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Government to support growth of private-sector partnerships between Uganda and Burundi - Hon. Judith Nabakooba

Thursday, 24th March 2022
Hon. Judith Nabakooba during the business forum held in Burundi. 23rd March 2022

Uganda and Burundi held a milestone business forum with an aim of stimulating bilateral trade and investment for economic growth and sustainable development. The forum was held in Bujumbura at the Source du Nil (Source of the Nile Hotel) on Wednesday 23rd March 2022. 

According to statistics, by 2021, Uganda's exports to Burundi were estimated at US$ 64.99 million, a 75% increase from US$ 37.03 million in 2019. On the other hand, Uganda's imports from Burundi were estimated at US$ 25.46 million in 2021. 

The business forum, which was attended by both the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Burundi, Hon. Marie Chantal Nijimbere, and the Minister of State for Agriculture of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Bwino Kyakulaga, aimed at identifying opportunities for trade and investment as well as provide a platform for businesses to share their experiences and create business to business networks across both counties.

Sectors of investment focused on included agro-processing, manufacturing, trade, transport, tourism, education, ICT, oil and gas, and minerals. 

In her remarks, Hon. Judith Nabakooba said Uganda and Burundi have a long history of business and trade, though largely informal. However, she added, disruptions to the trade occasioned by political realities and unexpected shocks specifically the Covid-19 pandemic, have negatively affected business between the two countries.

The Minister pointed out that in 2012, Uganda's exports to Burundi stood at US$ 92 million up from US$ 82 million just three years prior, in 2009. Imports from Burundi to Uganda stood at US$ 2.8 million in 2012 up from US$ 0.8 million in 2009. She referenced published statistics, to portray the potential that exists for both countries.

Hon. Nabakooba implored forum attendees to lift their scope of investment and focus on agro-processing, steel, and cement for construction, besides trade. She stated that both Governments of Burundi and Uganda are fully committed to assisting the private sector to grow business partnerships between the two countries. Testament to this was provided by the May 2021 state visit of H.E. President Evariste Ndayishimiye to Uganda, where together with his host H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, reiterated their commitment to trade and gave instructions to their respective Governments to do all that is possible to assist the Private Sector grow Trade and Investment.

The Minister noted that both countries share borders with the DRC, which itself is a very big market. She requested the business community to take full advantage of the benefits of the recent development of the DRC joining the East African Community.

Hon. Nabakooba mentioned the ongoing JPC at the Kiriri Garden Hotel in Burundi and expressed confidence that challenges of trade will be identified and conclusively resolved in that platform.