Rwanda and Tanzania have committed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and work together on development projects that would benefit both countries while setting the bar higher for deliverables in different areas of joint efforts.
This was stated by officials from both countries at the closure of the 14th session of Joint Permanent Commission (JPC). The two-day session, which ended on Sunday, was held in the resort town of Rubavu in the Western Province in Rwanda.
The meeting brought together experts from various sectors in the two countries and gave participants an opportunity to review the status of the bilateral relations with a view to boosting the ties, according to the officials.
Officials also reviewed recommendations of the 13th bilateral meeting that took place in 2011 in Tanzania and agreed that, five years on, not much had been done in implementing the recommendations.
“We need aim higher in our cooperation in all fields and set up mechanisms for successful operationalization,” said Amb. Jeanine Kambanda, Permanent Secretary at Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“A lot more will be achieved if we set clear timeframes, ensure progress reporting, and establish effective and efficient monitoring mechanisms, a mandate assigned to the Joint Implementation Committees (JIC),” she added.
She said that the two countries discussed and came up with concrete recommendations on ties in the areas of cross-border trade, infrastructure, ICT, education, defence and security, tourism and conservation, sports, governance and agriculture, among others.
The bilateral meeting also conceived additional sectors of cooperation, namely, health, refugees management, and public service management, according to the officials.
“I want to emphasize that JPC meetings shouldn’t be a matter of routine but focus on follow-up and implementation of agreed decisions. The agreements reached on the implementation roadmap of identified sectors of cooperation and common projects should be adhered to and the set deadlines met,” she stated.
Bilateral relations and political will between Rwanda and Tanzania seem have been refreshed after Dr John Pombe Magufuri was elected Tanzania’s new president in October last year.
Magufuri last month chose Rwanda as his destination for his first foreign visit as head of state. During the visit, Magufuri and President Paul Kagame opened the one-stop border post (OSPB) facility at Rusumo border.
Kambanda hailed both countries for the completion and operationalization of the one-stop border post adding that more efforts will be made to expedite other joint projects.
Ramadhan Muombwa Mwinyi, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EAC, Regional and International Cooperation, said there was consensus on both sides that bilateral projects had somewhat stalled for the past five years.
He said, however, that there was equally a common determination by both sides that the situation should be reversed and urged actors to work hard to implement the recommendations of the 14th JPC session.
“Sectors related to infrastructure development, transportation, energy, trade and industry offer enormous possibilities around which the economic relationship between Tanzania and Rwanda could and should be profiled,” Mwinyi said.
The session’s report will be submitted to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both nations for consideration and adoption.