The priced shipments, competence and quality of logistics service,

The import process begins by compiling the items to be exported to Burundi. There are 12 documents that need to be prepared in order for the entire import process to be fulfilled. These include the commercial invoice, packing list, import license, tax NIF, amongst others. If items are on the exempt list (fruits, vegetables, fuel, etc.) then they may proceed to the loading zones in the designated ports of their point of origin. Items not on the exempt list will undergo a pre-shipment inspection by customs and an authorized company by the Burundi government, like SGS. Once the items are cleared, they are shipped off to one of four entryways to Burundi. Most will be available at Bujumbura port or Bujumbura International Airport. Most cargo coming from Tanzania will be on ferry from Kigoma on the same lake Bujumbura is on, Lake Tanganyika. Once the items arrive, they are unpacked and Burundi customs evaluates and assess the tariffs they will place on each import category, if necessary. Overall Competitiveness in the Global MarketBurundi’s global competitiveness will be assessed from perspectives of logistics capability & performance, custom clearance ability and documents needed for international trade. The international scorecard from World Bank, which is used to benchmark Burundi’s logistics performance, shows that Burundi ranks 106 out of 150 countries with score 2.51, and its infrastructure only scores 1.98. The scorecard is calculated based on 6 factors, which are “efficiency of clearance process by border control agency including customs, quality of trade and transport related infrastructure, ease of arranging competitively priced shipments, competence and quality of logistics service, ability to trace and track consignment, and timeliness of shipments in reaching destination within schedules and expected delivery time.” Additionally, the lowest score is 1 and the highest is 5. Comparing to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country of Burundi holds a higher LPI score than its neighbors, scoring 2.35 on average, which reflects its regional competitive position. While encouraging, Burundi still has a long way to go to be globally competitive. To a great extent, the poor transportation infrastructure is the criteria that severely diminishes the country’s competitiveness. This is due to the fact that quality and area of coverage determines the speed and result of a nation’s economic development, lead time of shipments and the access of foreign customers and investors. It is apparent that it costs less to import and/or export in Burundi than in other East-African countries, but it takes much longer to process. This dilemma is traced to lack of adequate technological equipment and the excessive documentations required for imports. Equipping customs administration with properly functioning computers or devices with an integrated network system will improve customs officers’ abilities to track and trace consignments. This will also shorten the time it takes to process the documents and lower the queuing times for consignment. Burundi has been steadily improving on its transit process since 2003 but excessive documentations limits the open market for foreign suppliers. There are 13 documents required for importing in Burundi, the United States only requires 6 and 8 in India; lowering the paper trail will greatly improve efficiency. Along with poor technology infrastructure in customs administration, the average time to import is about 155 days, 33 of which are just to be cleared through customs, which is almost 4 times longer than those in China, according to data from Trading Economics. In fact, some countries like India have realized there is some correlation between number of documents required and the trade. India attempted to improve the ‘ease of doing business’ by reducing the mandatory documents for both imports and exports (Venkatachalam 2017). World Bank’s 2015 report listed 8 documents required for Indian imports. Now India customs only requires 3 mandatory documents for both imports and exports. Through merging commercial invoice with the packing list and dispensing with A-1 form (foreign exchange control form), etc. The article is confident that,  “the reduction in the number of mandatory documents would also lead to corresponding reduction in transaction cost and time.  It is expected that this step would not only facilitate the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in respect of ‘Trading across Borders’ but also improve India’s ranking on this parameter.” (Venkatachalam 2017) Although there are some very necessary import documents like the certificate of conformity and pre-shipment inspection, which can safeguard the quality and security of imports to Burundi, it appears that the coutry has to make changes on its infrastructure of domestic logistics and technologies, tariffs and process of the trade to participate into the global market with bigger impacts.  Future DevelopmentEven though the development of Burundi faced so many challenges and hinders, our team still insist that Burundi will be a strong potential market in the future. For example, U.S government has broken ground on its solar programme in Burundi last year. The related official said, “We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas” (Ola, 2017). Meanwhile, through our research, we found some possible competitive advantages including upcoming railway project and potential market shift based on our assumptions. Thus, we believe the viewpoint of emerging market in Burundi is reasonable.Tanzania-Rwanda-Burundi Railway Project Tanzania as a neighbor country of Burundi owns various competitive advantages compared to other countries in East Africa. Its port, Dar es Salaam, is one of busiest ports that contributes the major proportion of import and export for many countries in Africa. The railway starting from Dar es Salaam port (shown as Exhibit 4) will provide an extensive railway network which could not only reduce transportation cost but also increase overall productivity for relevant countries. Burundi will definitely be the country that got most influences and benefits in this project. According to the report from Oxford Business Group, it stated that “in addition to increasing market access and creating jobs, the initiative is expected to reduce transport costs by an estimated $10.8bn over a 20-year period. Investment firm UNITY has said that it expects regional GDP growth to increase by 9%, three to four years after full completion of the rail project in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi” (Tanzania’s railway, 2017, para.15). Therefore, the railway network will help Burundi to boost its economy and improve its transportation infrastructure if we assume the capital for this project is sufficient.Global Market of Tea Products   Tea is one of most popular beverages all over the world. Its huge consumer market and range include all levels of society in most age groups. Tea is highly important to Burundi since the export of tea in Burundi reached $34M and it is the second-most export product in Burundi (21% of total). Referring to Alastair Hick’s article of future development of tea, he indicated that “A wide range of tea products continue to be developed, through product and process development for added-value, as market shares become more sophisticated and competitive (Hicks, 2009)”. As the market of tea grows continuously, Burundi should keep focusing on tea’s manufacturing and relative industries. The high production of tea will be one of Burundi’s competitive advantages in global market in the future.

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