The Best Practice workshop
The USAID funded East Africa Trade and Investment Hub has organized a three-day Best Practice workshop for the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API) staff as a part of its capacity building programme being provided to the East Africa Investment Agencies.
The workshop which took place in Bujumbura at the Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel started on August 30th ,2017 and was concluded on September 1st saw the effective participation of 11 API staff members.
The objectives of the workshop were to help API strengthens its promotion and facilitation capacities, thereby enhancing its staff’s abilities to attract high quality Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) that is aligned with its development agenda and investments promotion policies. The training focused on presenting best practices and tools used in investment promotion and facilitation to optimize conversion of opportunities to the actual investments. Participants earned enough skills that can be relied upon to attract more (FDI) such as conducting researches, elaborating secure and centralized database, and building the corporate Intelligence.
Mme Christine Ng’ang’a, the hub’s consultant
Christine Ng’ang’a, the hub’s consultant said that FDI have a significant importance as they bring development skills, jobs creation, technology transfer and increase the business linkages with local enterprises in the country. She advised the API staff to do their level best to improve their communication skills, to publish the Burundi investment opportunities in languages that are used by foreign investors, such as English and French in order to attract many FDI into Burundi. It was learnt that API should improve the content of its website and the communication with local, regional and international media.
The participants have also followed the Review of the World Investment Report 2017, the World Bank’s Global Investment Promotion Best Practices 2012, the case study of the Board of Investment of Mauritius and the Investment Facilitation Best Practice Highlights from the UNCTAD’s Investment Facilitation Review, Europe case study. Participants had to benchmark the Burundi’s API against the Mauritius ‘Board of Investment, particularly in as far as the conception of website is concerned. It was learnt that even though the Mauritius’ Board of Investment has very few resources, it is doing a good work.
It was also learnt that Multinational Enterprises (MNE) do not like to be leaving a country they have already entered into for another, thus foreign investors operating in Burundi should be considered as “kings” and handled with extreme care and facilitation so that they cannot quit. In the working groups, participants identified gaps and came out with propositions on how to tackle them in the context of the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority.
At the end of the workshop, participants said they are now knowledgeable on the link between FDI and economic growth. They have followed with much interests the case study of Mauritius where its Investment Promotion Board is doing a tremendous work in as far as investment promotion and facilitation is concerned. They have also elaborated an Action Plan including the obstacles to address the gaps. The workshop also assigned responsibilities for follow up.