Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville to boost trade and economic cooperation with AfCFTA deal

On 22 July 2023 at 04:45

Rwanda and the Republic of Congo have taken a significant step towards enhancing trade and economic cooperation by signing an agreement under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The deal, signed on July 22, was presided over by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, signifying the commitment of both nations to foster regional economic integration.

The agreement was inked by Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industries, and Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, Congo-Brazzaville’s Minister of International Cooperation. The memorandum of understanding aims to streamline trade processes and facilitate economic growth by focusing on strategic areas of collaboration.

The development was reached during President Nguesso’s two-day state visit to Rwanda where he visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, addressed members of Parliament, and toured Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), among other activities.

So far, bilateral engagements between both countries at different times have resulted in the signing of 33 agreements and a memoranda of understanding.

Among the notable achievements were the bilateral air service agreement that allows RwandAir to operate direct flights to Congo-Brazzaville, the ratification of the double taxation avoidance agreement, and the ratification of a visa waiver between both countries. These agreements will help strengthen economic ties and promote people-to-people interactions.

Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, highlighted the importance of monitoring progress on the signed agreements and ongoing economic projects. This systematic approach will ensure accountability and effectiveness in implementing the initiatives.

The Congolese President, Denis Sassou Nguesso, emphasized the crucial role of the AfCFTA in promoting economic development on the African continent. He stressed the need for free movement of goods and people to catalyze prosperity in the region. President Nguesso also called for concrete and tangible results from the cooperation efforts, emphasizing that signing agreements should not be mere formalities, but rather actions that yield real benefits for citizens.

Meanwhile, President Kagame expressed his commitment to building on this newfound cooperation between Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville. He asserted that both nations should work together to lead the way in driving progress and achieving their shared development goals.

The Rwandan President’s visit to Congo-Brazzaville in April 2022 had already set the stage for mutual prosperity and strengthened the friendship between the two countries.

The agreement signed under the AfCFTA represents a significant milestone in regional economic integration between Rwanda and Congo-Brazzaville.