RUSIZI – In a week’s time, Nkombo Island, located on Lake Kivu, will receive a boat worth Rwf200 million to help address local transport challenges.
The vessel, with a capacity of 95 people and 40 tonnes of cargo, is a present from President Paul Kagame, and is expected to help the islanders to easily connect with other people.
“We are making final touches on the boat. What is still remaining is installing storage space and a place for a television screen,” said Theodore Gakuba, head of Onatracom, the national public transport company, which is working on the boat.
Apart from helping the residents cross over to Rusizi, the boat is expected to boost Nkombo’s economy.
“We are considering ways it will be used to transport cargo and people around Lake Kivu. The money earned will be used to pay the boat attendants, while the rest will be loaned to residents through Umurenge Sacco,” said Marcel Habyarimana, vice mayor (economic affairs), Rusizi District.
Meanwhile, Nkombo residents are optimistic of the opportunities the vessel will bring.
“Previous governments isolated us. We were totally cut off from the rest of Rwanda. We were referred to as Congolese whenever we went to Rusizi for shopping, yet across the border, in the DRC, they would also call us Rwandans,” said Erineste Nzamwita, a fisherman.
“With this boat and all the other development projects the current government is delivering to us, Nkombo will certainly develop even further than many other areas,” observed Nzamwita.
Over the years, accessing Nkombo was a major challenge.
“With this boat, I am sure more people will visit and tour Nkombo,” said 68-year old Lenny Ugirashebuja, a local resident.
The boat is set to start operations next week.