Residents upbeat over Rwanda-Burundi one-stop border post

THE ESTABLISHMENT of a one-stop border post at the Rwanda-Burundi crossing in Ruhwa, Rusizi District, has raised hopes among local residents and traders that they will access quicker and quality services while travelling across the borders.
A migration officer attends to a traveller at newly-launched Ruhwa one-stop border post. Transit across the Rwanda-Burundi border will be more flexible under the new system. The New Ti....
A migration officer attends to a traveller at newly-launched Ruhwa one-stop border post. Transit across the Rwanda-Burundi border will be more flexible under the new system. The New Ti....

THE ESTABLISHMENT of a one-stop border post at the Rwanda-Burundi crossing in Ruhwa, Rusizi District, has raised hopes among local residents and traders that they will access quicker and quality services while travelling across the borders.

The border post, launched last week, is expected to bolster trade between the two countries and reduce the time spent on clearing with immigration at the border.

It was inaugurated by officials from both countries as well as those from the regional bloc, the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), and those from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which sponsored the construction activities.

Residents who spoke to this paper after the inauguration said they hope the new single border post will reduce bureaucracies. 

Bernard Kubwayo, a Burundian, who regularly travels to Rwanda to sell food items, said he expects to spend less time at the border before proceeding with his business. 

“We used to spend several minutes clearing at both borders but now that we shall access services in one place it will be much easier,” Kubwayo said. “This is a wonderful initiative from both our countries.”

Juvenal Ncongera, a Burundian farmer who lives a stone’s throw from the Rwandan border, commended the initiative, saying it will benefit residents of both countries. 

Convenient

The resident of Rugombo commune said the one-stop border post will ease movement of people on both sides, which, he said, would further cement existing ties between residents of both countries.

“Some residents (living near the border) used to sneak through porous borders to cross to Rwanda because they did not want to go through the lengthy procedures,” Ncongera said.

“But now that the process has been eased and time (it takes to clear) reduced, we will all go through the legal process.”

Vedaste Mabano, a Rwandan resident of Bugarama Sector, Rusizi District, said he often crosses the border to Burundi where he grows crops in farms across the border.

“Clearing now takes less than five minutes. It is a laudable initiative and we are already feeling the benefits [of the one-stop border post],” Mabano said.
 
Future plans

Under the one-stop border post, travellers access services at one spot unlike in the past when documents were processed on either side of the border. And the clearing time has reduced from about 30 minutes it took in the past to less than five ever since the post became operational, according to officials.

With the new system, immigration, emigration and customs officials from the two countries share offices to ease the clearance procedures for travellers entering or departing either country.

Ruhwa one-stop border post is the second shared between Rwanda and Burundi following the establishment of the Gasenyi-Nemba one-stop border post in Bugesera District in 2011.

According to the Minister of State for Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana, plans are underway to set up another single border post between Rwanda and Burundi at Akanyaru in Southern Province.

Studies related to the post have been completed, Nzahabwanimana said last Wednesday, as he officiated at the launch of the Ruhwa one-stop border post.

“There is no reason Rwandans, Burundians or any other traveller should spend hours clearing at the border,” Nzahabwanimana said.

He also said both countries are discussing mechanisms to launch flights between Rusizi and Bujumbura to further ease business and cooperation between the two countries.

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