After two decades of inactivity, the Economic Community of the Great Lakes (CEPGL) is set to revive business cooperation among members of the private sector in the three member states.
The collaboration will boost cross border trade, investments, as well as the development of regional economy, according to the business community.
CEPGL consists of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) whose revival is in earnest after more than a decade of dormancy due to regional instability.
Plans to revitalise the partnership were revealed during a meeting of representatives from the private sector in the three countries in Rubavu District that was a follow up to another held earlier in August in Lubumbashi, DR Congo.
“We are developing a roadmap to see how we can enhance operations of the private sector in our countries to boost cross-border trade and investment,” said Eliane Mukeni, a business lady from DRC.
The move will also update trade laws that were established in 1970s, establish a chamber of commerce in all the member states and form an association of women entrepreneurs among others.
“Now that security has improved in all the countries, we ask governments to open all borders 24 hours to allow us carry out our business at anytime,” pleaded Emmanuel Nzungize, a Rwandan coffee trader.
However, traders decried poor infrastructure, poor supply of power in the region, and called upon governments to set up the necessary infrastructure to facilitate trade.
The three countries are presently undertaking a project to put up a 145 megawatts hydroelectric power plant in Rusizi District as well as supporting the methane gas project on Lake Kivu.