Rwanda, DR Congo pledge to boost trade through transport | New times

The Minister of Infrastructure, Ambassador Claver Gatete and his counterpart from the DRC, Cherubin Okende Senga, had a bilateral exchange on Wednesday December 1 on the development of air, road and rail infrastructure projects.

The meeting aimed at strengthening regional trade services was held on the sidelines of the 33rd plenary session of the African Civil Aviation Commission, currently underway in Kigali.

Officials from both sides were evaluating the implementation of the agreed projects in the transport sector which aim to improve bilateral relations and how they can be accelerated.

Speaking to the media, Minister Gatete said their discussions focused on measures to perfect and pave the way for agreements facilitating air and land movement between residents of the two countries.

“We discussed the railway line project from Tanzania, through Rwanda, then to places like Goma, Masisi, Walikale and Kindu in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said. said, adding that all parties agreed that this is a mutually beneficial project.

Gatete added that the two neighboring countries have a bilateral air service agreement in the aviation sector, facilitating RwandAir flights to Kinshasa, then to Lubumbashi and finally Goma, noting that the national carrier will soon launch a flight to Kisangani. and other parts of DR Congo.

RwandAir already serves Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and more recently Goma.

Minister Gatete added: “We are also working with them on rural construction projects in their country, in addition to a one-stop border post which has yet to be built in Rusizi. We also agreed that we should build four ports at our borders (Rusizi, Karongi, Rutsiro and Rubavu).

The Congolese delegation led by Okende Chérubin Senga, the Congolese minister in charge of transport and communication also reiterated his country’s desire to boost trade and cooperation in Rwanda by facilitating cross-border movements.

Minister Okende revealed that the Congolese airline (Congo Airways) will start serving Rwanda in the coming days:

“As the government of the DRC, we want our populations in both countries to benefit from this cooperation and develop. The ball is currently in the Rwandan arena and as I told my Rwandan counterpart, soon our airline will launch its first flights to Rwanda, ”he commented.

He also reiterated the Congolese Head of State’s commitment to integrate African countries in his capacity as President of the African Union.

“Our president has continued to defend the gear towards regional integration in Africa and the continent must be integrated indeed, that people can live in peace and prosperity,” Okende said explaining that developments will transform Africa. , to replace the continent of divisions. and insecurity with peace and development.

Rwanda and the DRC are strategic trading partners, as the latter is the main destination for Rwanda’s informal exports as it receives 86 percent of all informal goods.

In 2019, Rwanda exported goods worth $ 372 million to the DRC, which represents 32% of all Rwanda’s total exports.

However, this amount was reduced to $ 88 million in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic which affected cross-border trade, but the DR Congo still ranked second among the destination countries for Rwanda’s exports.

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