The Barclays Bank of Kenya sponsored a delegation of Twenty Eight (28) Members of its Business Club on a tour of Bujumbura from 24th to 27th May, 2010. The team consisted of the Bank’s Business Club Country Manager Ms. Caroline Kadenge, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Brand Kenya Board Mrs. Mary Kimonye, one of her staff and an officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nairobi. The objective of the visit was to provide the Kenyans the opportunity to make contact with the Burundi Business community.

On arrival in Bujumbura the delegation called on H.E. Ambassador Benjamin A.M. Mweri who welcomed and lauded their trip to Burundi to see things for themselves. He informed the team that in line with the economic diplomacy orientation of the Kenya Government, the Embassy had the important task of encouraging and facilitating Kenyan entrepreneurship in Burundi, observing that Burundi and Kenya had signed a Protocol on the Protection and Promotion of Investment in 2009.  The Ambassador thereafter gave the group a detailed presentation on trade and investment opportunities in Burundi, noting that in the effort of reconstruction following many years of civil war, Burundi offered investment opportunities in many areas of the economy.

On 25th May 2010, accompanied by an Embassy official, the team paid Courtesy Call on the Ministries of trade, the Ministry for the East African Community and Regional Integration, the Federal Chamber of Commerce and the Burundi Investment Promotions Authority and got briefing on investment opportunities and measures the Burundi Government was adopting to attract investment. On 26th May, 2010 the delegation held a Symposium at the Sun Safari Hotel, Bujumbura which was attended by more than one hundred participants from the Burundi business community. The opening ceremony of the Symposium was officiated by the Burundi Minister for Planning on behalf of the Country’s 2nd Vice President.

Important remarks in the Symposium were made by Ambassador Mweri, Ms. Kadenge, the President of the Burundi Federal Chamber of Chamber and the Minister for planning. Mrs. Kimonye gave a much appreciated presentation on branding a nation in order to foster a people’s image, advising that as a socio-cultural and economic block, EAC needed to brand itself to create a positive identity. The General Director of the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority also gave a presentation on trade and investment opportunities available in Burundi and the incentives that the government was offering to attract foreign investment. This was followed by an interactive session that gave participants the opportunity to learn more of the business lines of each other. In the evening of the same day, participants were treated to a get together reception which gave them the further opportunity to seal business deals. The Brand Kenya Board sponsored the Symposium and the evening reception while the Embassy facilitated all aspects leading to the success of the visit.

The visit could however not have succeeded without the tremendous support given by Burundian Authorities. Burundi has ratified the EAC common market Protocol and welcomes Kenyan investors. The visit, given wide coverage in the mass media, was therefore appreciated and the Embassy received accolade for organizing and facilitating the visit.