Burundi Trade Fair

The Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API) organized a three day (10-12th November) exhibition, highlighting the benefits of the investment code for investors. The 10-12 November trade fair was the first of its kind.-By Diane Uwimana

Exhibitors showing their products to the visitors ©Iwacu

Exhibitors showing their products to the
visitors ©Iwacu

The fair is organized to inform the public about achievements made by certified manufacturers. “We also want to give an opportunity to investors to partner with Burundian enterprises”, says Antoine Kabura, the Director of API.
“At the end of this exhibition, we expect to inform the public and sensitize them on our activities, achievements, the functioning of API and in specific the advantages of the investment code such as access to markets, capital transfer, tax advantages, freedom of establishment, business environment, work permits, property ownership, etc.”
At the exhibition, different products were found at ‘Palais des Arts et de la culture’ -where the event took place- including tea, flour, bread, iron sheet, clothes, newspapers, cement and soap. About 30 tents representing 30 manufacturers were present.

Participants were delighted with the event. “It is a great opportunity for us to show our products. It will attract more clientele”, says Sandrine Munezero, who works for Afritextile, a local company which produces the traditional ‘Kitenge’ cloth. She goes on sayingthat many people thought that the towel and clothes industry didn’t exist in Burundi any more since the former Cotebu manufacturing society went bank rupt.

“We have reduced the price for this trade fair, because we want to advertise our products”, says Munezero. A piece of Kitenge sold at the market at an estimated amount of BIF 18.000 was reduced to BIF 14.000.
Antoine Kabura, Director of API, mentions that about 5092 enterprises opened since the creation of API in 2010, of which 291 have received the certificate for the investment code advantages. “These manufacturers have an estimated turnover of BIF 1 178 bn and created 15 191 jobs”, Kabura claims.
He highlights the sharing of experiences, legal advice, suggestions and recommendations during the different workshops organized by API and other institutions.

However, entrepreneurs mention that some challenges still constraint heir activities. “In the Reviewed Finance Law 2014, two advantages are deleted such as tax credit and VAT on imports. We hope that these two elements are restored in the 2015 budget”, one of the participants from Buceco cement company, points out.
Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza, Minister of Finances indicates that Burundi belongs to many regional and sub-regional communities. Investors must compete with others in these organizations -mainly EAC- in terms of economic growth and business climate. “We ensure that after sharing experiences and learning from the trade fair, investorswill produce more”, he states.
Certified Manufacturers at the fair include entrepreneurs in agro-business, infrastructure, industries, mining, tourism and the social sector. Investors from the EAC and beyond attended the exhibition.