The Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Kunio Hatanaka, has said that his country will continue to support Rwanda’s development agenda.
He made the remarks, yesterday, after signing a grant agreement worth US$ 24 million (approx Rwf14.2bn) for the reconstruction of the Rusumo Bridge that links Rwanda and Tanzania coupled with one stop border post facilities.
The agreement, which paves way for the disbursement of the funds, was signed between the Japanese envoy and Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“This grant is extended to Rwanda with a view of strengthening bilateral relations and also promoting the economic development efforts of Rwanda and Tanzania,” Hatanaka said.
He pointed out that Japan continues to implement the international commitment made at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2008, which places infrastructure development as a key pillar to boost economic growth in Africa.
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 heavy traffic.
The project will replace the old bridge with a new 80m long, dual-lane one. The new road will ensure safe, steady and smooth flow of traffic within the central corridor.
Mushikiwabo commended the government of Japan for its continued support.
“Our country very much belongs to the East African Community. We want to allow people, goods and services to cross the bridge more smoothly in order to advance the goal of regional integration,” she said.
The introduction of one stop border facilities at Rusumo will reduce crossing time by half.
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 the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
In March 2010, Rwanda and Tanzania signed an agreement to establish a one-stop border post at Rusumo.