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The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, on the agenda of the Cabinet Meeting


Aug 14, 2023

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, on the agenda of the Cabinet Meeting

BUJUMBURA August 14th (ABP) – Cabinet Members met on Wednesday August 9, 2023, in Gitega, under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

According to the press release read by the secretary general and government spokesman, Mr. Prosper Ntahorwamiye, among the files analyzed are the national strategy for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF).

The agreement establishing the aims to make Africa’s integration a reality, serving as an engine of economic growth, industrialization and sustainable development in Africa. Burundi ratified the agreement establishing the ZLECAF on June 17, 2021.

The ZLECAF implementation strategy is part of Burundi’s efforts to seek trade performance and facilitate trade between Burundi and its African partners.

To be able to take advantage of the privileges and advantages of the ZLECAF, Burundian investors must ensure that their production involves processing or sufficient added value.

Burundi should seek to revitalize the productive sector, increase its export potential and create an environment conducive to domestic and foreign investment.

This strategy is based on four interventions, namely, national ownership of the ZLECAF agreement, diversification of exportable supply and goods markets, and improvement of the quality of infrastructure in the service sector, capacity building for the entrepreneurial production of women and young people.

Regarding funding, the overall budget necessary for the implementation of that strategy is estimated at ten million eighty-two thousand dollars (10,992,000 USD).

After discussion and debate, the strategy was adopted with the main observations and recommendations.

The strategy does not clearly define the concrete actions to be taken in order to enable Burundi to have products in sufficient quantity and quality to sell to ZLECAF member countries. Burundi must prepare to manage the effects of ZLECAF and each ministry must determine and take ownership of the actions that concern it. The ministry responsible for trade must collaborate with the other ministries to benefit from their contributions on the actions to be carried out, especially since the strategy is transversal. It is also necessary to reflect deeply on the industrialization plan of Burundi so that the country can have finished and diversified products for export to the member countries of ZLECAF. The State should provide more support to small and medium-sized enterprises so that they increase production. It is necessary to determine the products for which Burundi can request protection against competition. The strategy must be aligned with the vision of the government of Burundi, “an emerging country in 2040 and a developed country in 2060”. This strategy must show positive and significant impacts for the country, through measurable results in terms of increased exports and reduced imports. Burundi should participate in the various ongoing and future negotiations on the products to be protected and involve members of the private sector in the technical team responsible for conducting the negotiations.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Equipment and Social Housing will provide support, during the integration of those observations and others that could be sent by various ministries.