People still fleeing the Country as the Crisis is far from over!
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to seek a disputed third term more than two years ago, spawning a period of unrest marked by extrajudicial killings, a failed coup, and ethnic division. Given repeated assurances from government officials and the dearth of media coverage, you would be forgiven for thinking that period ended some time ago. It did not. The country’s population continues to face armed violence, civil and human rights abuses, while food insecurity and economic hardship persist. People are still fleeing to neighbouring countries: The UN predicts the number of Burundian refugees will top 500,000 by the end of the year.
On 14 June, the Commission of Enquiry on Burundi set up by the UN Human Rights…
Uncertainties shadow Elections coming Monday
When the order came to leave their protest camp, the students voiced the same refrain. “It is better to be killed in front of the American Embassy than to return to our campus to die,” they said.But after being pursued by the police, escaping to the parking lot of the United States Embassy and then being cast out of the compound, more than 100 university students gathered on Friday at the one place they felt safe: a church where many had prayed as children. They had no money, no food and no idea what the future would bring. “No one knows who is going to attack,” said one student leader, the morning after the police had stormed through their protest camp, sending them scrambling for safety. “We are living in fear and uncertainty.
Elections going ahead despite Unrest
Burundi’s government insisted Friday that the first stage of controversial elections will go ahead next week despite the central African nation’s ongoing political crisis.
Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana said that even after the withdrawal of support from the influential Catholic Church and the European Union, parliamentary polls will take place next Friday.
“There isn’t any electoral process that doesn’t suffer from problems, in Burundi or any other country. We regret that certain partners have pulled out of the process… but despite this the elections will go ahead in good condition,” he told AFP.
“That the EU withdraws and that the Church withdraws its priests does not mean the elections should not take place. The Burund…
Joining forces with South Africa to fight Poverty
South Africa and Burundi share the struggle against poverty, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday. "We are also waging a war on poverty, unemployment and inequality,’’ Zuma told the SA-Burundi Business Forum in Cape Town. He congratulated President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and his people for choosing peace and for the progress they have made since the end of the civil war in 2005. “Having worked together in the quest for peace and democracy in Burundi, we are now working together again in the quest for prosperity,” he said. “We were in the trenches together, fighting for peace and democracy. Now the time is ripe for Burundi and South Africa to start a new and meaningful chapter of economic co-operation.”
Zuma said the two countries…
New Taxes to be introduced in light of Revenue Shortfall
Burundi’s cabinet will propose new duties on some alcoholic drinks and other products, an airport departure tax and other measures to make up for a shortfall in forecast revenues for 2014, according to a draft bill seen this week. This year’s budget had predicted revenues of 633bn Burundi Francs (US$ 411.04m), but the government now expects to fall short by 44bn francs. Even so, the final figure is likely to exceed 2013 revenues of 559.5bn francs. This year’s shortfall has been blamed on the move to cut corporate taxes to 30% from 35% last year.
The draft bill, seen by Reuters and due to be presented to parliament, has drawn an angry response from activists in the impoverished east African nation. One campaigner called for protests, s…
Coffee Growers to open their own Bank
Burundi coffee growers plan to open their own bank to give out the loans they need to invest in improving production, in an industry which accounts for a substantial chunk of the small east African country’s economy. It will be the first time Burundi coffee growers have joined together to open a micro-bank, Joseph Ntirabampa, chairperson of the confederation of coffee producers’ associations, or CNAC, said. The coffee industry employs some 800 000 smallholder farmers, almost 10% of the population, growing Arabica beans.
Ntirabampa, whose CNAC organisation has 130 000 members, said it had already collected 600m francs ($389 000), double what the central bank requires to create a micro-financial bank. "The idea of opening our own bank c…
SHOWCASE: African Countries CAN reduce Dependency on Aid
Kieran Homes’ early career in the Irish revenue service had not fully prepared him to take over as chief tax collector in Burundi, one of central Africa’s poorest countries. One of his first tasks was learning to use a pistol: getting companies to file returns in a country more accustomed to conflict and corruption can be dangerous. But it is not impossible. In 2010, the year before he took charge of the Office Burundais des Recettes (OBR), a new, autonomous tax agency, Burundi’s tax take was 300 billion Burundian francs (US$ 240m). It has almost doubled since, to 560 billion francs.
Mr Holmes’s first step was to recruit new staff to replace those who had worked in the old revenue division of the finance ministry. Entrance exams were …
Burundi to join East African Development Bank?
Burundi has applied to join the East African Development Bank (EADB). Enos Bukuku, the EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, said the Bank’s governing council would consider the application. Modelled on other regional development banks, EADB’s mandate is to support “risky” projects that commercial banks would not touch. The African Development Bank owns about 6.76 per cent of the Bank while Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania each hold 27.20 per cent. Rwanda owns 4.34 per cent. Kigali applied to join the EADB in 2007 and was admitted the following year. But it has taken Burundi almost seven years, since its admission into the EAC, to seek admission into the EADB.
The main reason for the delayed application, a…
Doing Business in Burundi made easier
The Burundi government created another two One-Stop-Shops, one to handle property transfer and the other for construction permits in addition to the one for business startup created in March 2013 in a bid to ease the process of Doing Business in the country. The first is located in the premises of the Land Titles Department, while the second is located in the ministry of Finance Building in the Department of Urban Planning. The Second Vice-President Dr. Gervais Rufyikiri, who presided over the launching ceremonies of the two One-stop-shops, invited its officers to be more efficient so as to improve the visibility of the country. He noted that the official launch of the two One-stop-shops coincides with the presentation of the preliminary…