Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza officially launching the Trade Fair in Bujumbura on 13/June/2019. PHOTO|FILE: Burundi State House.

The second edition of the Burundi manufactures and trade fair was officially opened this Thursday in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, the fair was launched by president Pierre Nkurunziza at Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika.

While addressing the participants’ president Nkurunziza reiterated the country’s intention in establishing an industrial platform to create employment for the youth, “the National Development Plan is very clear on this subject…we want an industry that respects international environmental requirements on the one hand and adds value to employment and economic growth on the other.”

The trade fair was organized by Burundi Association of Industrialists “AIB” in collaboration with various national and international partners including TradeMark East Africa, with the aim of promoting the industrial enterprises in Burundi and in the East African Community (EAC).

While visiting the stands of the exhibition organized on the sidelines of the industrial fair, Burundi president recommended next year’s exhibitors to come up with job opportunities the youths in addition to goods and services sold to them.

The three day trade fair brings together stakeholders from the industrial sector in Burundi and the EAC partner states, “this event seeks to promote and create development in Burundi’s industrial sector,” said Olivier Suguru the chairman of AIB.

According to the latest figures released by the East African Business Council (EABC), Burundi’s trade with the East African Community member states declined by 4.1% ($162 million) in 2017 from 169 million in 2016. The regional business council indicated that the decline of the country’s trade with member states is as a result of decline in volume of both imports and exports.

In 2017 Uganda and Kenya were the main destinations of Burundi’s exports accounting for 41% and 34% of total intra EAC domestic exports respectively, the key commodities included coffee, soap and oil seed.

The country’s domestic exports to member states shrunk by 23% ($9.5 million) in 2017 from $12 million in 2016, the East African Trade and Investment report 2019 indicated the decline was attributed to the fall in both volumes and value of soap and oil seed exported to Rwanda and Tanzania.

Despite a decline in the intra-regional trade, Burundi’s international trade increased by 19% ($905 million) in 2017 from $760 million recorded in 2016, Burundi’s major trade partners in 2017 were EAC, European Union, China and India.

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