- Title: BURUNDI: Kenya crisis drives up petrol prices in Burundi
- Date: 9th January 2008
- Summary: (AD1) BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI (JANUARY 08, 2008) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRAFFIC SCENES
- Embargoed: 24th January 2008 12:00
- Location: Burundi
- Country: Burundi
- Topics: Economic News,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVACBEH20FUDQOT2PULE1G1KAZS3
- Story Text: Burundi is facing shortages of many goods and prices are rising as a political crisis in Kenya, East Africa's business hub, chokes off supplies, traders said on Tuesday (January 08).
Kenya's government says nearly 500 people have been killed in riots and ethnic clashes that broke out following President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election in December 27 polls.
Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, eastern Congo and southern Sudan all rely on Kenya as a business, transport and services hub, and the unrest has halted most deliveries.
Many in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, are particularly concerned with hikes in the price of fuel due to a looming shortage as delivery trucks could not travel to the country.
Kenyan roads leading to Burundi were either blocked during the skirmishes or were deemed unsafe for travel.
"If the price of petrol is raised then the price of all other goods will also increase. It is the poor who need to travel most, using public transport. They are the ones who will suffer. Their leaders are not concerned about their plight. It is the poor who lose out," said Placide Ndayipfukamiye, a taxi driver.
Prices of powdered milk and cooking oil have also doubled in the main market in Bujumbura causing fears of food residents that "The interruption of business in Kenya means that prices in many businesses become very steep. It becomes very difficult for the common man to make a viable living or for him to afford basic needs like food," said Ladislas Nkeshimana who is a truck driver.
Experts predict that prices would stay high for up to six weeks until Kenyan products became widely available again.
Some here blame the crisis on Kenya's leaders and called for them to find peaceful means to deal with the conflict.
"For the citizens of a country to live in peace, their leaders must be at peace with each other. The more they learn to work together, the more the people are able to do the same. Therefore, if there is conflict within the government then we cannot live in peace," said Salum, another truck driver.
Last week, the World Bank and other donors voiced concerns the turmoil could threaten Kenya's impressive economic gains and harm regional economies that depend on it as a business hub.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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