Rwandans, Burundians urged to be more competitive

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of EAC, Robert Ssali, has called on Rwandans and Burundians to avoid complaining that other countries have taken over their market saying that they should also strive to effectively benefit from the bloc.
(L-R) Robert Sali the Permanent Secretary of EAC Ministry together with Duncan Okello regional Director of SID during the meeting yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
(L-R) Robert Sali the Permanent Secretary of EAC Ministry together with Duncan Okello regional Director of SID during the meeting yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of EAC, Robert Ssali, has called on Rwandans and Burundians to avoid complaining that other countries have taken over their market saying that they should also strive to effectively benefit from the bloc.

Ssali made the remarks at a one-day meeting where Burundi and Rwanda convened to discuss the challenges they are facing in integration process as well as obtaining common ways on how the two can benefit from the bloc.

Since the two countries joined the EAC in 2007, countries like Kenya and Uganda have continued to dominate the market using the vast experience and their booming economies.

Professionals, especially teachers as well as business persons from other East African countries, are attracted to Burundi and Rwanda in search of jobs and markets

Ssali noted that when the two countries joined the regional bloc,, it was not by mistake.

“We joined the EAC not to lose; we wanted to benefit as member countries. If Kenyans and Ugandans are taking over the local market you should not sit back; we must be aggressive and complete favourably for the benefit of our countries,” he said.

Ssali acknowledged that unless the nationals from the two countries change their mindset towards service delivery, other experienced people from the region will continue dominating the market.

Thaddee Siryuyumunsi, the Director General in Burundi’s Ministry of Information and Communication, pointed out that Kenyans and Ugandans have also entered into informal jobs that can be done by uneducated nationals.

“For example, in the northern part of Bujumbura, Kenyans and Ugandans are roasting meat, they are working in hair salons and markets. Our people are just pushed deep in villages,” the Burundian official complained.

He, however, added they are ready to draw lessons from the regional countries that will help them to compete favourably in regional market.

During the meeting, Society for International Development (SID) an international organisation, showcased a book indicating that undeveloped infrastructure, energy shortages and trade restriction as some of the factors hampering regional trade.

The book that contains research data from all member countries, focused on various sectors like trade, education, media and labour. It was aimed at assessing the rate of integration as well as achievements and challenges faced in the process.

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