Rwanda: U.S.$53 Million Deal to Boost Cross-Border Trade

Government and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have renewed partnership aimed at accelerating cross- border trade.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and TradeMark East Africa on Tuesday signed a financing agreement worth $53 million grant (about Rwf45

billion) to help support interventions that will result into job creation, poverty reduction and increase cross border trade.

The agreement extends the current partnership until 2023, said Claver Gatete, the Minster for Finance and Economic Planning.

This agreement marks the commencement of TMEA's second phase of interventions which will be implemented between 2018-2023, he said after signing the agreement in Kigali.

According to the agreement, TMEA has committed to work with government and private partners to support the construction of storage facilities around Rubavu and Rusizi ports of Lake Kivu and provide support to Rwanda's plan to develop its industrial parks.

According to minister Gatete, TMEA has been a strong partner of government on a number of projects including construction of the Kagitumba One Stop Border Post, the development of the Rwanda electronic single window and the Rwanda electronic cargo tracking system and investment attraction towards the development of the Kigali logistics platform among other projects.

"These have helped reduce the cost of doing trade significantly not only in Rwanda but across the region," he added.

Frank Matsaert, the TMEA group chief executive officer, said the organisation will also expand its work in supporting the implementation of quality standards in key export sectors like honey, tea, coffee, meat and horticulture, automation of trade processes and work in facilitating trade nationally and beyond Rwanda's borders.

According to Matsaert, the organisation will also deepen its support for women in trade in the area of capacity building.

"The support is geared at creating additional employment opportunities as investors capitalise on the transport and manufacturing sectors and export growth. Our second phase will therefore consolidate successes achieved by our partners and innovate around lessons we have learned so far," he said.

This renewed commitment could result into 100,000 extra jobs for Rwandan in the next 6 years, he added.

A recent evaluation of TMEA's first phase of programming in Rwanda indicated that investing approximately $100million has resulted into a 28% return on investment.

For example statistics indicate that several interventions have contributed to a reduction in cost for transporting containers from Mombasa to Kigali from $6,500 in 2011 to $4,800 in 2017 saving Rwanda approximately $7 million (Rwf6billion).

Equally, the single window has so far resulted into a 46% reduction in average time taken to clear goods from customs and 64% reduction in export release time.

Collectively, this means it takes less time and costs less to import and export products into or out of Rwanda and that has ensured prices of products have not increased exponentially.

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