[Rwanda] Construction of $2 million cross border market facilities takes off
Construction of new and modern cross border market facilities worth $2.2 million has commenced in Rusizi at the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following the ground breaking ceremony. Hon. Francois Kanimba, the Minister for Trade, Industry and East African Affairs (MINEACOM) presided over the event.
The development will benefit thousands of Rwandans who trade across the border with DRC informally, who already make a significant contribution to Rwanda’s economy with an estimated trade value of US$ 85 million in 2015.
More than one third of the total informal cross border trade in Rwanda goes through Rusizi. Trade through Rusizi grew by 48% between 2013 and 2014.This investment will therefore bring further economic gains for both traders and the Government of Rwanda.
Addressing the crowd at the border, Hon. Kanimba noted: “Cross border trade with DRC amounts to $100 million annually with approximately $30 million going through Rusizi. Cross border trade plays an important role in poverty reduction as it provides trading opportunities for many of poorest people of our society. MINEACOM remains focused in utilizing every opportunity to keep supporting informal cross border traders, in particular women, through creating conducive working environment such as Cross Border Markets and continue to build their capacity to trade.”
The double story cross border market complex will comprise of stalls and lock ups which are divided according to the different merchandise, in addition to storage facilities, wash rooms, cold rooms, and a crèche.
Access roads, paved pedestrian areas, parking yards for vehicles and bicycles and paving will also be constructed to enhance access to the cross border market. The United Kingdom, through its development agency Department
for International Development (DFID) in Rwanda, has funded the project as part of its wider support to trade facilitation and economic growth in Rwanda.
DFID Rwanda Head of Office, Sally Waples, said: “The UK is proud to support the transformation of Rwanda’s economy to attract investment, create jobs, and improve ordinary Rwandans’ lives. We are truly excited about the Rusizi Cross Border Market and its role in facilitating trade, ultimately helping to transition Rwanda away from aid and bring people out of poverty.”
The storage and warehousing facilities will ensure that informal traders can purchase and store larger volumes of goods, lowering transportation costs by reducing the number of trips traders need to make to the market. It is estimated that within its first year of operations, the new market will generate an additional 25% of informal exports, equivalent to $4.62 million.
The market will also act as a catalyst for information sharing between producers and buyers in addition to improving security for women traders who make up between 75 and 80% of the informal cross border traders in Rusizi.
Giving remarks at the event, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Country Director Patience Mutesi said, “this facility is critical to economic development of thousands of informal cross border traders, their families and communities. This is because over one third of Rwanda’s informal cross border trade is conducted here and creating better market conditions will increase incomes, directly touching the wellbeing of thousands of families.”
The Rusizi modern market is one of the projects implemented by MINEACOM under the cross border programme and which aims to strengthen cross-border trade between Rwanda and its neighbours.