The Speaker of Sierra Leonean Parliament, Dr Abass C. Bundu, yesterday toured Petite Barriere Border Post and La Corniche One Stop Border Post; on the Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo border.
Bandu and his delegation of eight lawmakers, who are in Rwanda for a five-day study tour, were accompanied to Rubavu by some of their Rwandan counterparts.
They toured different departments of the two busy border crossings during which they heard the different services offered to Rwandan and Congolese citizens who cross to either side in their thousands every day.
Among the services the delegation observed include electronic gates used in immigration self-clearance by the Petite Barriere Border community, health services and Made-in-Rwanda dress-showcasing stand.
Speaking to the media after his tour, Speaker Bandu said that his visit to the border posts was aimed at witnessing how cross-border trade and movement of persons are done between Rwanda and DR Congo.
He revealed that he was impressed by the significant traffic of goods and persons that his delegation saw.
“I think what we have seen here epitomises the kind of development that should be encouraged and promoted right across the African continent because as you know one of the primary objectives of the African Union is to promote and facilitate the movement of persons and trade across borders,” he said.
He added: “This is a fine example of that objective and we would definitely want to encourage both countries to continue to promote trade and the movement of persons across their border.”
The Speaker of Sierra Leonean Parliament went on to say that other African countries should borrow a leaf from the ease of cross-border trade and free movement of people between Rwanda and DR Congo through establishment of updated border facilities.
“There is a lot the rest of Africa can learn from this experience; we wish to congratulate the two governments for having collaborated to establish this modern facility, I would say to officers working here ‘well-done’ and carry on with the good job,” he noted.
Madina Ndangiza, a member of Rwandan parliament who accompanied the visiting delegation, said that the visit to Rubavu border was in line with existing bilateral relations.
“Sierra Leone and Rwanda are sister countries given that they share a lot in common; they (Sierra Leoneans) experienced a ten-year civil war and they think they can learn from Rwanda’s reconciliation process as we went through almost a similar history,” she told journalists.
During their five-day visit to Rwanda, the Sierra Leonean parliamentary delegation has so far visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, the National Commission for Unity and Reconciliation, among other institutions.