<<  Back

Project title: Design of Greater Imbo Region Growth Hub Program
Client Name: TradeMark East Africa
Location: Burundi


Burundi has committed to revitalize its economy and national unity since 2000. Following a decade of economic stagnation, the country's GDP growth rate has increased considerably since 2006. Increases in economic growth resulted mainly from an upturn in coffee production, development of a few manufacturing firms and large-scale infrastructure projects such as construction of roads and establishment of fiber optic networks. Despite improvements, Burundi is currently torn by its political issues. In addition to this, Burundi's trade basket is narrow. This means a need to leverage existing potential in agriculture and industrial sectors to diversify exports and explore alternate sources of revenue for the youth. TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) envisages to support Burundi in redefining its trade strategy by strengthening new export potential value chains, enhancing cross border trade with DRC and increasing its penetration in the regional market.

TMEA has adopted the 'Growth Hub' approach to implement this strategy. This approach seeks to identify a specific location in the country through geo-spatial methods where interventions would be implemented.

Project's Scope of Work:

Athena Infonomics was engaged to identify export potential sectors within the region and design a six-year program (2018-23) for TMEA that would engage private sector for trade promotion. This was divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Selection of value chains within the Greater Imbo region that are export oriented and would have a large socio-economic impact
  • Phase 2: Deep - dives into identified value chains to assess the constraints and opportunities within the markets
  • Phase 3: Design interventions
Athena's Approach:

An analytical framework comprising of indicators reflecting market dynamics, trade competitiveness and social, environmental and economic impact was developed to assess the value chains. Palm oil and soaps, fisheries and tropical fruits and juices were the value chains identified that are 'export ready' and includes large number of traders, co-operatives and small scale firms. These products also had the potential for increased penetration into cross border markets with DRC and Rwanda and also for exports to foreign countries. Targeting these value chains would create jobs, increase incomes and diversify Burundi's trade.

The value chains were assessed using a market for poor (M4P) approach to capture constraints in production, processing, packaging, standards, technology and transportation and logistics; such that they are reflective of issues faced by small informal traders. A gender assessment was also carried out to understand the vulnerabilities and inequities experienced by women involved in these value chains. Detailed stakeholder consultations were carried out for these market assessments. Inputs gathered from phase 2 were synthesized to design innovative interventions for target beneficiaries. Athena developed a Project Appraisal Report (PAR) for TMEA comprising of the interventions, budget for implementing the program, expected outcomes and monitoring and evaluation framework.