Regional business community feeling the pinch as Burundi conflict deepens


Burundi registered car on a Kigali street


The ongoing political turmoil in Burundi is not only affecting business within the country but also impacting the business community in neighbouring countries as well.

One of the sectors that wishes peace is restored sooner rather than later is commercial transportation; transporters between Rwanda and Burundi have already had enough of the conflict, there has been a significant decline in the number of Rwandan vehicles entering Burundi, and some Kigali based operators have temporarily suspended operations to Burundi until there is assurance of safety.

“At the Burundi Rwanda- border posts, only Burundian registered vehicles are allowed to cross the border. So we have to switch buses in order to cross our passengers to Burundi. This has made business difficult” one bus driver told this website.

Regional business persons are also reluctant to travel to Burundi to do business as they fear for their safety. Also, those willing to take safety risks and travel to Burundi have doubts about have successful business trips as many businesses and government offices are closed.

Reports indicate that there has also been a decline in business between Burundi and other regional countries as numbers flocking to the country’s immigration and customs offices have slumped.

“I was supposed to do a website job for an NGO in Bujumbura, but I’m torn between going and not going. Some people have advised me not to travel because of safety issues; I don’t know what to do.” Frank Agaba, a Ugandan IT expert said.

Meanwhile the number of Burundian registered vehicles has increased on the streets of the Rwandan capital Kigali as middle class Burundians continue to seek refuge in Rwanda in droves.

Since last week, Kigali city has, as a result seen an increase in traffic especially during morning and evening rush hours, in which vehicles have been stuck in traffic jam for hours.

With the ongoing clashes between government forces and civilians more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to Rwanda, Tanzania and the DR Congo, in the past few weeks, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Tanzania has over 17,600 refugees and an estimated 8,000 are in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).