Delegations from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have met to enhance trans-border cooperation in order to strengthen #Covid-19 surveillance and trade between the two countries.
Officials from both countries met this Thursday in Rubavu district in Western Rwanda, making the first face-to-face meeting since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in Rwanda, March 13.
Both parties met to discuss and agree on concrete measures to control coronavirus spread especially with their cross border trade activities.
The Rwanda team was led by Rwanda’s minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije and consisted of ministers of local government, trade and industry, Professor Anastase Shyaka and Soraya M. Hakuziyaremye respectively.
Ngamije said that the objective of the meeting is for both countries to share common understanding on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic since both share a common border and cross border trade must continue across all sides.
“Trade between both countries is needed but during this coronavirus pandemic we have to put in place measures, like compulsory Covid-19 testing so that we can control the virus spread across the borders,” Ngamije said.
The discussion with DRC comes just after Rwanda and Tanzania have also agreed on a common ground to test and control coronavirus spread which is currently significant among cross border movements especially with truck drivers.
The DRC team, led by Internal minister, Innocent Bakole Walaka, said that his country has been equally affected by the coronavirus crisis which called for closure of border activities and putting in place strict measures.
“Even with these measures, we had to open cross border trade because trade is needed for both sides, however we have agreed on enforcement of control measures as a way forward,” Walaka told Kigalitoday.com.
Rwanda and DRC depend on each other largely through cross border with the Rubavu- Goma border being a central corridor for Rwanda’s vegetable, food and meat exports across its neighbors, while DRC is essential for the timber and wood needed in Rwanda.
This year, the Ministry Trade reported that Rwanda managed to close the gap imports in 2012, by increasing its exports to a tune of $411 million which are higher compared to imports worth $374 million.