Getting Started

Exporting to Burundi

The U.S. Embassy is committed to supporting American companies’ efforts to begin exporting or to increase exports to Burundi. In this section, you will find a brief description of Burundi as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

The principal drivers of the Burundian economy are the production of agricultural and mineral commodities, and construction.  Additionally, the Government of Burundi maintains a significant focus on improving Burundi’s energy and transportation infrastructure.  U.S. export opportunities exist for companies producing agricultural inputs (fertilizer, seed), agro-processing equipment, and construction.  As the Government of Burundi looks to invest heavily in renewable energy production, producers of equipment used in the production of electricity from solar, hydro and geothermal sources may find significant export opportunities

Below are several practical steps a potential investor or exporter should follow to make the best use of the Embassy’s services.

1. Visit the Investment Promotion Authority to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities. The U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.

The Library Includes:

  • Country Commercial Guides (read the latest “Doing Business In” guides)
  • Industry Overviews
  • Market Updates
  • Multilateral Development Bank Reports
  • Best Markets
  • Industry/Regional Reports

2. Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (EAC) for advice and support on exporting to Burundi. Visit the following link to find an EAC and Trade Specialist near you.

3. Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. SBDCs are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration, and aim to provide educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

4. Contact the Commercial Office at U.S. Embassy Bujumbura for a list of potential business support organizations in Burundi and the East African Community.

This section provides information for current and potential investors in Burundi.

If you are considering investing in Burundi, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  • Visit API’s iGuide Burundi website, to obtain up-to-date information on the processes, procedures, regulations pertaining to investing in Burundi. The website also contains information on the major business sectors in Burundi and possible opportunities for investment.
  • Register with the U.S. Embassy. If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Visit host country resources, such as Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API). The Investment Promotion Authority is a government institution charged with promoting investment and facilitating market entry for investors in Burundi. API offers a range of services to potential investors including assistance in acquiring the licenses, certificates, approvals, authorizations and permits required by law to set up and operate a business enterprise in Burundi. Visit API’s website for further information.
  • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page.

If you are a current U.S. investor in Burundi, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Burundi, let us know by contacting the Commercial Office of the Embassy.
    • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page.
    • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise.

In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.

U.S. national tourists can obtain a 30 day multiple entry visa at the airport for $90 USD upon arrival at the airport in Bujumbura.  Foreigners applying for work permits and/or residency visas must apply within 15 days of their arrival in country.  Foreign investors can work with the Investment Promotion Authority to obtain the necessary employment authorization.

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for any potential risks in traveling to Burundi.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving, or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information can be found on the FCPA.

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

Please find more information on the DOJ opinion procedure.