Kigali: Rwanda is among the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states earmarked to benefit from a 45 million Euro regional funding to expand and interconnect key regional transport corridors in a bid to increase intra-trade in the regional states. The fund is part of the three programmes signed between the European Union (EU) and COMESA to facilitate the bloc’s economic integration process.
The 10th European Development Fund (EDF) worth 45 million Euros will connect the Kigali - Gatuna and the Rwanda - Uganda Northern Corridor. According to the Rwandan Minister for East African Affairs Monique Nsanzabaganwa, COMESA countries are devoted to ensuring the operation of a customs union and full integration. Nsanzabaganwa said that they are targeting 2012 to have a fully operational customs union.
She also noted that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is yet to ratify the Free Trade Area treaty, a move that is expected to boost trade with Rwanda.
'Technically it has been approved and they intend to table it before their parliament - which is good news to Rwanda because DRC recorded high cross border trade with us,' she said. A study by the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) conducted between May 2009- April 2010 showed that DRC is Rwanda’s main informal trade partner, as it accounted for 63 percent of total transactions and 80 percent of total exports.