitega, the political capital of Burundi. The African Development Bank Group’s $20 million funding for the project represents 87% of its total cost.

Construction work on the centre was initiated by François Havyarimana, Minister of National Education and Scientific Research, and his colleague Gervais Abayeho, Minister for Youth, as well as Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, the Bank’s Education and Skills Development Division Manager for East Africa, and Pascal Yembiline, the Bank’s Country Office Manager in Burundi.

The centre will be built on a 156-hectare area of land, of which around 142 hectares will be set aside for agropastoral production. At least 2,000 students (30% of whom will be girls) will be trained there, and 3,000 cooperatives with 15,000 members (50% women) will benefit from capacity-building sessions held there. The project will also ensure that 10 digital centres spread across the country are connected to the Rusi centre, providing greater access to technical education.

“We’d like to pay tribute to the African Development Bank’s regular involvement in Burundi generally, and its investment in human capital in particular,” said Mr Havyarimana. “We’re delighted that the project aligns well with the ‘Burundi Vision Emerging Country 2040, Developed Country 2060’ document and with the National Technical Education Policy and Strategy (2022-2027).”

Minister for Youth Abayeho said: “the project is in keeping with the Burundian government’s priorities and responds to its vision of improving agricultural productivity and introducing new agri-food processing techniques. These steps will enable us to move towards a structural transformation of the economy and a diversification of sectors offering opportunities for Burundi’s young people, who make up 60% of the country’s population.”

Mr Yembiline of the African Development Bank thanked Burundi for involving the Bank in this large-scale vocational retraining programme, which aims to equip young people and women with the technical skills required for the country’s economy.

“This project comes at a time when the Bank has recently launched its Skills for Employability and Productivity in Africa Action Plan (2022-2025),” he said. “The goal of the plan is to bridge the skills gap within the scope of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital transformation towards the labour market.”

Source : Africa.com