Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:39

Invest in Burundi: A glance at the new trend

Changing the investment perspective

Since the promulgation of  the Investment Code of 2008(Law n°1/24 of September 10th, 2008 on the Investment Code) ,the investment environment in Burundi is increasingly governed by rules that are intended to encourage private initiatives by providing for measures to liberalize investment, to guarantee their legal certainty and incitement for investment.

 With regard to investment liberalization, the investment code removes the procedure under the old code which conditioned the granting of incentives to investors with the opinion of the Interministerial Commission of Investments and a decree issued by the Council for approval of Ministers. In fact this code was the source of delay in processing cases while the new code devotes a certain level of automaticity in the granting of benefits by significantly reducing the administrative path of the investor.

Regarding investment incentives, the Investment Code provides economic benefits such as an import credit for operators to make it more attractive installation in the country. This is reinforced by the fact that the benefits under the code no longer relate a given period but are based on the size of investments.
Finally regarding the security of investments, the Investment Code provides contractors to ensure the protection of their rights including avoiding expropriations, evictions or arbitrary challenges. Moreover, while the old code expected an excessive number of legal regimes with different advantages, which created confusion and operational difficulties for the potential investor, the new code has the advantage of only providing that one: the common law regime (régime de droit commun). In addition, it provides for arbitration in disputes between the Government of Burundi and the investor.

Regulatory reforms

Apart from such a pro-investor legal framework, Burundi has undertaken regulatory reforms.  An agency totally devoted to the investment promotion, the Burundian Investment Promotion Agency, API (Agence Burundaise pour la Promotion des Investissements) has been created.Haut du formulaire

The agency originated by Presidential Decree No. 100/177 of 19 October 2009 establishing and organizing the Investment Promotion Agency.

Having its proper legal personality, the core mission of the agency is:

      To promote the general investment and export, including following objectives:

  • Inform investors about anything related to the promotion of investment and exports;
  • Assist and support investors in general and exporters in particular in obtaining such documents and / or formalities required by law;
  • Designing reforms to improve the business climate;
  • Challenge the government on cases of non-application or misapplication of any law or regulation in connection with the promotion of investment and exports.amélioration,...

The agency assists potentials investors both local and foreigners in different business related procedures/pre-requisites: articles of association’s drafting, business incorporation, tax registration (to obtain a tax identification number), granting of Investment Code incentives, visas and work permits….. The agency operates also as  a One Stop Center integrating: API(The Investment Promotion Agency), the Commercial Court(Office of the Registrar General Unit) and Burundi Revenue Authority services, and deals with all company registration procedures.

The Investment code as legal instrument was one of the conditions of entry for Burundi into the East African Community in the sense that membership in this regional market involves setting up a legal arsenal in a position to encourage both domestic and foreigners investors. Growing opportunities for investment are developing in Burundi and the country is seeing an increase of activities across a range of sectors: agriculture, agro-food industry, tourism, mineral exploitation…... It is undeniable that the new act constitutes a great input for investment promotion as it offers potential and current investors more opportunities and.  It’s important for investors to be impregnated of such new regulations in order to assess investment environment and opportunities offered. Meanwhile, the Government should ensure with a real commitment the effective implementation of the law and maintain a steadily increasing and balanced business environment.

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