INDIA-BURUNDI BILATERAL RELATIONS
India and Burundi enjoy cordial and friendly relations. The opening of Burundi’s resident mission in New Delhi in 2009 and progressive interactions between political leaderships of the two countries have lent importance and direction to the relationship.
Following the first India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-I) in 2008, Burundi was nominated by the AU to host the India-Africa Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IAIEPA), one of the 5 institutes offered by India at the Pan-Africa level The institute is mandated to strengthen the capacities in the region in the sector of education.
Under IAFS-I, India offered eight Vocational Training Centres (VTCs); one each to the eight RECs. Burundi was nominated as one of the countries to host the VTC. The centre was inaugurated in December 2016. It imparts vocational training to people from the region to enable them to be gainfully employed or become entrepreneurs.
At the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II) in Government of India announced 40 biomass gasifier systems, out of which a cluster bio-mass gasifier system is to be established in Burundi. These are expected to provide low cost sustainable electricity in villages by powering a gas engine.
At IAFS-II, India also offered, among other things, eight Farm Science Centres (FSCs). FSC is an innovative institution of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) which has played a pivotal role in application of technology at farm levels in India since 1974. Burundi has been selected by the East African Community for hosting one such FSC.
In addition to the above institutions, a tele-medicine centre and a tele-education centre was set up in Bujumbura in 2010 under the first phase of Pan-African E-Network Project. The project aims to provide quality and real-time medical care and education from India at a fraction of cost.
Government of India has extended a Line of Credit of US$ 80 million for the 20MW Kabu hydro-electric project. In this regard, an agreement between the EXIM Bank of India and the Government of Burundi was signed in May, 2011. H.E. Mr. Gervais Rufyikiri, Vice President of Burundi laid the foundation stone for the Kabu HEP in Cibitoke Province on 30th August, 2012. Work on the project is underway and is expected to be completed in 2020.
The first ever Foreign Office Consultations between India and Burundi were held in October 2017 in New Delhi where issues of bilateral, regional and global importance were discussed.
India has offered two Lines of Credit worth USD 161.36 Million to Burundi, i) for construction of a new Parliament building in Gitega [USD 102.27 million] and ii) construction of two Ministerial Buildings in Bujumbura [USD 59.09 million], Burundi. The matter is under consideration by Govt. of Burundi.
India is seen as a destination for quality and affordable education by Burundians. The Government of India offers scholarships and fellowships to Burundians from the Government and private sector to enable them to pursue under-graduate, graduate, post-graduate and research courses in India. Training courses in highly specialized areas are also conducted for officers of public institutions.
India’s exports to Burundi comprise pharmaceuticals and chemicals, machinery and instruments, plastic and linoleum products, transport equipment and rubber manufactured products. Main items that India imports from Burundi include non-electrical machinery, iron and steel.
During the last few years, Indian companies have invested in coffee plantation, manufacture of synthetic water tanks, distilleries, computer hardware, hardware stores and paints. Bajaj and TVS have local dealers in Burundi for sale of two-wheeler motorcycles and three-wheeler auto-rickshaws. Their products are well received in Burundi.
It is estimated that there are around 300 PIOs and Indian nationals live in Burundi, most of whom are traders and businessmen. Their positive role in the country’s economy is recognized and appreciated both by the Government of Burundi and its citizens.