Bujumbura - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

I was pleasantly surprised at the cost of living here. Compared to home? That's hard since I haven't been home for anything other than R&Rs where I bleed money from my ears until I return to post... but compared to the other postings in AF I am pretty happy. $2-3 dollars for a dozen fresh organic eggs, South African brands for vinegar, mayo etc., readily available and comparably priced. Coffee is FABULOUS and inexpensive. Cheese is more expensive, but most French varieties are available. There is no cheddar, Monterey jack, or American style block cheeses at all, but you can get gouda and sometimes even find Philadelphia cream cheese (that is PRICEY since it is imported). Our exchange rate is roughly 2000 BIF to 1.00 USD. I spend 18,000 BIF ($9.00) on cheese for the week's meals and 36,000 ($18.00) on 4 fresh organic whole (and plucked) chickens. The Boucherie Nouvelle, Belgian owned butcher shop has most anything you want and many things you may not. There are several employees behind the counter with excellent English skills and they can assist you with all of your purchases. Your dairy products are almost exclusively UHT box style though I have found fresh milk in small containers. Yogurt is available but is either sugary and pre-packaged or homemade - plain and natural. - Mar 2021

Local produce is of good quality and available near year-round. Some items are more difficult to find than others, depending on the growing season. There is an expat-focused grocery store, Au Bon Prix, which carries fresh fruit and vegetables, along with a selection of imported shelf-stable staples. Mutoyi, a local cooperative, produces high quality dairy products (milk, butter, cheese) at reasonable prices. They also sell beef and chicken. Boucherie Nouvelle is a local butcher in the center of town that butchers its own beef, pork and chicken. Prices are affordable and vary based on availability. Fresh breads are baked daily at Le Café Gourmand and are of a very high quality. Fresh fish is available at many different places at very affordable prices. Much of it comes from Lake Tanganyika or one of the other Great Lakes in the region.

Additionally, there is a diplomatic duty-free shop that imports various household items. Limes, mangos, avocado are plentiful, cheap and of good quality when in season. The local brewery brews and distributes Coca-cola, Sprite, Schweppes, Heineken, Amstel and Primus, which are often the same price (or cheaper) than water. As you would expect, locally produced items are much cheaper than those you would find in the U.S., while imported items (usually from Tanzania, Rwanda or Dubai) are significantly more expensive. - Nov 2017

Imported items are expensive. Produce is cheap and very good. - Aug 2015

It is more expensive than one would think, particularly for decent cuts of meat. I do not know exact numbers though. - Aug 2009

Local fruits, vegetables, and meats are inexpensive, as well as locally bottled beer (Primus and Amstel), juice (pineapple and passionfruit), and soda (Coke, Fanta, Schwepps tonic and soda water). Almost everything else is imported (mainly from Europe, China, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa) and is expensive, up to double what you’d pay in the US. Wine costs about the same as hard alcohol. Dairy is expensive and fresh milk is almost nonexistent. Stocks of everything are unreliable, if you see something you want, buy it, because it could be weeks before it shows up in the store again, even the local items. - Oct 2008

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