The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has signed a deal with its Burundi counterparts that will increase trade and investments between the two countries.

The deal will see Kenyan traders take part in the annual Burundi trade fair and spur investments in sectors including energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and logistics.

KNCCI President Richard Ngatia said the agreement will ease access for traders, banking on the vast population that offer huge market opportunities.

Exports to the landlocked nation marginally grew to Ksh6.73 billion ($62.4 million) in 2019 from Ksh6.59 billion ($61.1 million) in 2015, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

“The private sector is the key to driving the growth that will deliver jobs, transform labor markets and open up opportunity. Kenya has the companies that can invest in and trade with Burundi to do just this,” Mr Ngatia said.

The deal will help the local private sector to increase and diversify their presence in Burundi— a nation that has not seen significant investments relative to Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

The deal comes at the back of bilateral agreements on trade and investment to strengthen economic ties between the two states signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Burundian counterpart, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Under the agreement, KNCCI will also send a trade delegation to Burundi with the aim of opening up more opportunities as part of the two chambers to increase job opportunities.

KNCCI and the Burundi Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BFCCI) signed the deal during President Ndayishimiye’s two-day visit of the country.

President Ndayishimiye and Mr Kenyatta signed deals on agriculture, livestock and fisheries as part of opening up trade between the two countries.

The two heads of State directed their respective ministries to address barriers that have hindered use of use of Lake Victoria as a means of transportation between the two countries.