Rwanda-DRC cross-border traders advised to prioritize their lives during lockdown

By IGIHE
On 30 March 2020 at 05:58

The Western Province administration stated that merchants who traded their goods in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have raised concerns that they are making loss during lockdown. They were reminded to prioritize their health and avoid endangering their lives during the coronavirus outbreak.

On March 21st, 2020, the government of Rwanda implemented new preventive measures including a 14-day renewable mandatory quarantine, a complete air travel ban, and closing borders among others.

Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente said that more measures will be implemented to curb further spread of coronavirus.

Since the first patient was identified on March 14th, 2020, the number of coronavirus patients in Rwanda has increased to 70.

Before the outbreak of coronavirus, Rwanda and DRC merchants strived on cross-border trade. At least between 40,000 and 45,000 people cross over from Rwanda to DRC and back for trade purposes via Petite Barriere Border Post in Rubavu District.

The Ministry of trade and industry recently announced that cross-border trade between Rwanda and DRC generated $120 million in 2018.

However, to avoid further spread of coronavirus, trade between the two countries has temporarily been suspended and only cargo will be allowed into the country.

Local government administration in the Western Province stated merchants are concerned they will incur loss during the lockdown and requested to be allowed to resume their activities.

Laurent Nsengiyumva, Advisor to the Western Province Mayor told IGIHE that when new preventive measures were implemented, merchants were reluctant but after penalties were imposed, they have started abiding by the rules. Until now, 639 people have received fines for failing to respect preventive measures imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Uwambajemariya Florence, Western Province Executive Secretary said that the district has started distributing food in Rubavu and Rusizi to counter the negative effects of the lockdown. Essential food such as maize flour, beans, cooking oil, rice, salt, and sugar and soap have already been distributed in many sectors of the country.

Local government administration in the Western Province stated merchants are concerned they will incur loss during the lockdown

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