Investment opportunities and Export diversification

Investment opportunities and Export diversification

On the 13th and 14th December 2018 the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) was honoured to welcome Mr. Tadesse Dadi SEGNI, UNIDO Regional Advisor under the UNIDO- ITPO (Investment and Technology Promotion Organisation). Based in Tokyo, the ITPO started the "African Advisory Programme" in the region with an objective to support the business activities of Japanese companies and enhance the flow of investment, trade and technology from Japan to target countries of Africa through three African Advisors based in Ethiopia, Algeria and Mozambique.

The aim of the visit was to identify the investment and trade potentials in Burundi, and design the way forward in attracting potential investors.

Recalling that Burundi is among the beneficiaries of the UNIDO regional program whose headquarters is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. SEGNI and the IPA-Burundi Management agreed on the need to proactively interact with UNIDO so that Burundi can take advantage of the ongoing investment and trade regional program.

Some of the urgent activities to undertake in the near future include the participation in the Delegate Programs, where Burundi will get opportunities to avail its most prominent investment opportunities. Likewise, Delegate Programs would grant participants opportunities for match-making with potential investors.

Mr. SEGNI has underscored the state of peace and stability in Burundi and was confident that the remarkable efforts in peace promotion will attract many of the partners in the ITPO program.

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From left to right: Mr Léonard SENTORE, Burundi Investment Promotion Authority's CEO; Mr Jean Claude CIBOGOYE, Head of Division, Export Promotion at API; Mr Esaie NTIDENDEREZA, Head of Division, Investment Promotion at API and Mr. Tadesse Dadi SEGNI, UNIDO Regional Advisor.

For the purpose of fact finding, Mr. SEGNI, under the protocol of Mr. Esaie NTIDENDEREZA and Mr. Jean Claude CIBOGOYE, both IPA officials has visited AFRITAN, one of the leading leather industries in Burundi, and CHRISTA FARM, a project pioneering flower farming and export in Burundi.

The two day-visit were interesting as they allowed the visitors to witness the real potentials in the afore mentioned sub sectors.

AFRITAN’s transforming efforts were pretty much appreciated for all the job achieved to add value to Burundi skins up to the wet blue stage.

However, Mr. Bède BEDETSE, AFRITAN General Manager feels that he needs support and partnership to increase the value addition. Considering that the average price for a dozen wet blue skin is less than 40$, while a small hand-bag manufactured in leather can cost up to 1,000 $, it is obvious that there is need to improve technology and know-how in order to maximise the value of the leather industry by farther processing until the stage of finished leather products.

AFRITAN has installed lines for shoe-making, but the unit is still to be promoted to the national, regional and international market.

It is in that regard that the ITPO program would be relevant and useful for AFRITAN. In fact, the potential in leather is sufficient enough to attract partners and technology transfer to upgrade the efforts on the grounds.

Unido2The visit of the delegation to the AFRITAN leather tannery

As for the flower industry, Mr. SEGNI was impressed to find out that the only flower farming project in Burundi was initiated and run by a woman. She grows a variety of flowers including “Heliconia Tropic”, “Heliconia Stricta”, “Alpinia”, “Tuberose” and is also doing trials of “Gypsophyla” and “Limonium”.

Ms. Christine NGARUKO, project promotor is currently exporting at auction her flowers to Russia and The Netherlands.

Selling at auction is still a challenging adventure because the flowers are being sold at lower prices, the promotor is praying for a state where she will be able to make direct export to clients, an option that is prone to higher prices that could relatively yield quick return on investment.

It should be noted that this ambition can only be fulfilled if her product is certified under technical standards that CHRISTA FARM has yet to meet. In that regards, ITPO program could help in capacity building with regards to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) so that flowers can be certified, competitive and finally sold under international norms.

As for the potential in flower sub-sector, Ms. Christine has indicated that Burundi ecosystem is exceptionally conducive for flower farming. She is confident with the quality of her flowers and its competitive capacity.

UnidoThe visit to Christa Farm flowers farming. From left to the right : Mr. JC CIBOGOYE, Mr. Tadesse Dadi SEGNI, Ms. Christine NGARUKO and Mr. Esaie NTIDENDEREZA

Mr. SEGNI has rounded up his visit in Burundi by meeting relevant key players from the public and private sectors including Mr. Jean Bosco NZORIRONKANKUZE, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Health; Mr. Serge BIRIZANYE, Director of Industrial Development branch within the Ministry of Trade; Mr. Audace NDAYIZEYE, Chairperson at the Burundi Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Mr. Fidèle MAFASHO, Country representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). He made a brief introduction about the UNIDO ITPO program and called upon representatives to actively play their role to make sure that Burundi is effectively part of the Burundi-Japan trade and investment program.