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Rwanda Slaps ‘Trade Embargo’ on Uganda

Government of Rwanda has banned importation of goods from Uganda, amid the heightened tension between the two countries.

Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Sam Kutesa announced Wednesday the government of Rwanda had slapped an embargo on all goods coming in from Uganda.

While movement of vehicles across the border had recently resumed normally, Minister Kutesa revealed in a media statement that goods for sale from Uganda to Rwanda are not being allowed.

“What is happening on the ground is that export of Ugandan goods to Rwanda have been prohibited by Rwanda authorities,” the minister said.

“The same authorities are only allowing crossing into Rwanda those trucks carrying transit goods destined for Rwanda or transiting through Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places,” he emphasised.

“Goods from Rwanda and Rwanda registered trucks are not being allowed to cross over from Rwanda into Uganda by the Rwanda authorities.”

There has been fear raised already by various observers and stakeholders on the economic implications of the standoff between Uganda and Rwanda.

Uganda over the recent years has seen a widening edge over her neighbor in the south west, in regards to balance of trade.

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Statistics show that Uganda exports goods worth $250million per year to Rwanda, whereas Rwanda only exports goods worth $16million.

Meanwhile, Minister Kutesa revealed that as a way of implementing the ban on Ugandan goods, Rwanda recently introduced an export permit system for those that intend to export goods to Uganda.

“This is a technical and nontariff barrier to trade, to which there has been no successful applicant,” he said.

“In effect, this is a trade embargo on bilateral trade with Uganda.”

However, since Rwanda closed its border on February 28th, Minister Kutesa says flow of traffic from Uganda to Rwanda has been continuing normally with at least 41 transactions vehicles cleared at the Cyanika border, 85 at the Katuna border and 311 at the new Mirama hills border post.

The Ugandan government, minister Kutesa reiterated, remains committed to ensuring the free movement of persons and goods across borders.

Rwanda accuses Uganda of among others hosting and supporting groups of people that are hostile to the Kigali regime, and mistreating Rwandan citizens living and traveling into Uganda.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame last weekend publicly detailed these allegations, in an apparent attempt to get his Ugandan counterpart to respond.

President Yoweri Museveni however, remains tight lipped on the matter.

The move by Rwanda to ban Ugandan goods could be seen by some as a step closer to military confrontation between the two nations.

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