Burundi – more than black coffee and banana beer

Arriving in Bujumbura’s undescriptive small airport, you could be mistaken for thinking you have arrived in a district town, not a country’s capital. “Bienvenue!” says Alain, my driver for the day. There is a sense of optimism in his voice, even with political turmoil hanging in the air.

Burundi is small landlocked country in East Africa, and often in the shadow of its headline grabbing neighbour, Rwanda. Burundi’s 9m people are densely populated, with around 315 people per square kilometre. It is the third highest density in Africa, after Mauritius and Rwanda. However, 90% of Burundi’s population remains rural.

Importing and exporting goods can be challenging, being landlocked, with transport and handling costs often making up more than 50% of the retail price. Such costs contribute to the poor intra-East African Community (EAC) trade. In addition, the electricity supply in the country is unreliable. According to the African Development Bank, only 2% of Burundians have access to electricity, far behind the average of 16% in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. However, where many investors are seeing obstacles, some are seeing opportunities.  View ArticleHow We Made It In Africa

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