Wednesday 25th August 2021:- EABC CEO Mr. John Bosco Kalisa joined Chairman Muzaneza Antoine of the Association of Burundi Traders (ACOBU) to the Burundi -Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Katumba- Kavivira border to assess the free movement of goods, services and people.
In his remarks, EABC CEO commended the Government of Burundi for facilitating trade to unlock the great economic potential of Burundi.
On his part Chairman Muzaneza Antoine said that the Democratic Republic of Congo has applied to join the East African Community and the business community is committed to working together to realize the benefits availed by the EAC Common Market.
Mrs. Kitumaini Bagula Esperance representing women cross-border traders of the Democratic Republic of Congo urged the East African Business Council to advocate for harmonization and reduction of the high COVID-19 test charges at the borders to enable women, cross-border traders, to have enough capital to run their businesses.
Currently, the COVID-19 test charge is USD.30 per day and for each time women, cross-border traders cross into Burundi and USD.5 dollars for Burundi cross-border traders entering into DRC via the Katumba- Kavivira border. Other challenges facing traders include physical verification of goods which causes delay increasing the cost of doing business.
Katumba-Kavivira border is a vibrant trade route for small cross-border traders but has been highly impacted by COVID-19 and the floods of River Rusizi and Lake Tanganyika.
Mr Kalisa commended the Government of the Republic of Burundi for kick starting the industrial park set to attract more investors into Burundi.
Mr. Kalisa also visited the Port of Burundi. He said that “Lake Tanganyika has great potential to economically transform and interlink the EAC region to other regional economic communities and markets.” He also stated that Lake Tanganyika is an attractive tourist destination.
He noted that the COVID-19 has disrupted global and regional value chains impacting international trade and reducing warehouse receipts.
Chairman Muzaneza said that currently, a container import from China takes up to 6 months to reach the port of Burundi due to global disruptions and COVID-19 related Non-Tariff barriers that continue to affect business operations. He urged for strengthening of regional value chains and improvement of infrastructure for business resilience and recovery.
Mr. Kalisa urged for improvement of the Bujumbura Airport and reduction of COVID-19 test charges from the current USD.100 to USD.50 in order to reduce waiting delays to passengers and attract more tourists from the EAC region and beyond to the country.
The East African Business Council in partnership with the Association of Burundi Traders (ACOBU) urges the Government of the Republic of Burundi to champion:
- Reduction and harmonization of COVID-19 charges at the Katumba- Kavivira border and the airport.
- Simplified trade regime for women cross border traders
- Strengthening regional value chains and improve transport infrastructure
- Adopt digital tools to facilitate trade at the borders and ports
- Improvement water transport infrastructure to link the Burundi and EAC countries
- Adoption of Open Skies
- Blue economy
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa
Chief Executive Officer, East African Business Council (EABC)
9th Floor Mafao House | Old Moshi Road | Arusha | Tanzania
P. O. Box 2617 | Tel: +255 27 2520162
EABC – The Voice of the Private Sector in East Africa
About East African Business Council: The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 6 East African countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment. The primary mission is to promote sustainable private sector driven in the EAC.