BUJUMBURA September 18th (ABP) – The Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere, revealed, with optimism, that the engagement of the private sector in the process of integration into the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAF), will allow Burundi to achieve the expected objectives of the vision of the Head of State Evariste Ndayishimiye: emerging Burundi in 2040 and developed in 2060.
It was said on Wednesday September 13, 2023, in Bujumbura, during the solemn opening of the 5th edition of the Burundi Economic Summit 2023 organized by the , Centre for Development and Enterprises in the Great Lakes (CDE Great Lakes), in partnership with the Development Agency of Burundi and the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burundi (CFCIB), under the theme “Private sector, pillar of economic emergence”.
First of all, Minister Nijimbere indicated that the government of Burundi is working on reforms aimed at improving the business climate to attract more foreign direct investment.
To that end, she specified that achieving the expected results requires the support of all stakeholders, including the private sector community of Burundi, with a view to strengthening and structurally transforming the Burundian economy to strong, sustainable, resilient, inclusive growth, creating decent jobs for all and aiming to improve social well-being.
“The economic opening of our country through regional and continental free trade areas gives us more opportunities for Burundian companies to benefit from regional integration into economic communities,” noted Mrs. Nijimbere. Furthermore, she indicated that the national strategy for integration into the ZLECAF recently adopted by the government, shows that Burundi will be able to benefit from a market of 1.42 billion consumers, presenting more than 27 billion dollars of cumulative GDP.
Minister Nijimbere noted that this added value will be achieved through the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, in order to promote the facilitation of trade and create a favorable environment for business.
Thus, she continued to say, to benefit from the privileges and advantages of the ZLECAF, the private sector community must ensure that its production involves sufficient transformation or added value on the one hand, and on the other hand, ensure that the productive sector is dynamic, with a view to increasing export potential.
She did not forget to emphasize that the effective integration of Burundi into the ZLECAF requires national ownership of the agreement on this free trade area, the diversification of the exportable offer and the goods markets as well as improving the competitiveness of national businesses, developing the supply and improving the quality of basic infrastructure and finally, building the entrepreneurial capacities of women and young people who represent more than 60% of the Burundians.
In the same line of ideas and in accordance with the theme chosen for this year, International Consultant Hicham EL MOUSSAOUI from the Moroccan Think-Tank, who provided a moralizing session under the theme “What strategy to make the private sector a lever of emergence of Burundi”, cited Haussmann-Pritchett-Rodrik (2004) emphasizing that the private sector can only initiate a dynamic of emergence if the country in question pursues good economic policies (supply policy) and has quality institutions.
It is worth recalling, for all practical purposes, that the Burundi Economic Summit 2023 was attended by the members of the government, former members of the government, academicians, reformers, parliamentarians, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Burundi, business men and women, and many other development actors.