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July 6 (Bloomberg) -- Investment in Burundi may increase as much as 17 percent this year after the government introduced incentives to attract more private capital.
Investment may grow to 300 billion francs ($241.3 million) from 257 billion francs last year, said Eric Ngendahayo, a spokesman for the Burundian Investment Promotion Agency. In the first five months of this year, the country received 103 billion francs, Ngendahayo said in an interview yesterday in Bujumbura, the capital.
Burundi has removed levies on land acquisition; granted a tax credit on investments of at least 100 million francs that create at least 10 permanent jobs for its citizens; reduced corporate taxes based on the number of Burundians employed and removed value-added tax on imported goods to be used in projects of at least 500 million francs, he said.
“We call all other investors to come to Burundi because we still have many sectors to invest in,” he said.
Burundi is rebuilding its economy after a decade-long civil war that killed 300,000 people. Fighting broke out in 1993 when the country’s first democratically elected president was assassinated. The East African nation, one of the world’s poorest, relies on coffee to generate two-thirds of its exports and the industry is the main source of income for about 800,000 households, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Burundi receives about 40 percent of its investment from foreign sources, mainly the five-nation East African Community that groups the country with Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, Ngendahayo said. Their main interests are food-processing and mining, while domestic investors prefer tourism and construction projects, he said.
Among the foreign investors in Burundi are Surestream Petroleum Ltd., the closely held U.K.-based explorer that is searching for oil in the country, Ngendahayo said.
Surestream has been exploring for oil for the past two years and is “almost” ready to start identifying locations for drilling, the company said in February.
Burundi’s economic growth rate is expected to climb to 4.5 percent in 2011 and 4.8 percent in 2012, from an estimated 3.9 percent last year, the IMF said in April.
--Editors: Paul Richardson, Alastair Reed.
To contact the reporter on this story: Desire Nimubona in Bujumbura via Nairobi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at email@example.com.