The Rwanda delegation was made of Health Minister Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Trade and Industry Minister Soraya Hakuziyaremenye and Local Government Minister Prof. Anastase Shyaka, among others, while their Congolese counterparts were Innocent Bokele Walaka, the deputy minister for internal affairs, the deputy minister of health – Dr. Albert M’PETI Biyombo and the Governor of North Kivu Province, Carly Kasivita Nzanzu, in Rubavu District in a closed door meeting that lasted over five hours.
Officials from both sides noted that the bilateral meeting was made possible thanks to the political will by heads of state of the two countries. They discussed collaborations towards improving public health in the two countries.
The purpose of the meeting was to formulate proposals for high-level political commitments meant to guide the strengthening of cross-border cooperation in surveillance of Covid-19 pandemic and its implication for cross-border trade in compliance with the specific measures taken by either country.
These two teams discussed about the measures to be taken to ensure the continuity of commercial activities and the cross border movement of essential goods notably medicines, medical equipment and basic necessities.
According to a statement signed by the two countries after the meeting, it was agreed to encourage traders to operate in cooperatives in order to reduce the number of people who would have to cross the border on daily basis; this implies that respective cooperatives will designate emissaries to transact on their behalf across borders. The statement says that goods by informal cross border traders will continue to benefit from a simplified declaration and preferential tariff.
Minister Ngamije noted that the bilateral meeting was crucial towards containing the spread of coronavirus while allowing for resumption of cross-border movement in compliance with measures taken by either country in a bid into curb the pandemic.
“Both countries agreed on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 through sharing information on those who tested positive in a move to trace groups of suspected cases. We also discussed ways cross border trading should resume without disregarding measures to contain this pandemic,”
Ngamije said also that they agreed to set up a technical team of focal persons from respective sectoral ministries to coordinate the implementation of the meeting resolutions.
Deputy Minister Bokele Walaka said “We are happy as we share same ideas with Rwanda towards fighting COVID-19, we are therefore set to put this pandemic to an end through sharing experience and best practices,”