Rwanda and Uganda will continue to strengthen bilateral ties on wide-ranging issues, officials from the two countries have said.
They were speaking during celebrations to mark the 54th Independence anniversary of Uganda in Kigali, on Saturday.
The anniversary celebrations brought together several envoys accredited to Rwanda, heads of international organisations, and senior officials from both countries.
The Ugandan High Commissioner to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, lauded the governments of both countries for the cooperation that has facilitated tremendous growth, noting that there is need for the two countries to further strengthen their cooperation on such issues as development support, trade and investment.
“At 54 years as a nation, we are proud of the achievements we have gained on the road to transforming our country, the modern industrial society, we recognise that the journey is far from over, that we must protect and consolidate our independence through education and hard work,” he said.
“On a bilateral level, Uganda and Rwanda relations are fraternal and deep with a shared sense of history and we affirm commitment to integrating our economies and unleashing our trade potential of our two countries. We have witnessed tremendous growth in cross-border investments and particular confirmation of Rwanda’s participation in our oil refinery project.”
Kabonero lauded Rwanda on its transformation, rapid progress, for successfully hosting the African Union summit and commended the country’s role in the area of security.
“Uganda assures you of the steadfast and unwavering support for President (Paul) Kagame as he assumes the supervision of the reforms within the African Union and laud Rwanda on the increased close security operations with our security and police agencies which has resulted in combating transboundary crime and terrorist attacks,” the envoy said.
He also commended regional leaders for their commitment to the Northern Corridor projects framework that has accelerated the deepening of regional integration, increased competitiveness and greatly reduced the cost of doing business, thus enhancing economic growth.
“There is progress in the standard gauge railway with the need to expedite the bankable projects and we look forward to the completion of feasibility study for the Nairobi-Kampala-Kigali line and then funding. We are also looking forward to the launching of the Mirama hills -Kagitumba one-stop border post which has been completed,” Kabonero said.
Justice minister Johnston Busingye lauded the “excellent relations Uganda enjoys with Rwanda” and pledged continued commitment in the cooperation.
“Our bilateral relations have existed for a long time. We have withstood trying times, have prevailed and we have embarked on a common journey to better the lives of both countries and of all East Africans. As a result, the citizens of Uganda and citizens of Rwanda both enjoy the fruits of the close ties in trade and investment,” he said.
The minister added that with mutual understanding between the two countries, commitment to work together will address any challenges.
“I have a deep belief that the partnership between Rwanda and Uganda continues to spur our joint results to greater heights and if we continue to manage it right, it will take us to our common future which is very bright.”
“Uganda has made significant social and economic progress in the last few decades and I wish to reiterate the commitment of the Government of Rwanda to further seek common ground as it strongly pursues the principle of reinforcement on these friendly relations for our common purpose and mutual benefits,” he added.
Uganda gained independence from British rule on October 9, 1962.