Covid-19 pandemic is a barrier to most of the people who are neighbours to the borders as their businesses stopped to abide by the guidelines of prevention of the new spread.
This pandemic that left many Rwandans in extreme poverty did not only affect traders or other business operators but also other people who were working in the informal sector, including construction.
The citizens say that life can become good when the borders reopen.
“Everyone here in Rusizi was affected by the impacts of covid-19 especially drivers, potters and builders who used to go to DRC. The response can be to reopen borders to allow people resume activities.” Said Bigirimana Olivier, a motorcycle driver at Kamembe border.
Emmanuel Munyandinda, a builder in Rusizi district said that workers in the construction sector stayed jobless with poor living conditions during the lockdown.
He used to provide for his family after spending time at construction sites in Rusizi town and even beyond the border.
Speaking to THE Express News, he said that he is waiting for the opportunity of the road Nyamagabe – Rusizi, passing into Nyungwe forest that is under construction to give him a job.
“I am waiting for the road to reach near our neighborhoods so that I can get an opportunity to have a job. Since the pandemic came, I am jobless. I worry about getting school fees for my children.” He said.
According to Euphrem Kayumba, the mayor of Rusizi district, Covid-19 caused a huge loss to the citizens and the district in general.
“We have faced a huge loss due to the pandemic but we have not yet done a clear research to know how much billions we lost. So, cross border trade was disrupted when we think of the number of people who were running their businesses to DRC.” He said.
“I will talk about construction in two major ways, first, there are some Rwandans who used to go for construction works in the DRC, these ones could not continue their works because borders are still close, they also faced challenges in one way or another, on the other hand, construction activities in Rusizi moved backward, an example is about the hotels which were still at the beginning and covid-19 could not allow them to continue building, it will require them to go back and start activities where they were stopped in order to have strong buildings,” he added.
He said that the impacts of the pandemic affected traders who were working in the new construction as they left the business due to lack of clients, the issue that also affected owners of these buildings because they could not get rental fees.
“This is because the movements of people who come and go to DRC are reduced, involving the poverty of traders as their capital decreased instead of increasing. This kind of loss did not only affect traders who work in the buildings, but also the owners of the buildings,” he noted.
The Express News