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Burundi's Educational Initiative Gets Monetary Boost From France

In Burundi, the government’s initiative to provide free primary education has received a boost with a 6.1 million dollar grant from France. French foreign minister Philippe Blazy says the grant is also being offered to help strengthen security in the country. He praised Burundi’s transition from a bitter civil war to peaceful governance and said the country should serve as an example in the Great Lakes region, and to other conflict-prone countries.

Burundian government spokesman Karanga Ramadan told English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey ”The grant is in response to the request of the government of Burundi. Because in our five-year program, we have included in priority: education, health, good governance and security as a major issues of concern that the government of Burundi and the people of Burundi have to tackle. And for your information, in our budget, education has been allocated the biggest portion, followed by health. But I can also talk about the process of demobilization. So we hope that these funds would be used particular to that purpose”.

Talking about the peace and security in the country, Ramadan said,”The process of peace is already launched. The government of Burundi has been informed by the Tanzanian government, which normally is the facilitator in this peace talk of Burundi. That they got message from the wing of Rwasa Agathon of the palepehutu F-N-L that the group is willing now to talk to the government. And the government will be responding positively.”

Asked if Burundi is living up to its image as a democratic force in the Great Lakes region, Ramadan said ”First of all, we need to stick to the program we gave to the population during the campaign. And as I said, we have got priorities, which we need to deliver. In terms of security, as I said, people now are feeling that Burundi is now living out of the war fears and so on. And we are in the process of reconciliation. But we need also to create an environment, which will stabilize not only Burundi but the whole region. That is what we are doing”