The Hub's accomplishments in Burundi to Date:
- To date the Hub has supported 13 firms and associations from Burundi to increase their export competiveness
- Supported the ratification of SPS Protocol
The Hub's assistance to Burundi
Burundi adopts draft law for East African Community Protocol on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
On June 22, Burundi’s National Assembly adopted draft law on the ratification of the East African Community Protocol on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures (EAC SPS Protocol) pursuant to Section 8 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act, 2012, essentially signaling the country’s approval of EAC SPS Protocol. This action followed a high-level awareness-raising meeting that the Hub convened in March 2017, in partnership with the Burundi Bureau of Standards and Quality Control. The meeting specifically aimed at raising awareness on EAC SPS Protocol and the need to support and fast track its ratification in the country.
The protocol harmonizes regional measures that align the EAC Partner States with each other and with global markets, ensuring easier trade. The measures seek to protect human and animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or disease causing organisms in their food. The measures, which also take into account plant life, seek to mitigate damage to a country from the entry, establishment or spread of pests, diseases or disease causing elements. The EAC SPS Protocol is expected to promote trade in food and agricultural commodities and strengthen the application of a harmonized approach for implementation of SPS measures and activities.
With the Parliaments ratification, the next stage will be to forward the protocol’s instruments of operation to the Ministry responsible for EAC affairs, and then to the EAC Secretariat. Burundi now joins Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as the EAC Partner States that have ratified the SPS Protocol.
Improving Burundi’s use of electronic notification systems for trade policy awareness and action
The Hub is supporting Burundi to meet its transparency obligations to World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements relating to SPS and technical barriers to trade (TBTs). In February 2017, the Hub trained Burundi officials on ePing, an electronic system that allows users to receive timely alerts and track and comment on measures being introduced by WTO members. It helps WTO members address potential trade problems at an early stage.
Strengthening trade and regional integration through advocacy and dialogue
Since August 2016, the Hub has reviewed 63 draft laws, regulations, and other administrative measures for compliance with the EAC Common Market Protocol. For non-compliant measures, the Hub has developed and disseminated reform memoranda to affected parties.
For example, the Hub conducted impact assessments on the following Burundi policies and recommended removal:
- Article 16 (2) of the law on organization of privatization of public companies states that in privatization of enterprises, a percentage of their ownership can be reserved for Burundians or companies with major shares held by Burundians. (Restricting local purchase by non-residents of states’ shares in the privatization of coffee sector in Burundi)
- The Hub recommended removing the clause that grants preferences to nationals. This will allow foreigners to bring in capital for increased coffee production, foreign exchange earnings and Burundian employment.
- Ban on passengers transport to and from Rwanda
- The impact assessment showed that the free movement of services, as per Burundi’s commitment under the EAC CMP, supports the cross-border transport sector in Burundi to develop and expand.
- Ban on export of groceries and foodstuff from Burundi to Rwanda
- This impact assessment showed how the measure has affected the price of different products in the market and how the measure led to the indebtedness of small producers who have contracted loans to finance their production.
Supporting regional grain trade
At the end of April 2017, the East African Standards Committee approved nine revised East
African Community (EAC) staple foods standards. Burundian stakeholders have taken an active role in the revision process. The Hub has been supporting the public review and drafting process for the harmonized standards through a grant to the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC). The standards for dry maize, wheat grain, dry beans, milled rice, soybeans, maize flour, wheat flour, sorghum flour and millet flour will now move forward for possible EAC adoption. Currently, the inconsistent application of staple foods standards impedes cross-border transactions and diminishes the need for farmers to invest in quality production. The gazettement of these standards will enhance EAC regional cross-border trade.
The Government of Burundi and the Burundian private sector have also taken an active role in the Hub and EAGC supported business-to-business (B2B) regional grain trade forums. Five Burundians participated in both the Lusaka, Zambia and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia events. The B2B events linked grain sellers and buyers in support of regional grain trade and the movement of surplus grain to areas of deficit.
Assessing Burundi’s investment climate -- Investment Policy Diagnostic Validation Workshop, April 2017
The Hub supported a validation workshop on an assessment of Burundi's investment policy in regards to investment entry, protection and exit. The report informs the best use of technical assistance for an improved Burundian investment climate.
Facilitating investment in Burundi
The Hub is helping Burundi Tea, a tea processing company with 10,000 farmers, to access funding for expansion into new markets and to improve its out grower model and tea quality. Burundi Tea currently sells their tea to international markets through the Mombasa tea auction. The proposed $4.6 million mixed equity and deb deal is at an early stage. The Hub is directly supporting the fundraising process with impact investors as opposed to return-focused private equity funds because of the high-risk investment climate in Burundi. The Hub expects to sign a term sheet within the next several months.
The Hub is building the capacity of Burundi’s investment promotion agency to secure more potential investments through project profiling. For Burundi, the capacity building training has and increased focus on risk mitigation strategies for investors.