One of the first questions I get asked are what are the possible investment opportunities and in what sectors are ripe for trade? So we compiled a list of investment opportunities in Burundi:
The country has a number of top class hotels in Bujumbura, on the edge of Lake Tanganyika and Kiriri Hillthat overlooks the capital city. Although new hotels are being built in the country, hotel capacity is still very low and hotel sector remains under exploited, representing an opportunity for investors.
The impact of economic reforms is particularly palpable in the services sector in Burundi where the potential for increasing investment is great. Of all sectors, investment in the ICT sector is booming as this has proven to be the most open sector to FDI in recent years, particularly mobile telephony. Investment opportunities in services are increasingly facilitated by the entry of Burundi into the Eastern African Community (EAC), which (i) increases the market size, (ii) stimulates service diversification, and (iii) allows the country to establish itself as a sub–regional corridor. Indeed, strategically located at the interstices of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, Burundi could become a centre for transit trade in the sub–region.
In this context, the role of the IPA is important to promote this image of key transit centre to the investors’ community and to attract FDI in general services and facilities, such as construction, mechanics, repair activities, catering, distribution and hotel industry, which can meet the needs of economic actors in transit. In the longer term, the IPA could expand its activities to include legal services, management consulting to private firms and other ICT services.
The mining sector is a priority sector for the Burundi Government. Mining could considerably contribute to job creation, thus reducing pressure on agricultural employment, as well as to the diversification of the economy, have the effects of technology transfer and last but not least result in an increase of state revenue. Burundi’s mineral resources are varied but fairly modest, the main one being nickel. Mining is so far mainly traditional but industrial exploration licenses have been granted to foreign investors since 2007.
It is recommended that the Government clarify certain elements relating to mining and negotiations and align the new Mining Code with the investment environment and business codes currently under review. The government is currently preparing a new Mining Code.
With regards to the mining sector
- The country is full of many natural resources: nickel, cassiterite, colombo tantalite, gold, phosphates, limestone, slate, and hydrocarbons
- Exploitation is still hand–crafted, therefore an opportunity for potential investors
- Some mining conventions exist for research of nickel and gold
- The mining market remains open
- A study on the development of the mining sector is on–going
While the industrial sector could definitely become more competitive and diversified, the government is still very present. The export potential for this sector mainly lies in sub–regional markets and opportunities exist, among others, in the agro–industrial sector.
Some non–exhaustive examples to explore :
- Production, packaging, marketing of agricultural equipment and inputs
- Production of fruits and vegetables
- Packaging and transport
- Research and development on the conservation of agricultural foodstuffs
- Agri-food transformation industry (rice, cereals, etc.)
- Fertilizer plants (phosphates in the north of the country)
- Cement plants (raw materials available in the northeast)
- Textile industry
- Tea Factories in the South of the country (there are 4500 ha of land adequate for the cultivation of tea)