Traders from the Great Lakes Region whose livelihoods depend on cross-border trade will benefit from greater food security, more jobs, and an overall increase in welfare as a result of the US$79 million International Development (IDA) grant and credit approved by the World Bank.
The Trade Facilitation Project intended to benefit the Great Lakes region is designed to reduce the costs faced by traders, the majority of whom are small-scale and women traders, in the surrounding borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
“Regional approaches to trade facilitation are critical to leverage national efforts,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Group Vice President for the Africa Region.
“The three Great Lakes countries included in this project share similar challenges that must be tackled through collective action, and borders are the solution provided they are safe and enable traders to do business in a conducive environment.”
For many communities in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, key markets are situated across the border and informal cross-border trade plays a major role in linking small producers to markets.
“We are pleased that our two countries have been trading with one another for a long time, which can help forge peace, stability, and security in the Great Lakes Region,” said Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade for Rwanda in a communiqué.