The Ministry of Trade and Industry says that trade between Rwanda and East African Community (EAC) countries reduced by 8% in 2020 compared to the previous year due to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
Beata Habyarimana, Minister of Trade and Industry informed Parliament yesterday, that when Covid-19 hit the country and the region since March 2020, some borders were closed to stop further spread of the virus.
Ever since, general trade in the block was affected at a rate of 244%. Thus, Rwanda failed to achieve its earlier target of Rwf57billion in cross-border trade in 2020.
The trade reduced from $589 million in 2019 to $544milion in 2020, representing a drop of Rwf45 Billion.
The locally-made products exported to EAC countries were affected at the rate of 53.2%. However, the imported commodities increased by 3.7%.
Senators urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry to accelerate COVID-19 recovery strategies.
They said cross-border trade is key and finding solutions for reported challenges that have complicated trade-in EAC countries is paramount.
“We have established infrastructures that will facilitate cross border trade and improve it, like in the transportation sector, custom services, tourism and hospitality, industry and manufacturing of local products,” Habyarimana said.
She also informed parliament that other solutions are improving agriculture production and financially supporting cross-border traders that were affected by the Covid-19.