Relations between Rwanda and Uganda seem to have taken a deeper downward path as Uganda is now using its geographical position to freeze Rwanda’s exports a through her roads.
The issue was revealed by President Paul Kagame at the Africa CEO Forum held in Kigali from 25-26 March 2019.
On the first day of the forum, a wide range of subjects was covered including the economic integration.
This trending African Union, AU, initiative is expected to boast economic development among African countries as to multiply trade’s income, with various other outstanding effects like reducing unemployment, through the creation of up to 1.7 million new jobs monthly to properly satisfy African youth demands.
The AU has created ‘The African Continental Free Trade Area’ which, when it finally becomes a reality, will hit over 100% increase of the current Africa’s internal trade and generating other good impacts on the continent.
This initiative is not yet implemented, with only one country remaining to get 22 countries needed for the ratification to be formerly executed. Expectations suggest its implementation is in the offing.
However, some countries seem to be contradicting these ambitions and acting actually in a way to disrupt them. This has prevailed between Rwanda and Uganda as their relations continue to worsen.
Each country accuses its neighbor of sabotaging its security, with Rwanda accusing Uganda of supporting Rwanda National Congress -a terrorist group aiming at destabilizing the country and letting it conduct their actions freely.
On the other hand, Uganda accuses its southern neighbor of inserting security agents aiming at distracting its security, allegations without any tangible proof.
With all these differences, Ugandan government has gained another tactic to further strain Rwanda, by blocking its exports that pass through Uganda towards Mombasa international port in Kenya and beyond.
Initially, both countries are landlocked but Rwanda is the farthest compared to Uganda when targeting Mombasa port as a hub for exports and imports.
This means that Rwanda relies on Ugandan roads for connection to Mombasa port which is very key to Rwanda as it receives almost 30% of all Rwandan imports.
Considering these behaviors, President Kagame has referred to Ugandan actions as denying Rwanda access to the sea twice.
‘We had containers leaving Kigali, going to Mombasa. A container of minerals was blocked at the border for 5 months with no explanation. A Kenyan company was exporting milk from Rwanda.The containers were held until tens of thousands of litres of milk were spoilt.” He said.
The president also talked about the border issue which has been a claim for Uganda accusing Rwanda to deliberately close it. He attested that Rwanda did not close borders with Uganda amid Gatuna renovation plan which has depleted its flows to 30% or 40%. He assured that the boarder will come to its full operation soon.
“he problem is not the road or the road being constructed. The problem is politics. We have 100s of people from Rwanda, arrested, detained in prisons for years in Uganda, without being charged or appearing anywhere in court” He said.
Gatuna One Stop Border Post is close to being completed as the construction works are at 87% and expected to be in full service by May 2019.
The Africa CEO Forum is organized annually by JeuneAfrique Media Group, Rainbow Unlimited and International Finance Cooperation. The Forum attracted over 1500 delegates from all over the World, including three presidents, EthienneTchisekedi of RD Congo, Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia and Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, with President Paul Kagame as the host.
By The ExpressNews Team