Burundi – Presentation of research on informal economy

(ANS – Bujumbura) – On April 3rd a conference entitled “Studies on Informal production units in the seven northern districts of Bujumbura” was held in Royal Palace Hotel of Bujumbura, in Burundi. It was organized by the International Volunteers for Development (VIS) and by the “Cité des Jeunes Don Bosco “ of Buterere. Over 13O people took part, from various local and international institutional and economic sectors

The research was started in June 2011, conducted by two professional researchers. It was commissioned by: the VIS, the Ministry of Education and Professional Training, the “ Cite des Jeunes Don Bosco” of Buterere, and by ADISCO, (a business association). It is part of the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) project, “A shared bridge towards innovation”, carried out in Burundi and in Ethiopia.

The day began with a joint welcome by the Director General of Professional Training of the Ministry of Education and by the Representative of the European Union, which finances the TVET project. Both highlighted their willingness to work together in promoting this project, which represents a decisive step towards revitalizing the national policy for Professional Training, in which the Centre run by the Salesians with the support of VIS is a good partner. The next speaker was the Legal Representative of VIS Burundi, Pascal Martin, who explained the objectives and activities of the TVET project.

The presentation of the research took up the theme of the informal economy, which amounts to more than 70% of the total productivity, in the seven northern districts of the city of Bujumbra, where the number of workers is highest, reaching 6,465 units working in 80 sectors of production and services.

The research showed the characteristics of this market, in relation to the productive sector, to the kinds of product, to the professional and educational qualifications of the workers, to the functioning of the informal enterprises within the whole economic process, to the volume of business, to the opportunities and difficulties met by the workers in the informal economy, and to the market trends in the short and long term.

An interesting debate followed the presentation, with many pertinent questions. Officials of various national organizations took the floor, including the Association of Entrepreneurs of Burundi, the National Institute of Statistics, spokesmen from various NGOs, professionals from the private sector and spokesmen present from the informal economy.

The research provides a necessary base for all the activities of the TVET project in Burundi. It gives an analytic picture of the real situation of the informal economy of the capital, hence encouraging the politicians responsible to find solutions and specific policies to improve the social and economic situation of the workers in the informal economy.

From next month, courses of training in carpentry and auto-mechanics will be opened in the Salesian Centre of Buterere and some sessions on business creativity and management of small businesses will be held in the Maison de l’Entrepreneur of Mutakura, run by the VIS in collaboration with the local NGO, ADISCO.