Rwanda Coronavirus Update 20th June: Cross-border Trade in Progress Despite COVID-19
The Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete has said that cross border trade is progressing well, despite the measures in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. “Trade is going well. In 24 hours, we receive between 400 and 500 cross border trucks at Rusumo border. Sometimes they are more. At Kagitumba, it is between 45 and 60 while at Cyanika, they are between 9 and 15.”
Rusumo is Rwanda’s gateway to Tanzania on the Central Corridor while Kagitumba and Cyanika link Rwanda to Uganda and serves as the gateway to the port of Mombasa in Kenya, through the Northern Corridor.
Gatete disclosed this during a news conference held in Kigali on Friday, to give an update on cross border movement of goods. Currently, the country’s borders are closed and only freight transport trucks and returning Rwandans and citizens are allowed into the country.
In May, over 1,000 trucks destined for Rwanda were stuck at the Tanzanian border town of Benako, after some Tanzanian truck drivers protested the requirements by Rwanda to adopt a relay system handing over their trucks to Rwandan drivers.
This was solved, after it was agreed that goods destined for Rwanda would be offloaded at border points with the exception of perishable goods and petroleum products which are escorted at no cost to their final destinations, among other resolutions.
Gatete said that all this was put in place, with a primary objective of minimizing the spread of coronavirus.
The restoration of normalcy at the borders was confirmed by the Chairman of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Robert Bapfakurera that although not at full capacity, business generally has been going well. “Where we are from to where we are now, things are fine.
“We are going to work with hotels, some of which are still closed because their business mainly depends on tourism. Some tourists come from other countries, but now all borders are closed,” he said.
Bapfakurera added that the government is doing what is possible to reopen borders, but with some guidelines.
As of June 18, Rwanda had 646 cases of Covid-19, where active cases were 294, and recoveries 350. There have been 2 deaths.
Majority cases are from Rusumo and Rusizi, places that border Tanzania and DR Congo respectively.
Gatete and Bapfakurera both agree that collective effort by all countries in the prevention of the pandemic is needed if Covid-19 is to be defeated.