KIGALI - The reconstruction of the Rusumo Bridge that links Rwanda and Tanzania will next week receive a major boost of US$ 24 million (approx Rwf14.2bn) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The grant agreement is expected to be officially signed on Monday, September 5, between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, and the Japanese Ambassador, Kunio Hatanaka.
Part of the fund will also go towards the implementation of one-stop border post facilities at Rusumo.
The 40-year-old bridge is designed to safely carry a maximum weight of 32 tonnes, but due to increasing trade activities, it is believed to be unable to sustainably support the heavy traffic.
A communiqué from JICA stated that the grant would upgrade the bridge to facilitate the smooth traffic and streamline customs clearance to ease trade within the East African region.
“The new 80-metre bridge will make the permanent use of two lanes possible while increasing the axle load restriction from the present eight tonnes to 20 tonnes and the speed limit from the present five km/hour to 30 km/hour,” it reads.
“The introduction of one stop border facilities at Rusumo will also reduce crossing time to less than half the time it used to take”.
Rusumo border post is located along the central corridor. It serves as a strategic corridor in the EAC, by connecting Dar-es-salaam with Kigali and is a service point for the DRC and Uganda.
In March 2010, Rwanda and Tanzania signed an agreement to establish a one-stop border post at Rusumo.