Burundi traders trained on navigating cross-border obstacles


Conversation on market access has always been an interesting one. especially when it involves regional trade. A lot of factors come into play when this is mentioned. A lot of information is not readily available to players to make an informed decision with, whereas for the readily available information, players do not know about this fact.

The regional business body has noticed this and has organised a workshop to iron out some of these issues. They have rolled out this project in Burundi.


In partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the East African Business Council (EABC) and the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industries Burundi (CFCIB) and Association of the Traders of Burundi (ACOBU) are carrying out a workshop for trade practitioners in Burundi on the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

This workshop has been organized as part of the European Union-East African Community Market Access Programme (MARKUP), the event will take place in Kayanza Province, Burundi.

It comes hot in heels after successfully holding similar national events in Dar es salaam and Kilimanjaro-Tanzania, Nairobi and Mombasa-Kenya, and in Uganda the TFA workshop in Kayanza – aims to equip Burundi and, more broadly, East African local business-support associations and traders, with a comprehensive knowledge of the TFA with a view to identify obstacles to cross-border and advocate for their removal. The TFA workshops will also be held in Kigali-Rwanda, Zanzibar as well.

The training has been developed in response to persistent delays and red tape hampering the movement of goods across borders in East Africa. Among the members of the East African Community (EAC), inefficient trade procedures and non-tariff barriers represent an obstacle to expanded intra-regional trade and deepened regional integration. Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has thus become a key issue for the global trade system and for regional economic communities, such as the EAC, to create new opportunities for businesses that are operating in regional and international markets.

Also read: East Africa Business Council fast tracking Congo to join EAC

With provisions to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, the WTO TFA – which entered into force in February 2017 – represents a viable option to resolve cross-border trade inefficiencies.

As a result of this regional MARKUP initiative, project stakeholders will achieve greater sensitization on the need to simplify cross-border trade procedures and to ensure greater inclusion of the private sector in public-private dialogue platforms responsible for the implementation of the TFA at the national level.

This capacity-building initiative is an extension of the efforts undertaken since the entry into force in 2017 of the TFA, and is part of a collaboration between EABC in partnership with CFCIB, the EAC Secretariat and ITC through the financial contribution of the European Union.

Also Read: Here is what you need to maneuver the job market in Kenya

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland. ITC helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and transition countries to connect and become more competitive in global markets, contributing to the sustainable economic development in the Aid for Trade agenda and to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

The EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is a four-year regional development initiative that aims to contribute to the economic growth of the EAC region. The programme assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by targeting specific agricultural commodities. More specifically, it aims to support increased exports of agribusiness and horticultural products, promote regional integration and enhance the participation of SMEs in intra-regional trade and exports to the European market. MARKUP is funded under the 11th European Development Fund and is implemented by ITC, the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and other national partners.

Also Read: IMF approves $7.6m debt relief to Burundi




Yvonne Kawira is an award winning journalist with an interest in matters, regional trade, tourism, entrepreneurship and aviation. She has been practicing for six years and has a degree in mass communication from St Paul’s University.

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