26 February 2013

Burundi: Time to Invest in Burundi Is Now

editorial

Recently, Burundi has been on the receiving end of the investment club for the right reasons. This kind of reaction has also caught the eye of the World Bank and IMF

Burundi has been one of the few countries that have gone to Geneva with a budget and come away with more they had asked for. In itself, this is remarkable, considering that Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and still has a ways to go to catch up with the rest of the East African Community (EAC) region.

And catch up Burundi has, in many ways and it has also overtaken other countries in the process. For starters, Burundi has won the best exhibitors award two times in a row. This is inspite of not having a high-class tourism network or pedigree.

Then, Burundi has been consistent in reforming the business climate and has also been lauded as the best reformer in Africa. By so doing, Burundi has opened her doors to investment and is fast becoming the new kid on the block as far as attracting investment.

Burundi has also taken huge steps to become a sustainable economy by streamlining and modernising her revenue collection with the creation of it's revenue authority OBR. This has given her the edge over her siblings in the region so that she is now the best performer in revene collection.

For a long time, Burundi has been a war-zone and this has been the biggest deterrent to investment and development. No one wanted to go to Burundi. However, it is now possible to catch a plane from Bujumbura to Europe, setting of at 3:00 am in the morning, a feat that was previously impossible.

Several companies have also become very interested in what lies below the ground in Burundi with several of them doing mining exploration and now drilling for oil. So far, Burundi has been proven to have large reservers of nickel which is now being exploited. There are several other reserves of minerals which are in various stages of exploitation.

All this would has however been let down by Burundi's electricity sector which has always been lagging behind consumption. With a currently proven capacity of 300MW, Burundi should have enough power for industrialisation.

With the World Bank and other agencies weighing in, Burundi is set to build a 50MW dam to address the power discrepancies. This, coupled with an improvement in the investment climate is enough to make Burundi the next kid on the block in investment destination terms.

Burundi now has to concentrate on other issues like infrastructure, both transport and communications, and sort out the issues of security once and for all and all she will have to do is keep her doors open and the investors will flood in.

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