RUBAVU – The Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) has resolved in principle that the border posts of the member countries will operate 24 hours, with effect from September, 1, 2009.
The member states are Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo. This was one of the resolutions reached at the meeting between the Directors of Migration services and General Commissioners that held last week at Belvedere Hotel in Rubavu District.
The meeting was also attended by a delegation from the European Union (EU) in Rwanda, representative of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the CEPGL permanent executive staff.
Speaking to journalists after the two-day meeting, the Executive Secretary of CEPGL, Gabriel Toyi, said that they discussed various issues ranging from limitations to free movement of labour to demarcation and the opening of new border posts.
The resolutions further state that travellers holding CEPGL documents, national passports, or a Laisser Passer – a temporary travel document, will be exempted from visas.
According to the resolutions, identity cards will also be accepted as travel documents for border residents for a period not exceeding three days.
The meeting also recommended that modalities surrounding demarcation, and the opening of new border posts be studied at bilateral level between respective countries.
The meeting which was chaired by Rwanda’s Director of Immigration and Emigration, Anaclet Kalibata, further resolved that the three member states DRC, Rwanda and Burundi will enhance cooperation by advocating for peace, sustainable security, and economic integration while seeking to improve the wellbeing of citizens through poverty eradication plans.
Kalibata noted that free movement of people and goods is no threat to Rwanda’s security because there are mechanisms for controlling the border posts.
Rwanda offers a 90 day visa free stay to CEPGL nationals and has the work permit waived for EAC nationals.
Toyi said that the EAC to which Burundi and Rwanda are already members would not affect the operation of CEPGL.