Exporters to cement footprint in Burundi

Local businesses target to strengthen their presence in Burundi to gain from the country’s young and emerging consumer market. A group of 40 producers, particularly the agro-processors, plan to exhibit their products in Bujumbura from March 21.
Workers packing maize at Minimex. Agro-processors want to strengthen their presence in Burundi The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.
Workers packing maize at Minimex. Agro-processors want to strengthen their presence in Burundi The New Times/Timothy Kisambira.

Local businesses target to strengthen their presence in Burundi to gain from the country’s young and emerging consumer market.

A group of 40 producers, particularly the agro-processors, plan to exhibit their products in Bujumbura from March 21.

The Rwandan traders are also expected to create partnerships with their Burundi counterparts. The exhibition is supported by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Private Sector Federation.

“The initiative is expected to create a large market for Rwandan products in Burundi,” Diane Sayinzoga, the manager of trade development division at RDB, said yesterday.

“RDB will cover the cost of transporting 100 kilogrammes of each trader’s products, besides easing the goods’ movement to Bujumbura by issuing the transporters with border passes,” she added.

Burundi is a top destination of Rwandan products, with exports to Burundi through the Gasenyi-Nemba border hitting Rwf 1.7b in 2011.

The weeklong exhibition dubbed, “Rwanda Business Week” is expected to be officiated by the Burundian First Vice-President, Terense Sinunguruza.

Traders commended the development, noting that promoting regional trade boosts local businesses.

“This is a chance to market our products…I am glad that some of the main costs were met by the government,” Esperance Kanani, the president of Women Importers and Exporters Network, said.

Burundi’s manufacturing sector is the smallest in the region compared to its growing population of over 8.7 million people. Rwandan exporters want to fill the gap.

“I am optimistic that once I establish a sustainable supply chain in Burundi, i will become big there,” Antoine Hategekimana, the director general of Codetrapanya, a juice and wine processor, said.

Trade between the two countries has over the years received massive support, including the establishment of a one-stop border post at the Gasenyi-Nemba border in Bugesera District in 2012, which reduced non-tariff barriers.

Figures from the Rwanda Revenue Authority indicate that between 800 and 1,000 Burundi nationals cross to Rwanda every week for business.

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