Home NewsNational Rwanda, Tanzania Take Steps To Consolidate Bilateral Relations, Boost Trade & Investment

Rwanda, Tanzania Take Steps To Consolidate Bilateral Relations, Boost Trade & Investment

by Edmund Kagire
7:22 pm

Ministers Makamba and Dr. Biruta addressing the press on Tuesday. Photos/Fiston Nyirishema/OGS.

Rwanda and Tanzania have taken steps to strengthen further cooperation between the two countries, with the aim of consolidating bilateral relations, boosting trade as well as regional integration, for the benefit of citizens on both sides of the border.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta and his Tanzanian counterpart January Yussuf Makamba, who is in Rwanda on a working visit with his delegation of officials, said that the two nations have agreed to boost trade and free movement of goods and people.

The two countries which enjoy cordial relations have agreed on new pathways of strengthening further cooperation in different areas, including trade, ICT, infrastructure development, agriculture and people-to-people relations.

Addressing members of the press in Kigali following bilateral discussions, Dr. Biruta said that the visit of his counterpart cemented the friendship between Tanzania and Rwanda, and at the same time served as an opportunity to exchange on matters of mutual interest between the two neighbours.

Minister Biruta said Rwanda and Tanzania share strong bonds of friendship.

Dr. Biruta and Minister Makamba discussed numerous ongoing projects currently in development between the two countries, including the Rusumo Hydropower project, which is expected to boost access to electricity in the region.

“Through this important collaboration, both Rwanda and Tanzania will respectively add 27 megawatts to their national grid, starting later this year,”

“Rwanda considers Tanzania as a good neighbour and a valued partner. More than just borders, our two countries share deep historical, cultural and linguistic ties. Kiswahili was added in 2017 as the 4th official language of Rwanda,” Minister Biruta said.

He pointed out that Rwanda also considers Tanzania as an important trade partner, which offers the country with direct access to the Indian Ocean, with the port of Dar es Salaam serving a key route through which goods to and from Rwanda transit.

“It is our wish to continue maintaining our good neighbourly relations through the promotion of increased trade flows, with the hope to continue reaping the rewards of a mutually beneficial economic partnership,”

“Beyond stimulating our economic growth, these trade ties also strengthen the fraternal bond linking our two nations,” he added.

Dr. Biruta said the visit by his counterpart will spur already existing bilateral and multilateral frameworks, to bolster engagement between the two countries, adding that going forward Rwanda will recommit to swift implementation of Agreements and MoUs signed in the past.

The Foreign Affairs Minister expressed Rwanda’s readiness to identify new pathways for cooperation going forward.

“At a multilateral level, Rwanda stands ready to play its part, as a member of the East African Community, to achieve our common goal of a more integrated and prosperous region,” he said, adding that they had an exchange on regional security matters and other topics of mutual interest.

On his part, Minister Makamba thanked his host for the invitation and hospitality he was accorded in the ‘beautiful green city of Kigali’, pointing out that through their bilateral discussions, they reconfirmed the commitment between the two countries to enhance ties.

“We know that Dar es Salaam is an important transport corridor of Rwanda and Tanzania is committed to continuing to make it easier for Rwanda to use the port,” he said, adding that to show commitment, Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) opened an office in Rwanda to bring services close to Rwandans.

Minister Makamba said Tanzania is looking to ease access to the port of Dar as well as movement of goods.

Minister Makamba said that Tanzania considers itself Rwanda’s window to the ocean, adding that “we feel we have a special obligation for Rwanda to use as an access route to the sea.”

He said that his country is looking to fix the road linking Tanzania to Rwanda, revealing that a contractor has already been secured, to ensure smooth movement of goods.

He said his government has reserved land in Kwala, Kibaha and Isaka dry ports to serve Rwanda, where facilities have been constructed to allow Rwandan transporters to keep their goods safely.

“We take this responsibility seriously that the transport corridor has to work for Rwanda effectively and efficiently,” he said, adding that Tanzania will address the issues raised by Rwandan truckers as well as everything to do with levies and other non-tariff barriers, to have a fair and just transport system.

Minister Makamba said the Rusumo power project, covering three countries of Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi, is nearing completion and countries have already started tapping into power from the dam.

He said came with officials in agriculture, ICT, infrastructure, energy and came ready to work with Rwanda in those respective areas. Among other things, he said the two countries exchange grain and that they have an MoU with Rwanda to formalise the business.

He also pointed out that Rwanda is an investor in Tanzania and vice versa, and the two countries can do more to boost trade and investment.

The two leaders discussed ways of easing free movement of people, with Minister Makamba stating that Tanzania is looking to open a new border point with Rwanda, in Ngara, adding to the already existing Rusumo One Stop Border Post.

Makamba, who earlier visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, said that his country will conserve and restore the memorial site in Ngara, emphasizing the importance of memorials, as Rwanda looks to mark 30 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi

“We are here to express our continued brotherhood with Rwanda, through the EAC, AU, and we will continue to play our role to make sure that our region is peaceful and united,” he said.

The meeting was attended by senior Tanzanian government officials as well as the Government of Eastern Province and Mayors of districts touching the Tanzanian border.

 

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