7. State-Owned Enterprises
There are five SOEs in Burundi with 100 percent government ownership: Regideso (public utility company), Onatel (telecom), Sosumo (sugar), OTB (tea), and Cogerco (cotton). No statistics on assets are available for these companies as their reports are not available to the public. Board members for SOEs are appointed by the GoB and report to its ministries. The GoB has a minority (40 percent) share in Brarudi, a branch of the Heineken Group, and in three banking companies.
There is no published list of SOEs.
SOEs have no market-based advantages and compete with other investors under the same terms and conditions; however, Burundi does not adhere to the OECD guidelines on corporate governance for SOEs.
Burundi’s program for privatizing some SOEs in the agribusiness industry (coffee, tea, sugar) and telecommunications sector has been suspended since 2015 with no clear indication of when it may resume.
The privatization program was open to all potential buyers, including foreigners, and there was no explicit discrimination against foreign investors at any stage of the investment process. Public bidding was mandatory. The process is transparent and non-discriminatory. When the government intends to sell a business or shares in a business, offers are published in local newspapers.