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Research Report

Reintegration in Burundi:: between happy cows and lost investments

Pyt Douma
with Jean Marie Gasana
Edited by Leontine Specker
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2008
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 45
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 10-13)

    This study constitutes Phase II of a broader study looking into the reintegration phase of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and was commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Phase I of this broader project provided an overview of key lessons learned and practical experiences based on existing evaluations and on a review of relevant documents.² Phase I served as input for two forthcoming policy frameworks developed by the MFA on DDR and on socio-economic post-conflict recovery. It addressed issues related to DDR processes as a whole as well as the R-phase in particular. The Burundi case study...

  2. (pp. 13-16)

    Under the umbrella of the MDRP, a number of Central African countries have implemented DDR programmes. At the individual country level, every country has been responsible for the establishment of national mechanisms for the supervision and implementation of the reintegration programmes. Therefore, crucially, individual African countries themselves are responsible for the streamlining and coordination of the national programmes. MDRP is a uniform programme financed by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank and bilateral donors, which have pledged funds for a trust fund. The World Bank coordinates the Trust Fund.

    In Burundi a national commission for DDR was established,...

  3. (pp. 16-19)

    The programme of reintegration started after a 15-month delay. Of the US$41.8 million earmarked for Burundi in the MDRP programme, only some US$20 million has actually been disbursed. The IDA provided additional funds to what was available through the World Bank MDRP programme. The total actually spent must have been around US$42 million for the reinsertion and reintegration packages of the 25,000 ex-combatants involved.

    The national mechanism responsible for implementing the reintegration trajectory is the Department of Integration within the ES of the NCDDR. At a lower level the ES has set up regional offices. Each of these regional offices...

  4. (pp. 20-22)

    In late 2005 the NCDDR issued a call for proposals for reintegration projects, but at that time DDR had become highly politicized and a limited group of NGOs only reluctantly decided to participate. At the end of 2005 CNDD had just been elected, and control of the NCDDR had shifted from FRODEBU to CNDD. CNDD strongman General Silas Ntigurirwa was appointed head of mission of the Executive Secretariat. Although the participating NGOs had been urged to speed up their proposals their contracts were not approved until September 2006, by which time the bulk of ex-combatants had already been waiting one...

  5. (pp. 22-26)

    In the urban areas, mostly comprising Bujumbura and its immediate suburbs, the reintegration programme dealt with fairly homogeneous groups of ex-combatants. The majority of the urban target groups concerned ex-CNDD-FDD and ex-FAB members. The war had resulted in the ethnic cleansing of specific suburbs, controlled by either Hutus or by Tutsis. In the Hutu-controlled suburbs most ex-combatants had served in various rebel movements. Owing to the intense fighting close to the capital, many found their houses had been destroyed and their families were affected, some having been killed, while others dispersed and had become refugees. In the immediate aftermath of...

  6. (pp. 26-27)

    Although the MDRP targeted individual ex-combatants, a number of associations have been established. The NCDDR’s ES lists some 132 associations involving ex-combatants. These associations are organized around concrete activities and with a precise aim. In Kamenge a collective bakery was set up, but most associations centred on agricultural activities or trade.

    Tentatively, from the few associations visited by the research team, it can be inferred that the associative approach does work, despite the fact that most are still at an embryonic stage. Important parameters for success seem to be the quality of leadership, availability and access to capital and the...

  7. (pp. 27-27)

    Very few ex-combatants chose to become craftsmen, although there were enough local providers eager to take on apprentices. There was little interest among the ex-combatants in vocational training and only a few of them opted for this (an estimated 5 per cent of the total caseload). Former child soldiers, however, showed more interest in skills training. Of the 3,016 child soldiers reintegrated to date, some 700 opted for vocational training (23 per cent), about 1,800 (60 per cent) opted for income-generating activities, and the remainder (500) returned to formal education.17 Typically, the ex-combatants or ex-child soldiers would be transported to...

  8. (pp. 28-30)

    The Burundian economy is not capable of absorbing 30,000 ex-combatants. Generally, the overall socio-economic context is not amenable to job creation. Everybody fears the upcoming elections and there is no trust among potential investors. There is a wait–and-see approach. There are very few possibilities of employment for ex-combatants in the private sector.

    To some entrepreneurs job creation for ex-combatants is first and foremost the responsibility of the state as it has trained and recruited the ex-combatants itself (through either the former FAB or the incumbent majority government party which used to be a rebel movement). The state should identify...

  9. (pp. 30-33)

    Overall, the provisional conclusion on reintegration is one of dismal failure. A large majority of ex-combatants benefited only temporarily from a stipend in cash or in kind, but were unable to organize a successful return to civilian life. Furthermore, the institutional structures and operational procedures were not appropriate to deal with a socio-economic reintegration programme of this magnitude.

    Although a small proportion of the ex-combatants opted for vocational training, the majority preferred taking a short cut to earning an income (AGR). The macro-socio-economic context of Burundi is not conducive to a smooth reintegration process. Many ex-combatants have opted for income-generating...

  10. (pp. 33-43)

    The army has become an instrument to retain people and to provide secure livelihoods because in the civilian world there are no viable alternatives. In 2002 around 50 per cent of the entire national budget was spent on the military and therefore it was absolutely necessary to find ways to lure people into demobilization. The large numbers of people staying in the army and the national police are a source of destabilisation and they weigh too heavily on the national budget. This is a time bomb because at present there is no real strategy on reintegration.

    However, if today the...