President Paul Kagame has accused Uganda of undermining the Rwandan economy, saying exports from Rwanda were regularly impounded by authorities in Uganda.
“Uganda has seized cargo from Rwanda that belonged to a German investor and held it for long with no reason,” said Kagame.
He said the same happened to milk exports from Rwanda.
Kagame, who spoke Monday at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, did not provide the details of the seized exports.
However, ChimpReports understands that Spedag trucks carrying a combined 40 tonnes of tantalum and tin valued at about $750,000 (Rwf650 million) (Shs2.7 billion), belonging to Mineral Supply Africa, a mining company operating in Rwanda, were impounded by Ugandan authorities on August 2 on their way to Mombasa.
The Ugandan authorities were questioning the legality of documents issued by the Rwanda Mining Board. The exports were later released by Ugandan officials.
Kagame’s comments come at a time Rwanda is is under intense criticism for blocking Ugandan goods from accessing the Rwandan market.
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said Rwanda’s closure of Gatuna border remained a matter of “concern” to the region.
“… or we have a border in one country being blocked by another country. In East Africa. Really?” said Ruto while addressing the Africa Now summit in Kampala.
“You know that makes us really concerned. We, should actually, be thinking of eliminating work permits. We should be thinking of integrating this region better,” he added.
Kagame today said “the problem is not the border post being constructed, its politics behind it.”
He added: “We have hundreds of people from Rwanda, arrested, detained in prisons for years in Uganda, without being charged or appearing anywhere in court.”
Uganda recently denied the charge, saying law-abiding Rwandans should not fear to travel to Uganda.
Kampala accuses Rwanda of espionage and trying to destabilize Uganda, a claim Kigali denies.
Currently, Rwandans are not allowed to cross into Uganda, a situation that has hurt bilateral trade and also caused a shortage of foodstuffs and other commodities in Rwanda.
Rwandans who are studying in Uganda remain stranded in Rwanda.
Meanwhile, Kagame said the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, especially at national level, will require constant dialogue and flexibility.
“The full involvement of the African business community is critical to keep us on track,” he said, adding, “It is our responsibility to ensure that deeper integration translates into prosperity and well-being for Africa’s people.”
At the Forum, Ali Mufuruki, the CEO Infotech Investment Group, said Africa needs to “not just figure out what our challenges are, but to also understand them. We also need to figure out what our skills are instead of copying countries like China. We have to be realistic.”
At least 1,800 business executives and VVIPs are gathered in Rwanda to discuss great strategies that will work best for Africa’s growth.