THE NEW TIMES
by Jean Pierre BUYENSENGE
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23 July 2013
Ministers Rurimunzu (L) and Nzahabwanimana open the Ruhwa One Stop Border Post. Photo: The New Times/J.P. Bucyensenge
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.
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.
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.
Rwanda, Burundi establish second one-stop border post
A one stop border post has been established at Ruhwa in Rusizi District order to reduce the amount of time spent by traders clearing goods at the Rwanda-Burundi border.
The one-stop border post is also expected to bolster trade between the two countries and see an infrastructure overhaul at the border area, according to the Minister of State for Transport, Dr Alexis Nzahabwanimana.[read all…]
Read also UN Services’ article on Progress in Burundi:
UN Envoy Lauds Progress in Burundi, Cautions That Hurdles Remain On Path to Stability
Burundi has made progress on a number of fronts in recent months but still faces numerous challenges, including a weak economy, cross-border incursions and a “mixed” human rights situation, the top United Nations envoy to the country told the Security Council today.
Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Burundi, reported that there have been “significant” advances in terms of political dialogue over the past six months. [read all…]