Construction works on a new market along the Rwanda-Uganda border post of Cyanika are set to be completed within a period of ten months following the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday.
The construction works, which will cost $1.6 million, will be jointly financed by the Ministry for Trade and Industry, Burera District and the World Trade Organisation, through the Enhanced Integrated Framework.
It will have warehouses, shops, open market, parking for trucks, restaurants and other facilities.
Speaking at the event, Rwanda’s Trade and Industry Minister, Francois Kanimba, said construction should have been completed by now but the first investors failed to implement the project which led Government to mobilise funds and seek partnerships to complete the market.
“The project is part of a wide programme to boost cross-border trade as a way of stimulating economic development. It will reduce the trade deficit where imports are still higher than our exports,” he said.
He said that the market benefits will go beyond the two countries to DR Congo, South Sudan and others.
“We should promote cross-border trading within the region by emulating the European Union bloc where intra-regional trade constitutes 60 per cent of international trade within the bloc,” he said.
In Rwanda, Kanimba said that cross-border trade pumps into the economy about $100 million a year adding that if infrastructure is set up on all borders with incentives, the value could even increase five-fold.
Facilitation by exempting some taxes to promote such trading in East African countries is also needed, he added.
He urged relevant institutions to martial efforts to increase productivity for cross-border trade which will lead to exporting more to neighbouring countries as a way of reducing the trade deficit.
This, he said will be possible by encouraging people to work in cooperatives to add value to what they produce.
Women in cross border trading
Illuminee Mukantwari, the representative of the two cooperatives of women doing cross border trade at Cyanika said the market will reduce previous risks for them.
“Not long ago, we were engaged in smuggling which necessitated us to cross through illegal entry points. We passed through the bush which exposed us to robbers and rapists.
But when we were sensitised, we came together in a cooperative and we acquired training in business management. We got to visit other women traders in Uganda and Kenya to learn from them. So, now that we are going to have a modern market, we shall use it optimally,” She said.
There are two women cooperatives at Cyanika and Mukantwari added that after the market is completed, other women cooperatives will join. She said that they would mobilise their members to eventually buy shares in the market facility so as to own it in the future.
According to Simon Hess, the coordinator at executive secretariat of Enhanced Integrated Framework, supporting cross-border trade in Rwanda aims at improving lives of such small women traders.
Engaging private sector
Evariste Nizeyimana, the representative of private sector in Burera District said there are currently about 3,000 private sector business people with license whose business will be expanded by the new awaited cross border market.
“As private sector in this district, we have gathered Rwf16 million so far and still mobilising more to buy shares in this facility. We have more 30 private business people coming from other areas to buy shares and target to build hotels around to boost the trade,” he said.
Nizeyimana expects job creation from the project has urged business people and other partners to take initiative to learn EAC languages which is crucial in regional trade.
Northern Province governor, Aime Bosenibamwe urged citizens to use the market opportunity to improve their housing and cooperate to establish other infrastructure like hotels with gains from cross border trade.
Source: The New Times