Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is seeking authorization from his Congolese Counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, to allow Uganda construct two major tarmac roads inside Congo both 100km each.
According to Museveni, these roads would make it easy for Uganda to trade with its vast mineral rich neighbour.
According to local diplomatic sources, President Museveni will seek authorization from his Congolese counterpart to build modern internal roads to link Bunagana-Goma and Beni-Kasindi, each about 100km long, to facilitate cross-border trade between the DRC and Uganda.
“Our countries have signed a raft of bilateral agreements but importantly we have stressed the need to improve the trade relations between Uganda and DR Congo,” Museveni said Saturday.
Tshisekedi was visiting Uganda to attend a meeting.
In view latest statistics, Uganda’s exports to DRC reached $204.31 million last year while it collects $2.5 million from DRC imports.
Salt, Sulphur, stone, cement, earth, plaster and lime account for Uganda’s largest exports to DRC worth $29.4Million representing 14% of the total exports to this vast country.
Uganda, currently constructing new dams, wants to extend its grid across the border to connect Aru city in DRC, a diplomatic communication back to Kinshasa says, as quoted by Congolese Press on Saturday.
Last year, Uganda and DRC agreed to remove non-tariff barriers to facilitate quick trade between the two countries.
Museveni on Saturday said Uganda considers DRC as a major business partner, amid tensions with Rwanda that has resulted into loss of millions of dollars.
Intra-trade loss with Rwanda reached $920 million by the end of July 2019. By February, Uganda’s exports to Rwanda were down from $660 million to about $203 million. Rwanda also reports a loss of about $104 million.
Meanwhile, in 2017 DRC had banned importation of certain products such as drinks from Uganda, prompting traders at the border district to protest the move.
Uganda announced last year that it had secured a loan from the World Bank to construct three modern markets across the border with DRC.
During their meeting on Saturday, the Ugandan government commended the Congolese president for the ongoing military campaign aimed at getting rid of armed groups and specifically the ADF rebels that have a grand plan of unseating Museveni.
Museveni has also pledged to facilitate the return of ex 23 in the DRC.
“We have held discussions, whose key theme was how to make our people prosperous. We both agree that prosperity in this modern era comes from business. If a factory produces quality goods and sells more, it fetches more income, creates more jobs and more wealth,” Museveni noted.