Burundian businesswoman Samantha Shaza examines the wood she will transform into furniture and explains the dream she has for her manufacturing business.
“I want to be the IKEA of Africa,” Shaza said, referring to the Swedish retail giant. “I studied overseas, but I chose to return to Burundi to make a contribution and to prove it is possible to succeed here. I always ask myself, ‘what am I doing to inspire others?’”
Shaza, who launched her business in 2007 and now employs 33 staff, is one of about 100 entrepreneurs in Burundi benefitting from IFC’s Business Edge training. Shaza took the training with four of her managers and credits it for helping her increase sales and productivity.
“Business Edge taught us very practical skills, such as decision making, and we were also able to network with other entrepreneurs,” Shaza said. “In five years we have quadrupled our turnover and also tripled our staff numbers. Conditions remain difficult in Burundi, especially with regular power cuts, but we are determined to succeed.”
Growth and Stability
Landlocked Burundi, rebuilding after decades of conflict and one of the world’s poorest countries, is charting a new path for growth and stability. The country is also one of eight in Sub-Saharan Africa supported by IFC’s’ Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), which provides advisory support to countries rebuilding after war.
In Burundi, IFC’s focus is on supporting the growth of SMEs, and on helping improve the investment climate. With IFC’s support, Burundi has been a top reformer in recent WBG Doing Business Reports, which measures the ease of doing business in 185 economies around the world.
With backing from IFC, Burundi has enacted a number of reforms that are making it easier to start a business, register property, and obtain construction permits. For example, starting a business in Burundi now involves only four procedures and takes about eight days.
IFC is also helping local Burundian businesses obtain the financing they need through a long-standing partnership with Banque de Crédit de Bujumbura.
- Jason Hopps,
Fore more on IFC's Conflict Affected States in Africa (CASA) initiative, visit www.ifc.org/casa