Construction of one-stop border post linking Rubavu in Western Province to Goma town in eastern DR Congo was launched yesterday.
The border post is expected help meet the required standards of a proper functional border post and reduce the overall transit time for cargo and passengers while easing trade and commerce.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in Rubavu at La Corniche border post, commonly referred to as ‘Grande Barrière’.
The construction, worth $9 million (about Rwf6 billion), is being financed by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, according to Christian Rwakunda, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The Howard G. Buffet Foundation is a US-based philanthropist organisation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalised population.
The government will cover taxes, including value added tax, customs and duty free and the expropriation cost, at $1.7 million. The financer also donated another $9 on the DR Congo side.
Shortly after laying the foundation stone where one border post will be constructed, Howard Buffet said they financed the facility because they believe it will boost trade between the two countries and enhance peace and security.
“It is a dream to see Rwanda and DR Congo sit together to build peace and trade and this is one opportunity to work together,” Buffett said.
The project outlook
The project will cover the construction of border post facilities, including the main building to accommodate all services, passenger car parking and handling facilities, warehouses as well as the heavy trucks transit parking.
Officials believe that this will improve border crossing efficiency and cut down unnecessary costs due to duplication of operations
Rwakunda welcomed the support, saying it was timely and will boost trade and enhance security between two countries as all institutions working at the border will have upgraded facilities.
He said the one-stop border post will significantly enhance the mobility of people and goods at the border and thus intensify regional economic growth through the promotion of market integration, infrastructure and industrial development as well as enhanced competitiveness.
Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) will be the implementing agency on behalf of the government and will closely follow up on implementation of the project in conjunction with the Howard Buffett Foundation.
The construction is expected to be completed in 18 months, according to Rwakunda.
Border communities have welcomed the construction of the border post, saying it will halt delays and cut unnecessary costs.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 people cross the border, where the one-border post is to be constructed, majority being informal traders.
Agricultural produce and livestock remain the major commodities traded informally across the Rwanda-DR Congo borders.