The Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) has embarked on a one year pilot project aimed at enabling traders, especially women to carry out cross border trade without barriers.
Officials say that the project will culminate into establishment of a modern border market with standard facilities specially designed and intended to help women traders improve their small and medium enterprises.
Lillian Gashumba, the bloc's Deputy Executive Secretary in charge of finance and administration, told The New Times yesterday that her institution was working hard to address the existing cross-border trade barriers.
"We intend to gradually carry out full harmonisation between the partner states thereby enabling traders, especially women, to improve their business standards," she said.
A consultative meeting attended by women traders from the three member countries of Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC convened last week in Rubavu district where participants pledged commitment to improving cross border trade.
Ideas and experiences were shared on how small-scale cross-border trade plays a big role in the socio-economic development of the region. It was resolved that good working relations should be developed to boost trade between the citizens of the three countries.
Gashumba urged security and immigration authorities to join the campaign which has been allocated a Rwf260 million budget.
Bujumbura Province Governor Jacques Minani said this partnership is beneficial because it will enable families to improve their welfare.
Ancelle Mujawimana, a Rubavu based trader says cross border trade partnerships can be compared to development of a child from one stage to another. a"Moving from local trade to more developed international trade is like growing from one level to another," she said.