Letter to Burundi

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Elsa Marina Syvine is the winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition from Burundi Elsa Marina Syvine is the winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition from Burundi

This is one of 38 winning blogs from the 2021 Blog4Dev competition, the World Bank Africa annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. Blog4Dev winners responded to the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?

Hello, my dear little country. I write to you at a time when you have been battered by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health crisis, which will certainly lead to a setback in terms of the development work done not only by you, but also by your other neighbors and brothers, such as Kenya and Uganda.

As one of your countless children, I have thought about you and would like to propose a few solutions. May I?

My first suggestion is based on the fact that, by cutting off our interactions, COVID-19 has indeed forced us to develop on our own. Let us, therefore, take up the challenge! How about shifting the focus to agriculture once more? And let us begin with small steps. Young people and the government can lend their full support to small- and medium-scale farmers so that they can at least meet the food needs of the local population , with the surplus being exported to other countries.  If we act on this right now, we will have scored two victories!

My second suggestion is to promote domestic tourism. How do we do this? There are many persons, whether or not Burundi nationals, who live in Burundi and would like to travel the country and explore the unknown: history buffs who dream of visiting the tombs of kings and the necropolises of queen mothers! The funds from this project would be used to revive the sectors (such as tourism) hardest hit by COVID-19 here in Burundi.

My beautiful country, are you not convinced? Let me continue…

My third suggestion is that the government pass a law, publicly authorizing young people (or anyone who is interested) to work around the clock, with safety guarantees being offered.

This would get us out of the economic slump created by COVID-19 in a few years. Once the government has provided safety guarantees, young people will then have to form groups and come up with the most innovative ideas that can provide remuneration or opportunities.

My fourth suggestion is that you develop the motivation to participate in initiatives such as AfCFTA, which will create new opportunities for you and pave the way for progress.

My fifth suggestion is to invest in education.  Indeed, the more educated people are, the more skillfully they manage crisis situations.

Public and private enterprises should begin offering compensation that is not only monetary, but also creates the opportunity for different kinds of internships, forums, and training that provide adequate grounding for those young people who need it!

So, Burundi, is this not a way to get back on your feet? Although you have been weakened by this scourge, your young people offer a path to revival.

Singapore has bounced back and so can you! Be a phoenix; rise from your ashes!

Learn to stand, walk, and run again.  You will certainly fly one day….

Good luck!

Signed by someone who cares deeply about you

Elsa Marina Syvine is the 2021 Blog4Dev winner from Burundi. See the full list of 2021 Blog4Dev winners here, and read their blog posts.


Elsa Marina Syvine

Winner of the 2021 Blog4Dev competition from Burundi

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