BUJUMBURA October 2nd (ABP) – “Are Burundians not made for entrepreneurship?” This is the theme developed during the first forum on Free Enterprise, organized by the Center for development and enterprises Great Lakes (CDEGL), whose mission is to reduce the barriers to prosperity and opportunities in the Great Lakes region.

According to Hicham El Moussaoui, international expert who facilitated that forum, the entrepreneurial assessment in Burundi is unfortunately mixed, hence, according to him, the greatest importance to ask the question of “how young and old Burundian entrepreneurs can contribute to the reduction of poverty”. For him, entrepreneurs are there, but do not have a favorable context to express themselves. Mr. Moussaoui raised some challenges that hinder the emergence of young Burundian entrepreneurs.

He mentioned the financing problem, saying that banks are cautious, because the credit distribution environment is a high risk, which pushes banks to lower the credits to be granted. The international expert also raised the challenge of institutional costs to comply with the law that require more time and energy.

Overall, he continued to say that the problem of unstable laws, policies that change overnight, to the extent that what is profitable today may not be a few months or years later, pushes young creative minds into immobility in investment because it is risky to be committed to not losing money.

Despite that, Mr. Moussaoui advises youth to self-confidence, because this trust helps overcome obstacles. He called for synergy of efforts because undertaking is a team effort. Finally, for him, young people should not hesitate to take risks. It is through motivation and passion that young entrepreneurs will succeed. “In case of failure, we must continue to fail until success,” he advised.

As solutions to the barriers that hinder an environment that facilitates entrepreneurship, Mr. Aimable Manirakiza, Executive Director of the CDEGL, proposes the reduction of regulations. For example, the 40,000 BIF that is required by the Investment Promotion Authority (API) to start a business are high, since an income of one Burundian is US $ 0.8 per day and around 41,000 BIF per month. For him, it is difficult to encourage a young person to set up business with a demand beyond their means. Mr. Manirakiza also proposes the reduction of the procedures for embarking on an enterprise, the permission to set up business at a distance, the decentralization of the regulatory authorities (API, Burundi standardization authority) in all the provinces and the reduction of the documents required for starting up business that cost time and money.

During the forum, Mr. Manirakiza did not forget to propose to the government the removal of the legal barriers, that is to say, to keep the laws that benefit all and to repeal the ones that do not have reason to be. For the executive director of the CDE, the aim is to encourage policy makers to create an environment favorable to young entrepreneurs, so that within a few years, there will be the establishment and blossoming of several enterprises.

For the organizers of that forum, it is essential to encourage the young people and the adults who want to undertake by giving them visibility and by inspiring them confidence, by eliminating all barriers to access entrepreneurship. Thus, solutions will emerge as well as talents in entrepreneurship.

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