• Construction to begin in 2010
The government is currently sourcing out funds to begin construction work on a new road linking Gisenyi in the Western Province and the Burundian capital Bujumbura. This was revealed yesterday by Vincent Gatwabuyenge, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure.
“The new road will improve transportation of goods and people connecting Bujumbura and Gisenyi it will also increase access between the two cities for those interested in activities like tourism.”
He said construction will begin in 2010, adding that the road will enhance the fast tracking of Rwanda and Burundi into the East African Community on top of improving the business environment along the Northern Corridor Transport System.
According to sources from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the road will cost USD: 618m and funds for its construction will be sourced from the African Development Bank, World Bank, European Union, OPEC and the Saudi Fund among other donors.
The Northern Corridor connects Rwanda and Burundi to the coast of Mombasa through Uganda. The corridor also hosts the extremely fertile soils for agriculture spanning the entire western Rwanda, Eastern Congo and South Western Uganda.
Gisenyi and its surrounding area, is agriculturally productive and nearby Ruhengeri remains the food basket of Rwanda with the potential of being a regional food supplier with the availability of infrastructure.
Gatwabuyenge said government was set to hold a roundtable meeting with donors on the 16th -17th of this month to discuss the road construction.
When completed, this will be the third highway connecting Rwanda and Burundi, the first goes through Butare in the Southern Province, the second through Nyamata in the Eastern Province and is in its completion stages (from the Rwanda side, the Burundi side is yet to start.)
Bosco Ndahimana, a food trader in Musanze, welcomed the Gisenyi-Bujumbura road saying that he will be able to maximize his trucks properly as this would enable him to sell agricultural produce to Burundi and that competition for the Kigali market would also be reduced.
Rwanda has in recent times embarked on a campaign of setting up structures to ease the free movement of goods and services in East Africa after the failure to deepen regional economic integration.