By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
AN agreement to enhance trade between the private sector from Zambia and Burundi will be signed in the coming few months through two chambers of commerce from both countries.
This is to formalize trade between Zambia and Burundi at the Great Lakes region through Lake Tanganyika.
Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) will sign on behalf of the country while Burundi will be represented by its Chamber.
Zambia’s exports to Burundi as at December 2020 stood at US$24.46 million with exports including sugar and confectionery, salt, sulphur, earth, stone, plaster, lime and cement.
Burundi Federal Chamber for Commerce and Industry Chairman, Audace Ndayizeye, said Zambian products such as steel and cement have immensely penetrated the market in Burundi through the Great Lakes region.
Mr Ndayizeye noted that Zambia exported maize, cement and steel products to Burundi.
He said yesterday in Lusaka at a press briefing that it was for this reason that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) needed to be signed by the two countries.
Mr Ndayizeye explained that the MoU would enable the private sector from both countries to lobby for development.
“We need to strengthen those relations because when we talk about development, the engine is private sector. Without trade we cannot even strengthen the good relations existing between the two countries.
We need to formalise these relations so that we can lobby together for development of the private sector with other countries. We have signed MoUs with Kenya and Tanzania so I think Zambia will be the third one to have that MoU,” Mr Ndayizeye said.
At the same function, Burundi Ambassador to Zambia, Pascal Ruhomvymworo, acknowledged the country’s infrastructure development such as roads which he said were critical to trade.
Ambassador Ruhomvymworo also acknowledged that Zambia’s business environment was dynamic.
“We enjoy the relations with Zambia in terms of commerce through Lake Tanganyika and this needs to be enhanced,” he said.
In response, ZACCI president, Chabuka Kawesha, agreed to pursue a workable agreement through an MoU.
Dr Kawesha hoped that through the MoU, the two chambers would be able to open up doors both for Zambian business community in Burundi and vice versa to advance opportunities of trade within the steel industry which supported construction and many other sector of the respective countries.
“We agree to your proposal to purse a working agreement through an MoU and we commit that within the coming of one month, we shall work with the team from the chamber in Burundi to ensure that we formalise the working agreement.
“We want to be able to support what our governments are doing in terms of promoting economic diplomacy of building a strong economy around the great lakes region,” Dr Kawesha said.