BUJUMBURA, November 17th (ABP) – The secretary general of the CNDD-FDD party, Révérien Ndikuriyo and the Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Marie Chantal Nijimbere, organized, on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, in Bujumbura, an exchange meeting for experts and actors from the public and private sectors, with a view to exploring ways and means of promoting and diversifying exports.
According to Mr. Ndikuriyo, for the country to be emerging in 2040 and developed in 2060, all Burundians must strengthen the business climate in all sectors and fight against fraud, adding that taxes must contribute to the development of the country.
Furthermore, according to him, energies must be channeled into planting coffee, cotton and tea which bring a lot of foreign currency into the country.
The secretary general of the CNDD-FDD party took the opportunity to call on the experts and stakeholders present to work in synergy and export products made in Burundi to the international market so that foreigners can like products made in Burundi. It’s another way to have foreign currency, he said, without forgetting the tourism sector which must be supported.
For her part, Minister Nijimbere indicated that Burundi is a country with an open economy and integrated by the economic, regional, continental and global communities. On this, she underlined, it is possible to increase the exportable supply, by developing value chains with comparative advantage and by facilitating access to financing for exporting producers, in quality and quantity.
Minister Nijimbere recalled that coffee farming presents many opportunities on the international market. She invited all Burundians to invest a lot in the field of coffee agriculture to export a sufficient quantity and obtain a lot of foreign currency. In addition, tea plantation is also very profitable because it brings in 46 thousand dollars per year. Exports of Brarudi products also bring in around 20 billion BIF, as does tobacco, she explained.
To that end, the minister cited certain factors which prevent Burundians from winning international markets. These include the lack of laboratories, the low level of negotiation of Burundian investors, the lack of entrepreneurial spirit and illegal cross-border trade.
To remedy this, the minister asked the government of Burundi to support investors and technically strengthen the Burundi Standardization Bureau and provide it with a special laboratory to properly control products manufactured in our country.
During the presentation, Dr. Willy Marcel Ndayitwayeko who spoke on the theme “Burundian agriculture, how to make it a key sector to export diversification”, indicated that the trade sector remains one of the pillars of the economy and the agricultural sector has the potential to contribute to the diversification of exports. Currently, the agricultural sector is characterized by minimal quantities of traditional exports based mainly on coffee and tea.
To that end, he cited certain strengths and weaknesses found in the exports of agricultural products in Burundi. Regarding the assets, he cited in particular the diversity of artistic products from agriculture, Lake Tanganyika, regional integration and bilateral and multilateral agreements for access to foreign markets, the favorable environment for favorable agriculture for tropical fruits as well as abundant and cheap labor.
Concerning the weaknesses, he took up those mentioned by Minister Nijimbere to which he added the challenges of the agri-food industry in Burundi, namely the conservation of agricultural products, the problem of access to medium and long term financing with reasonable interest rates, the lack of skills and mastery of agri-food technology at the national level as well as low agricultural production.
According to him, the means of promoting and diversifying exports to the international market are, in particular, the identification of markets, the use of diplomatic services, commercial facilitation throughout the product value chain, the strengthening of synergy between the ministry in charge of agriculture, the ministry in charge of trade and the OBR, the training of expert negotiators in terms of trade as well as the strengthening of the private sector.
During the discussions, participants agreed on the urgency of investing in the agri-food industry, particularly processing, conservation and quality control infrastructures to access international markets.