IMF paints bleak picture for struggling Burundi

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Elias Biryabarema | NAIROBI

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its projection for Burundi’s economic growth this year to nil and projected just 0.1 percent in 2018.

It gave no specific reason for the 2017 revision from 2 percent, but Burundi has been suffering from a severe drought like much of the wider region.

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The poor, central African nation’s economy has also been battered by almost two years of political instability triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.

He secured re-election in July 2015 but some of his opponents who insist extension of his rule violated the country’s constitution

The government has said it expects the economy to expand by 2.9 percent this year after shrinking in 2016.

But continuing instability has forced Burundi to rely on modest revenues from coffee and tea exports for foreign exchange after some western donors who blame the government for not acting to end the violence suspended aid.

Burundi faces foreign exchange shortage as aid dries up, crisis grinds on

(Writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Duncan Miriri/Jeremy Gaunt)

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