The Chairperson of the Association of Kenyans Living in Rwanda, Carol Nderitu, has welcomed the decision by Kenya to abolish the requirement of work permits for Rwandans able to find employment in her country.
The decision was announced last month by President Mwai Kibaki while on a State visit to Rwanda. It came a year after President Paul Kagame removed permits for professionals from the East African Community wishing to work in Rwanda.
During a telephone interview, Nderitu said that the move is an important step towards achieving regional integration and bilateral relations between Kenya and Rwanda.
However, other members of the EAC have not yet scrapped the permits. In Kenya citizens from other EAC members, save for Rwanda, are required to have work permits.
She said members in her association were enjoying an ‘extremely good’ relationship with the government of Rwanda and adding that officials normally attend meetings of her 316 member-group to note issues that they raise.
Nderitu also said her association is inspired by the monthly Umuganda community service.
“We meet regularly to network and find means of increasing opportunities for trade between Kenya and Rwanda, we have also participated in Umuganda activities to have and promote dialogue between Kenyans living here and Rwandans,” she said. She added that the association is set to host its second annual end of year dinner at Kigali’s Serena Hotel this Friday.
To cement the good relations existing between Rwanda and Kenya, Kibaki also promised that his government was set to eradicate all non-tariff barriers to trade with emphasis on reducing weigh-bridges and road blocks.
Currently,30 Kenyan companies have been approved by the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotions Agency while 2,000 Kenyans are recorded to be living in Rwanda.