Trade Data Analysis

Burundi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

Burundi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

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This Trade Data Update provides an overview of Burundi’s intra-African trade relationships, both within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and with other individual African countries; the top import and export products traded; and applicable tariffs. Data is sourced from the UN International Trade Centre (ITC) TradeMap and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Tariff databases. The update is accompanied by a visual representation of key data and trends in an infographic.

Intra-Africa trade

Burundi’s trade composition with Africa is relatively concentrated in a few products in terms of exports while relatively diversified when it comes to imports. In 2017, intra-Africa exports were valued at US$44 million while Burundi imported over US$200 million worth of goods. Intra-Africa exports account for 31% of Burundi’s global exports while intra-Africa imports account for 28% of Burundi’s global imports.

The bulk of exports were destined to the COMESA and the EAC regions with the Democratic Republic of Cong (DRC), Egypt and Uganda accounting for 79% of Burundi’s intra-Africa exports. Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda accounted for an additional 16% share in 2017. Top 10 export destinations accounted for 99% of Burundi’s total intra-Africa exports. Togo is the only non-REC country that features in the top 10 export destinations.

In terms of import sources, more than 70% of Burundi’s intra-Africa imports originated from the EAC in 2017. This is due to the proximity and the existence of the customs union within the EAC. COMESA countries Zambia and Egypt accounted for an additional 20% while South Africa and Mozambique which do not have any preferential arrangement with Burundi featured in the top 10 import sources and accounted for a combined 6% of Burundi’s imports in 2017. Other countries which featured in the top 10 included Central Africa Republic (CAR) and the DRC.

Top export products included Wheat or meslin flour, Coffee, Tea, and Beer made from malt. Top 10 products accounted for 88% of Burundi’s total intra-Africa exports. Top imports, on the other hand, included Sugar, Cement, Products of iron and non-alloy steel, and Maize or corn. Burundi’s top 10 intra-Africa imports accounted for 45% of its total intra-Africa imports.

Intra-Africa tariff analysis

Burundi is party to 3 RECs in Africa; however, the Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS) preferential arrangements are not yet in force and thus no preferential access to the Burundi market is granted. Therefore, only countries that are members of COMESA and/or the EAC enjoy preferential access into Burundi. COMESA currently is a free trade area (FTA) while the EAC is a fully-fledged customs union. COMESA intends to become a fully-fledged customs union; however, Burundi will not be party to it given that it already belongs to the EAC.

Non-REC members, which include Algeria, Angola, Capo Verde, Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Mozambique and the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) members – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho – do not enjoy preferential access. This means that products originating from these countries as well as ECCAS members attract the CET tariff rates which are categorised into 5 tariff bands – from duty free to maximum applied rates of 60%, although in certain instances Burundi can levy tariff of up to 100% on refined sugar to protect its domestic market.

With the exclusion of COMESA and EAC, Burundi’s total intra-Africa imports were valued at US$19.5 million in 2017 which is equivalent to 10% of Burundi’s total intra-Africa imports. Of all products imported, the average tariff rate was about 8%. Main products included Sugar; Vehicle parts; Maize or corn; guns and ammunition as well as telephone sets. Top 10 imports from these countries accounted for almost 60% of Burundi’s non-REC intra-Africa imports in 2017.

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Burundi: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018
Infographic: Burundi – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018

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