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Commissioner Piebalgs to launch new food security and energy projects during his visit to Burundi

During a two-day visit to Burundi (21-22/02), EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will announce an €18 million new project on food security for the benefit of around 20 000 households and to treat 80 000 undernourished children in the country. He will also launch a second project, worth €50 million, to provide access to sustainable energy for a million of Burundi's citizens, particularly for those living in rural areas.

Commissioner Piebalgs said "We cannot forget about the biggest scourge of our times – child hunger. In Burundi, the current level of chronic malnutrition rate of 58% of children under 5 is one of the highest in more than two decades. EU aid is an important instrument to achieve a hunger-free world and I am determined to help families and children in Burundi, so that they also can have a chance for more decent life".

The initiative will aim to improve access to quality agricultural products such as seeds and fertilisers and by helping farmers to access markets (through improved storage, transformation and collection processes).

Another focus of Commissioner's visit will be energy. In Burundi, only 3.5% of people have access to electricity. Lack of access to energy remains a major brake to further development of the country. As Commissioner Piebalgs explained, "There can be no development without energy and, unfortunately, the energy situation in Burundi remains one of the worst in the world, with daily power cuts being experienced by most people."

For more information: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-130_en.htm

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