Businesses have resumed: Movements at Nemba border between Rwanda and Burundi

On 9 November 2022 at 01:28

On 22nd October 2022, Burundi announced the reopening of borders with Rwanda. The long awaited decision was warmly welcomed by citizens from both countries affected by borders’ closure for over seven years since 2015.

Located in Bugesera District, Nemba is among most crossed borders. It is reported that the border was crossed by between 600 and 800 people on daily basis before closure in 2015.

Following the good news, IGIHE has visited the border to have a glimpse on the current situation of movements at the border.

We have learnt that passengers crossing the border currently range from 250 to 300 of whom Burundians account for 70% while the rest are Rwandans.

Apart from passengers’ movements, other businesses including forex trading and restaurants among others have resumed operations.

As our journalist visited the border, he found bicycles from Burundi brought to carry various merchandises from Rwanda.

Gilbert Ntamwana, one of drivers crossing the border said that he was delighted with the reopening of borders between Rwanda and Burundi.

“I am excited with the opening of Nemba border because I will be crossing it as I travel to Uganda. Normally, I used to travel to Uganda through Tanzania yet crossing through Rwanda would be a shortcut. This will reduce the time spent on road by eight hours. We thank God for this reopening,” said Ntamwana.

Moses Nkomezekuyisaba from Kirundo Province in Burundi disclosed that he used to make a living from cross-border trade before the closure in 2015.

“The closure had incurred losses because I worked as a businessman with a large portion of goods imported from Rwanda. Now that the border is open, I have resumed my business. I have started buying goods in small quantities to be sold in Burundi,” he said.

Annonciata Mukashyaka who runs a business at Nemba border on the side of Rwanda says that she used to receive a large number of customers, which helped her to feed her family.

Mukashyaka was hit hard following the closure but expressed optimism that the situation will be back to normal gradually.

“I used to welcome over 200 customers per day in 2015. I have been receiving moderate number customers since I resumed business one week ago and hope the situation will get much better,” she said.

Louis Nkaka residing in Nyamata Sector of Bugesera District has said that the requirement to pay Rwf15,000 for COVID-19 test on the side of Burundi is still among barriers hampering free movements after border reopening.

She appealed on relevant authorities to conduct advocacy to ensure full resumption of free movements.

On Tuesday 8th November 2022, the Governor of Eastern Province, Emmanuel Gasana; Governor of Southern Province, Alice Kayitesi and their counterpart of Kirundo from Burundi held discussions on different issues including the amount COVID-19 charged to enter Burundi.

The Governor of Kirundo Province, Albert Hatungimana said that he will forward the issue to relevant authorities to be put under consideration.