Nairobi– May 7th, 2014
A TradeMark Africa-supported project has won a prestigious international award as the Outstanding International Development Project in a Fragile State.

The award was presented to TradeMark Africa’s partner in Burundi, Adam Smith International on the evening of Thursday April 10 2014 at ASI’s offices in Nairobi by [name of organisation presenting the award] in the UK. The body’s Patron is His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester.

The winning project was designed and funded by TradeMark Africa. Since 2009 it provided support to the Government of Burundi through a package of technical assistance provided by ASI. This helped to transform Burundi’s national tax collection. The project assisted Office Burundais des Recettes (OBR) in the areas of domestic tax management, streamlining customs operations, organisational restructuring, human resources and capacity building. Computerising of Burundi’s border posts and putting in place effective controls on high-value imports such as petrol and other excise dutiable goods helped to bring significant increases to Burundi’s revenue. The expertise provided through the project resulted in year-on-year increases in domestic revenue collection.

Underlying all activities of the OBR is a commitment to good governance and tackling corruption. As such in 2013, OBR was lauded as the most improved revenue administration in the region, according to the East African Bribery Index. In addition, its success was also cited as a decisive factor in the improvement of Burundi’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index – an improvement of 22 places between 2011 and 2013. Burundi has been in the top ten worldwide reformers in Doing Business for the last two years.

National revenues increased by 85% since 2009. The IMF said that “the remarkable performance shows Burundi’s real tax revenues not only growing faster than the EAC average, but also being the fastest in the EAC.” Funding available for public services significantly increased. A hospital built in 2013 was the first to be developed entirely from the Government of Burundi’s own financial resources (rather than with those of international lenders and donors).

Burundi however remains one of the poorest countries in Africa. Its recent history was marred by 12 years of ethnic violence which ceased on the signing of the Arusha Peace Accord. Following this, the Government committed to substantial and ambitious reforms, concerning domestic revenue mobilisation, and leading to the creation of a semi-autonomous revenue authority, OBR. This key reform led to increasing contributions of domestic revenue to the Government’s fiscal budget, as well as its deepening integration into the East African Community.

TradeMark Africa CEO, Frank Matsaert was delighted: “This award reflects the high-level partnership between the Government of Burundi, ASI, and TradeMark Africa in building an important Burundian institution. TradeMark Africa (TMA) will continue supporting OBR to strengthen its foundations and to continue to perform well.”

Reacting to news of the award, David Stanton Director General of TradeMark Africa said: “We at TradeMark wholeheartedly congratulate ASI for winning this award. TradeMark Africa (TMA) ’s partnership with the Government of Burundi and ASI ever since 2009 bears out the value of patient, long-term reforms in order to build a modern state institution after a protracted civil war. We see the social contract between taxpayers and the state as a key way to deepen democracy and to make government accountable to its citizens. That underpins national development. We look forward to even greater achievements in the future.”

OBR Commissioner Kieran Holmes said: “I am not at all surprised by this. ASI has provided us with an excellent team of advisers in tax, customs, IT, procurement , communications and human resources . Each and every single team member has blended seamlessly with their counterparts and is fully trusted by OBR staff.”

Find out more about Trademark East Africa.

To arrange for interviews please contact :
Dennis Kashero
Communications Director, TradeMark Africa
Tel: +254 20 4235221
Mobile: +254 731 564 786

Source: TradeMark Africa (TMA)


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.