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The East African Community (EAC) is a customs union consisting of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; , Burundi and Rwanda joined on 1 July 2007. It was originally founded in 1967 but was disbanded in1977. On 30 November 1999, the EAC Free Trade Agreement was signed in Arusha, Tanzanian. In January 2001 at a ceremony held in Arusha, which is also its headquarters, the EAC was revived.The new EAC treaty paved the way for an economic and, ultimately, political union of the three countries. A further treaty signed in March 2004 set up a customs union, which commenced on 1st January 2005. Under the terms of the treaty, Kenya, the richest of the three countries, will pay duty on its goods entering Uganda and Tanzania until 2010 based on a declining scale. A common system of tariffs will apply to other countries supplying the three countries with goods.


Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. (COMESA)


Burundi is a member state of COMESA, The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa which is a preferential trading area with twenty-one member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981. Nine of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000, with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004 and the Comoros and Libya in 2006.
Objectives of COMESA are to assist in the achievement of trade promotion which includes:

  • Trade liberalisation and Customs co-operation, including the introduction of a unified computerized Customs network across the region.
  • Improving the administration of transport and communications to ease the movement of goods, services and people between the countries.
  • Creating an enabling environment and legal framework which will encourage the growth of the private sector, the establishment of a secure investment environment, and the adoption of common sets of standards.
  • The harmonisation of macro-economic and monetary policies throughout the region.



Bureau Burundaise de Normalisation et Controle de la Qualite. (BBN)(BURUNDI BUREAU OF STANDARDS AND QUALITY CONTROL)

BBN Burundi Website

BBN is a public enterprise with an administrative nature that is temporarily under the administration of APEE (Agence de Promotions des Echanges Exterieurs). Some of the objectives of BBN are as follows:

  • Prepare standards in collaboration with the technical committees.
  • Promote and manage quality assurance.
  • Act as a metrological center and a unit for standards.
  • Manage the certification process.
  • Promote the training of technical staff of offices and enterprises.
  • Present the national interests to foreign and international bodies of standards.

BBN has recently being reorganised in the following divisions:
a) Documentation of the standards.
b) Standards and metrology.
c) Certification, accreditation and monitoring of laboratories and inspection.
d) Training and technical assistance.
The partners of BBN are industrial and commercial enterprises as well as private and public sector businesses.
The consumers as an association are also partners.
Any enterprise or person that needs the services of BBN can do so through a letter stating clearly what is required from BBN. Payment and terms will be based on the service(s) requested.
BBN works with national, regional and international standards.

During large-scale or sudden emergencies, the authorities uplift all existing regulations, and exceptional procedures apply for a limited period of time. 


World Trade Organization (WTO)

World Trade Organisation 

Burundi is a member state of the World Customs Trade Organization (WCO), having ratified the Convention establishing a Customs Co-operation Council on 20 October 1964. This Convention entered into force on 4th November 1952. The only international body of Customs law that contains a specific chapter binding states to facilitate the work of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in implementing humanitarian assistance is the revised Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (with its Annex J-5 on the Special Procedure for Relief Material). Burundi has not signed/ratified this Convention. They also have neither signed nor ratified the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency which entered into force on 26 February 1987. They have, however, signed (on 18 June 1998) the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations which had entered into force in Jan 2005 but is yet to ratify it.WTO).


World Customs Organization (WCO)

World Customs Organisation

Burundi is a member state of the World Trade Customs Organization (WTO), having joined on 23 July 1995. The WTO helps trade flow smoothly, freely, fairly and predictably”.
Its roles are

  • Acting as a forum for trade negotiations Administering trade agreements
  • Settling trade disputes
  • Reviewing national trade policies
  • Assisting developing countries in trade policy issues, through technical assistance and training programmes
  • Cooperating with other international organizations

OBR (Office Burundais des Recettes) is a semi-autonomous public revenue collection institution created by Law No 1/11 of 2009. The overall goal of the institution is to reduce poverty through improved public revenue collection and an improved business environment in Burundi as well.
For information on Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, please see the following link: COMESA Website




For information on Burundi Regulatory departments, please see the following links: 

4.2.1 Burundi Government Contact List