Burundi – One of the world’s poorest nations
After its independence in 1962, Burundi has been constantly plagued by ethnic tensions. Violence sparked in 1994, causing the country to be engulfed in civil war. Twelve years and 300,000 deaths later, Burundi is still struggling to emerge from all the conflicts which ended after the signing of a nationwide peace deal.
New constitutional amendments
Recent amendments to the constitution of the country has been backed by voters and could potentially allow the current President, Pierre Nkurunziza, to maintain his role until 2034. 73% of voters are favorable to an extension of the current five-year presidential terms to be increased to seven years. The latest changes to the constitution also shift considerable power from the government to the president.
A breakdown of the main laws pertaining to NGOS, now enforced in Burundi
- New administration fees
Aid groups will be entitled to administration fees and on a lapse of each six months, their activities must be reported to the government. Failure of doing so, will entail severe sanctions.
- Respecting the ethnic balance
Aid groups have long been held responsible for their association with Hutu rebels, which is not well perceived by the government. The rebels have been biased to the Tutsi minority during the process of NGOs’ interviews. The new law also demands NGOs to avoid partiality and respect the ethnic balance under the constitution.
- Power to the Central Bank
International charities and rights groups will be impelled to keep their accounts in foreign currency at the central bank. A third of the annual budget will be pledged to the central bank prior to agreement of cooperation approval by the government.
Why have these new laws been implemented
NGOs from Europe are the biggest financial backers to the economy of Burundi. For a long time now, the government has been unsuccessfully trying to control the income source of NGOs – the President suspects aid groups to secretly fund the opposition. Following his recent re-election and the considerable power he now boasts, Pierre Nkurunziza has vowed to take drastic measures to safeguard his country.
The government sanctions are carefully placed protect NGOs from being associated with groups bearing wrong intentions and avoid misuse of the funds that should be dedicated to the betterment of the Burundi population.
How to start or expand an NGO in Burundi
Given the current situation, many may be discouraged to set foot in the country. However, Africa HR Solutions has initiated collaboration with Burundi to help clients expand their NGO. We assist with the compliance issues, ensuring you meet all the prerequisites. Africa HR Solutions can also take charge of employment and payroll outsourcing, tax guidance, immigration solutions, medical and repatriation services and we also provide salary surveys. There is more to doing business with us.
Helping you to implement your NGO and any other business in Burundi or anywhere else on the continent, Africa HR Solutions aims to provide you with the best PEO (Professional Employer Organization) solutions. We are present in more than 50 countries in Africa and have proven and tested solutions with satisfied clients.