flag Burundi Burundi: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Burundi is open to global trade. According to World Bank, in 2020, foreign trade represented 33% of Burundi's GDP. Gold and coffee represent the main export products (respectively 28.3% and 19% of total exports), followed by tea (13.3%) ; while the key imports are refined petroleum (15.1% of total imports), pharmaceutical products (5.5%), motor vehicles (4.8%), fertilizers (3.7%) and cement (3.4%).

In 2020, Burundi's main suppliers were, China (15.6%), Saudi Arabia (11.8%), India (9.5%), Tanzania (8.6%) and United Arab Emirates (6.8%). Burundi's exports were directed chiefly towards the United Arab Emirates (32.2%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (19.6%), Pakistan (5.6%), Tanzania (5.3%) and Belgium (5%). Burundi is a member of the following trade organisations: the WTO, COMESA (Eastern and Southern Africa), ECCAS (Central Africa) and the East African Community (Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania). The recent tensions between China and the USA benefited the country, which developed its production of rare earth.

Burundi's trade balance is structurally negative (-496 million USD in 2018, World Bank), a trend which should continue in the coming years. This situation is mainly due the country's large imports of manufactured goods and oil, its poor manufacturing sector and a lack of diversity in the tertiary sector. In 2020, Burundi exported goods for 162 million USD, while its imports of goods amounted to 909 million USD. In 2018, it imported 216 million USD worth of service, while it exported services for 24 million USD (WTO, latest data available). In 2020, imports of goods and services increased by 9% compared to 2019, while exports decreased by 10% (World Bank). In 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and weak global demand, exports decreased while imports of medical products increased, deteriorating the trade balance. Higher commodity prices, including oil prices, as well as the depreciation of the Burundian franc are expected to weight on the import bill in 2022.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 755755793887909
Exports of Goods (million USD) 120172180180162
Imports of Services (million USD) 21720621600
Exports of Services (million USD) 73172400
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1825-28129
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2357-10-1-10
Trade Balance (million USD) -402-475-496n/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 3234394233
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 2527303328
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 77995

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United Arab Emirates 32.2%
Democratic Republic of Congo 19.6%
Pakistan 5.6%
Tanzania 5.3%
Belgium 5.0%
See More Countries 32.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 15.6%
Saudi Arabia 11.8%
India 9.5%
Tanzania 8.6%
United Arab Emirates 6.8%
See More Countries 47.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.2 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 28.3%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 19.0%
Tea, whether or not flavouredTea, whether or not flavoured 13.3%
Wheat or meslin flourWheat or meslin flour 5.7%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of...Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 4.2%
See More Products 29.5%
0.9 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 15.1%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 5.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.8%
Mineral or chemical phosphatic fertilizers (excl....Mineral or chemical phosphatic fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 3.7%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 3.4%
See More Products 67.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs duties


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

Member of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

Member of African Union (AU)

Member of East African Community (EAC)

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Contact the Ministry of Trade and Industry

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Latest Update: September 2022