Trade Profile

flag Burundi Burundi: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Burundi is relatively open to global trade: according to World Bank, foreign trade represented 29% of Burundi's GDP in 2021. Coffee and tea represent the main export products (respectively 24.8% and 21.3% of total exports), followed by ores (12.1%), with gold also being one of the main exports. To promote exports, the government has established various institutions to support the country's producers and exporters, including the Burundi Coffee Institute and the Burundi Cotton Company. The key imports are refined petroleum (17.8% of total imports), pharmaceutical products (4.8%), cement (3.9%), and motor vehicles (2.9% - data Comtrade).

In 2021, Burundi's main suppliers were, China (18%), Saudi Arabia (13.4%), Tanzania (9.2%), India (8.2%), and United Arab Emirates (8%). Burundi's exports were directed chiefly towards the Democratic Republic of Congo (23.9%), Belgium (12.2%), Pakistan (8.6%), Tanzania (5.8%) and Oman (5.3%). Burundi is a member of the following trade organisations: the WTO, COMESA (Eastern and Southern Africa), ECCAS (Central Africa) and the East African Community (Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania). The recent tensions between China and the USA benefited the country, which developed its production of rare earth.

Burundi's trade balance is structurally negative, a trend which should continue in the coming years. This situation is mainly due to the country's large imports of manufactured goods and oil, its poor manufacturing sector and a lack of diversity in the tertiary sector. In 2021, Burundi exported goods for 156 million USD, while its imports of goods amounted to 1 billion USD (-3.7% and +13%, respectively). Burundi is also a net importer of services, with the overall trade deficit estimated at 18.8% of GDP in 2021 by the World Bank (from 17.7% one year earlier). Such a trend was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and weak global demand, as exports decreased while imports of medical products increased, deteriorating the trade balance. According to the latest figures from the Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of Burundi, the total trade was estimated at BIF 623.7 billion in the first quarter of 2022 compared with BIF 527.4 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2021. The trade balance deficit amounted to BIF 408.2 billion against BIF 459.2 billion in the same quarter of 2021, a deterioration of 3.4%. The rate of coverage of imports by exports improved slightly by 6.5 points from 14.4% in 2021 to 20.9% in 2022.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7557938879091,030
Exports of Goods (million USD) 172180180162156
Imports of Services (million USD) 206216000
Exports of Services (million USD) 1724000
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 131917314
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3211-0-1518
Trade Balance (million USD) -475-496n/an/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 2227292729
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1621242224
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 66555

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United Arab Emirates 28.0%
Democratic Republic of Congo 18.6%
Switzerland 9.5%
Belgium 8.0%
Pakistan 4.9%
See More Countries 30.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Saudi Arabia 14.7%
China 14.1%
United Arab Emirates 13.9%
Tanzania 9.1%
India 8.5%
See More Countries 39.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.2 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 25.9%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 25.0%
Tea, whether or not flavouredTea, whether or not flavoured 10.9%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of...Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 4.9%
Beer made from maltBeer made from malt 4.8%
See More Products 28.5%
1.3 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 23.5%
Mineral or chemical phosphatic fertilisers (excl....Mineral or chemical phosphatic fertilisers (excl. those in tablets or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 6.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.1%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 2.7%
See More Products 60.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Member of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Member of African Union (AU)

Member of East African Community (EAC)

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
18.68%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Member of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Member of African Union (AU)

Member of East African Community (EAC)

Useful Resources
 
 
 

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Latest Update: September 2023