Paperless system to speed up trade for Burundi

The new trade facilitation system, known as the Electronic Single Window, is set to enhance efficiency of cross-border trade at Burundi airports and border posts and reduce cost of doing business

Bujumbura, 2 March 2015: Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) launched apaperless electronic system that will simplify submission and processing of trade information for export and imports reducing time to import to Burundi from DarEsSalaam by at least 15%. The system, known as Electronic Single Window (ESW) will allow submission and processing of import, export and transit related trade documents electronicallythus reducing time taken to processes and increasing efficiency. TradeMark Africa funded OBR to implement ESW with US$2.5 million grant.

H.E the 2nd Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, DrIr Gervais Rufyikiri, officiated the launch held at OBR offices.

ESW will enable traders to submit information and administrative requirements for imports and exports, once, at a single entry point on the internet. The trade files can be attached in a range of formats including text files, images and tables. Once submitted, a clearing agent will no longer need to physically take documents from one government agency to another for processing but simply fill in necessary information on the web page. The electronic process will enhance efficiency at the borders and is expected to contribute to 15 % reduction in time to import (or export) a container to Burundi from Dare salaam. It is also expected to contribute significantly to the 30% reduction of the average time a truck takes to cross Kobero border post (within Burundi).

In his key note speech,H.E the 2nd Vice President of the Republic of Burundi Dr. Rufyikirisaid,

“The Government welcomes the establishment of the steering committee today from diverse sectors of the life of our country and having as main tasks below:

Educate stakeholders in e-stop shop; Ensure that the national strategy of the Single Window Electronics is well developed, formulated and then proceed to its validation; Coordinate and evaluate the implementation of the Single Window Electronics; Promote the adaptation of laws, regulations and procedures for the proper functioning of the Single Window Electronics; Promote the single window Electronics with high authorities of the country and analyze the reports of the National Team of Electronic Single Window and make recommendations.”

Highlighting the support from TradeMark Africa (TMA) on the electronic Single Window project, TradeMark Africa (TMA) Country Director, Mrs. Anthe Vrijlandt said,

“this tool will not only reduce the number of procedures for import and export but will also assist in the fight against corruption and fight”.

The OBR commissioner General,Dr.Domitien Ndihokubwayo was emphatic of OBR’s commitment to ensuring adoption of the system saying,
“The Electronic Single Window is therefore timely and will end the physical back and forth taxpayers’ movements between different institutions and stakeholders in trade”.

The use of electronic documents will allow trade operators and border officials to better optimise physical and human resources while ensuring the safety of trade procedures. OBR on the other hand will eliminate opportunities for corruption at the borders thus increasing duties and tax collection. The ESW has been designed to work in harmony with current and future customs systems, which means that it will be able to grow and be upgraded as necessary without facing any constraints from the digital documents module.

Some of other expected benefits from using the Single Window include: OBR increasing duties and tax collection, reduction of time to process import and export documentation from 7 days to 1 day by end of one year, an easy way of paying taxes and duties, and traders reducing time to lodge import and export documentation by atleast 2 hours. In addition to reducing time, it is expected that this paperless system will lead to reducing cost of doing business in Burundi, which will consequently lead to reduction of final price tag on consumer products.

In addition to OBR the Electronic Single Window project will involve the following government agencies involved in the import and export process: The Burundi revenue authority, Burundi bureau of standards, the Ministry of Health and Fight against AIDS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Key guests who spoke at the launch included the H.E the 2nd Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, OBR Commissioner General, Dr.Domitien Ndihokubwayoand TradeMark Africa Burundi Country Director Mrs. Anthe Vrijlandt.

Source: TradeMark Africa


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.