INDIA-BURUNDI BILATERAL RELATIONS
After a protracted civil conflict since independence in 1962, the Arusha Agreement of 2003 brought a semblance of stability to Burundi. Subsequently, the EAC member countries revoked their sanctions and Burundi was granted membership of EAC in May 2007. Since then, India’s bilateral relationship with Burundi has fostered. The opening of Burundi’s resident mission in New Delhi in 2009 and progressive interactions between political leadership of the two countries gave a fillip to the relationship. Both countries enjoy a cordial and friendly relationship.
A high-level delegation led by Hon. Minister of State for External Affairs, Smt. Preneet Kaur visited Burundi in February, 2012. A multi-sectoral CII business delegation also accompanied the Minister. A General Cooperation Agreement was signed during the visit. Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Arun Yadav, visited Burundi in May, 2011 as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for inviting the President of Burundi to the second India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-II).
HE President Pierre Nkurunziza paid a state visit to India from in September, 2012.
Second Vice President Mr. Gervais Rufyikiri led a business delegation to the 9th CII Exim Bank Conclave to New Delhi in March, 2013.
Bilateral Cooperation & Assistance
India’s engagement with Burundi is at three levels viz. at the African Union (AU) level, at level of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and at the bilateral level.
Moreover, India’s engagement with Burundi has been consultative, response-based and focused on developing Burundian capacities and human capital. Indian assistance to Burundi has been guided mainly by the announcements made by India at the India-Africa Forum Summits in 2008 and 2011.
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 will impart vocational training to people from the region to enable them to be gainfully employed or become entrepreneurs. This again is one of the Indian efforts towards human resource development in Africa. The Indian implementing agency, National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) and the Burundian Ministry for Primary and Secondary Education, Crafts and Vocational Training and Literacy are finalizing the finer details.
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 being established in Burundi. These are expected to provide low cost sustainable electricity in villages by powering a gas engine. A team of experts from the implementing agency in India is expected to visit Burundi soon to undertake feasibility studies for the project.
At IAFS-II, India also offered, among other things, eight Farm Science Centres (FSCs), one each for the 8 RECs. 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. A team from India would be visiting Burundi soon for inspection of the sites proposed by Burundi side for setting-up the centre.
In addition to the above institutions, a tele-medical centre and a tele-education centre have been set up in Bujumbura in 2010 under the 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. The project is functioning successfully.
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.
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 specalised areas are also conducted for officers of public institutions.
Under ITEC/SCAAP, 30 slots were allotted to Burundi for 2013-14. Till date 23 slots have been utilized. Apart from these, 3 participants have availed various training courses under IAFS till date.
The bilateral trade stood at US$ 24.97 million in 2011-12 registering a growth of 52 % over trade volume of US$ 16.36 million in 2010-11. Bilateral trade figures are as follows:
Bilateral trade figures during the period 2006 to 2012 are as under:
Values in US $ Millions
Although the Balance of Trade is heavily in favour of India, India encourages higher Burundian exports to India. India’s exports to Burundi are mainly pharmaceuticals and chemicals, machinery and instruments, plastic and linoleum products, transport equipments and rubber manufactured products. The main items that India imports from Burundi are non-electrical machinery, iron and steel. Efforts are also made to further increase the trade between the two countries.
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 also appointed local dealers in Burundi for sale of two-wheeler motorcycles and three-wheeler auto-rickshaws. Their products are well received in Burundi.
A PIO owned company Contec Global Burundi in Bujumbura prints passports and visa stickers for the Burundian government.
There are around 300 PIOs and Indian nationals in Burundi, most of them 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.