Rwanda and Gabon Launch One area Network to Boost Trade

President Kagame and President Bongo chat at the 27th AU-Summit in Kigali
President Kagame and President Bongo chat at the 27th AU-Summit in Kigali

Rwanda and Gabon have today signed an agreement to launch a one-area-network which will lead to significant reduction of the cost of telecom services between the two countries.

The one area network agreement that was launched today by President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the African Union will see the harmonization of tariffs on mobile voice calls, SMS and data transmission.

“As more and more of us get involved, the benefits for everyone can only multiply, Connecting our networks and our markets is a tangible realization of this ideal with real results for our people,” Kagame said.

He called upon African leaders to join the one area network citing its benefits to the development of the continent.

International traffic between the two countries will also be tax exempt, consequently bringing down the calling costs across.

Relations between the two countries have seen an improvement in recent times with the private sector the biggest beneficiary of these improved ties since an initial trade agreement was signed between the two heads of state in 2012 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

“Gabon presents itself with a fresh market for many Rwandan products both in the services and agricultural sectors and we expect this to only increase with time,” said Kassim Kanangwe a Rwandan who owns an ICT company in Librevile.

Since 2012, Rwanda has been holding an annual trade fair where it showcases made in Rwanda products in Gabon.

“At the initial trade fair we had 35 companies showcasing their products but this number has almost doubled in just four years,” said Francois Kanimba the minister of trade and industry in a recent interview on market diversification.

Direct flights to Libreville that were started by Rwandair have also been a major factor in the increased trade between the two countries.

Flights between the two countries have eased on the cost of transport for traders.

“It is now cheaper and easier to receive goods in Gabon that were previously imported from as far as France,” Elvis Obangome part of the delegation in Kigali told KT press.

In recent times the Gabonese Investment Agency and Rwanda’s development board have shared notes on how best to improve business practices in the two countries.

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