The Burundian economy is less diversified. It is largely dominated by the primary sector, particularly the agriculture which alone accounts for over 40% of GDP, contributes nearly 90% of exports and employs over 90% of the labor. Exports are then composed of traditional products including coffee and tea.
The agricultural sector has been struck hard by the crisis effects that hit our country for over ten years (1993-2004) (insecurity, population displacement, disruption of research, drop in seed production and cessation of fertilizer distribution) that have had a negative impact on productivity. Despite these constraints, the agricultural sector offer a real potential for a sustainable and equitable growth, likely to maintain the level of output per capita in real terms, and support economic recovery and poverty reduction programs.
But since 2008, the Government and its technical and financial partners have increased the share of their programs dedicated to agriculture.
But alongside these traditional agricultural products, the existence of the mining sector which is another potential export sector, but clearly under-exploited in Burundi due to the lack of infrastructure (energy and transport), mining tradition, is noticed. Today, research on mineral resources showed that the country had also nickel, cobalt, gold, cassiterite, wolfram, pewter, etc. However, Burundi possesses considerable resources, including three nickel deposits with reserves estimated at about 260 million tons.
The "non-traditional" products were constituted in this case by the vegetables, tropical fruits and out of season flowers. The Government had also recognized that the exports promotion of these sectors could help to diversify the export structure of Burundi. Like this, the export of non-traditional products has surged between 1992 and 1993 but this rise has not been exploited due to the outbreak of the crisis. For more than 20 years, we still recognize that non-traditional agricultural sectors represent an important potential for export and employment growth.
Nowadays, products exporters of these products are then trying to follow suit by exploiting other opportunities offered by the markets in the sub region or other international markets.