World Bank-led Burundi coffee privatisation challenged on human rights grounds

26 June 2013

In mid April UN special rapporteurs Olivier De Schutter and Cephas Lumina raised concerns about the World Bank-led privatisation of Burundi’s coffee industry and called for suspension of the policy pending a full human rights-based impact assessment. According to the UN experts privatisation of the industry could undermine livelihoods, since “coffee revenues represent the difference between food security and hunger for much of the population”. Despite this, they noted “worrying signs that the interests of coffee growers have been shut out of the reform process”. They urged that: “Institutional actors like the World Bank must support states in their attempts to reform key economic sectors in ways that do not expose vulnerable farmers and growers to the uncertainties of the market.”