Gov’t wants more cross-border markets to encourage trade

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Gov’t wants more cross-border markets to encourage

A border Market in Rubavu district

The Government of Rwanda has committed itself to facilitate the establishment of several markets that would link local traders to those operating in neighboring countries, especially Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As part of the cross border trade strategy, it is envisioned that physical markets be built in border towns to facilitate trade.

Government believes that by establishing cross-border markets between Rwanda and neighbouring countries, the gap between the country’s formal and informal imports and exports will be reduced.

Among the planned markets include Nemba in Bugesera District and Akanyaru in Nyaruguru District for trade with Burundi. There is also Rusizi I in Rusizi District, Karongi (Karongi District), Rugari (Nyamasheke District), and Petite Barrière (Rubavu District) for trade with DR Congo.

Feasibility studies have been completed to determine the profitability and benefits of the markets.

The Minister for Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba has conducted visits in the mentioned areas to encourage local businesses to invest in the setting up of the infrastructure, with hopes that they would spur investment in these areas.

According to the Minister, many traders are exporting goods informally. Some of them even have had run-ins with government institutions because their activities seemed suspicious.

“The markets will help to streamline cross-border trade and make it more beneficial for traders and the country,” he said.

Official figures indicate that Rwanda’s informal exports to neighboring countries in 2011 were higher than formal exports.

The volume for informal exports was estimated at Rwf33.2 billion compared to Rwf21.9 billion for formal exports, according to trade data released by the Ministry of Trade in 2012.

“We believe the markets will help increase the volumes of our formal exports while at the same time narrowing our trade gap,” noted Kanimba.

Among the planned cross-border markets to be built is the Akanyaru market, set to be constructed in Nyaruguru district at the Rwanda-Burundi border. The place is seen as very strategic in terms of business opportunities considering the volume of goods that transit through the particular border.

Last year, Akanyaru border officials recorded goods worth about Rwf1.2 billion that transited through the border.

“If this project is well elaborated and specifically owned by the business community, it is highly profitable,” Nyaruguru District mayor Francois Habitegeko said, encouraging local businesses to start thinking of their roles.

It is estimated that the construction of the border market would cost around Rwf1.3 billion. It would comprise warehouses, a multi-storied commercial complex with shops and offices, food commodities selling place, a motel and car park, among others.

 

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About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

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