Rwanda, Gabon have signed an agreement to launch a one-area-network which is expected to boost business between the two countries.
The move follows the recent polarity of the 11 country strong Smart Africa initiative across the continent. Joining CNBC Africa is Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Executive Director of the Smart Africa Secretariat.
The one area network agreement that was launched by President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the African Union will see the harmonization of tariffs on mobile voice calls, SMS and data transmission between the two countries.
“As more and more of us get involved, the benefits for everyone can only multiply, Connecting our networks and our markets is a tangible realization of this ideal with real results for our people,” Kagame said during the launch .
The ONA mandates parties to exempt regional calls from surcharges applied by member states on international incoming calls and remove any additional charges to subscribers on account of roaming.
International traffic between the two countries will also be tax exempt, consequently bringing down the calling costs across.
Relations between the two countries have seen an improvement in recent times with the private sector the biggest beneficiary of these improved ties since an initial trade agreement was signed between the two heads of state in 2012 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
“Gabon presents itself with a fresh market for many Rwandan products both in the services and agricultural sectors and we expect this to only increase with time,” said Kassim Kanangwe a Rwandan who owns an ICT company in Librevile.
Direct flights to Libreville that were started by Rwandair have also been a major factor in the increase in trade between the two countries as this has eased on the cost of transport for traders, “it is now cheaper and easier to receive goods in Gabon that were previously imported from as far as France,” Elvis Obangome part of the delegation in Kigali told KT press.
In recent times the Gabonese Investment Agency and Rwanda’s development board have shared notes on how best to improve business practices in the two countries.