Rwanda and DRC Strengthen Economic Ties Through Ambitious Infrastructure Projects

Last week, a high-level delegation led by Mr. Fidele Abimana, the Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure (MINIFRA), and Lynder Nkuranga, from the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration (DGIE), toured major infrastructure projects in the economic corridor connecting Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This visit underscores the ongoing commitment to fostering regional integration and enhancing cross-border trade efficiencies, as well as economic prosperity, in the Great Lakes region.

Including representatives from the Rusizi District administration, the European Union (EU), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and TradeMark Africa (TMA), the delegation inspected the progress of the Rusizi II One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs), currently under construction. These projects, integral parts of the “Secure Cross-border Social Economic and Commercial Activities in the Great Lakes Region” initiative, funded by the EU and implemented by IOM and TMA, are on track to be completed in the coming months. The project at Rusizi II OSBP on the Rwandan side has reached 87% completion, with Rusizi II OSBP on the DRC side reaching 77% completion.

Rwanda and DRC Strengthen Economic Ties Through Ambitious Infrastructure ProjectsThe Projects Oversight Committee (POC) issued a series of recommendations to fast-track the completion of the Rusizi/Rusizi II OSBP. Among them, MININFRA, in collaboration with the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), is assessing the maintenance needs of the road leading to the OSBP. This is part of a broader strategy to ensure that all infrastructural elements are primed to support the increased traffic and logistical demands anticipated upon the project’s completion.

Environmental sustainability and infrastructure integrity are prioritised, with specific actions directed at enhancing water management by clearing and preventing blockages at critical drainage points, alongside soil erosion control measures such as the strategic planting of grass and trees. Electrical safety and efficiency are also prioritised, with the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) playing a significant role in inspecting and testing major electrical components like MV transformers and switchgear prior to installation. Efforts to enhance the internal environment of the OSBP facilities include boosting natural ventilation and lighting, ensuring both comfort and energy efficiency.

Rwanda and DRC Strengthen Economic Ties Through Ambitious Infrastructure Projects

The TMA team also visited Rusizi Port and concluded the mission at the newly established Rubavu Port, highlighting the extent of ongoing efforts to enhance infrastructure along this crucial economic corridor. These developments are expected to significantly impact the economic landscape, promoting stronger economic partnerships and smoother trade operations between Rwanda and the DRC, thus contributing to the overall stability and growth of the region.

As these projects near completion, the ongoing collaboration among all stakeholders remains essential. The POC continues its community engagement efforts, with awareness campaigns in collaboration with local authorities to ensure the public fully understands and benefits from the OSBP. Ultimately, these efforts are integral to supporting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Free Movement Protocol, marking a significant shift towards enhanced trade, stabilisation, and economic growth across the region.