The Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Burundi discussed bilateral relations during the 3rd Session of the Joint Permanent Commission Meeting held from 22nd – 24th March 2022 in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The main objective of this Meeting was to further bolster the excellent cordial bilateral relations between both countries with the aim of reviewing cooperation in various sectors of Diplomatic and Political Consultations, Trade & Investment, Education, Health, Agriculture, Transport & Infrastructural Development Defence to mention but a few.
Speaking at the closure of the session, Hon. John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic Of Uganda said Burundi and Uganda enjoy cordial and historical bilateral relations which have been characterized by regular exchange of visits at all levels of Government including the Heads of State.
He added that this has also seen two countries come to the aid of each during extreme moments of need where Uganda has been involved in the peacemaking process to restore peace and stability in Burundi over the past two decades.
‘’ Uganda and Burundi are landlocked countries and this session is mandated to deliberate on infrastructure development projects that address our geographical location challenges aiming at making both countries land linked through appropriate road and railway networks that provide easy access to world markets. There is therefore need for us to work together to promote bilateral trade relations between Uganda and Burundi, if the attainment of the socio economic transformation agenda by our two countries, and the improvement of the welfare of our two peoples is to be realized in the context of the East African Community and the African Union Agenda 2063’’, Hon.Mulimba reiterated Uganda’s unwavering commitment and readiness to continue working with Burundi to have these relations strengthened further for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
On Wednesday, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, Minister of Lands, Housing and urban Development of the Republic of Uganda opened the 1st Uganda – Burundi Business Forum in Bujumbura.
Nabakooba was accompanied Mr.Audace Ndayizeye, Chairman of Burundi Chamber, Maj(Rtd) Kyakulaga Fred Bwino ( MP) and Minister of State for Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries –Uganda, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere, Minister of Trade & Industry of the Republic of Burundi and Mr. Badru Ntege ,Chairman Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
Nabakooba said the Governments of Burundi and Uganda are fully committed to assist the private sector grow the business partnerships between the two countries to help ease, identify and resolve challenges of trade through comprehensive agreements under the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC.
‘’There is strong goodwill from the leadership in both countries to grow trade and investment relations, and governments will do their best to support you by creating an enabling business environment as well as address infrastructural and bureaucratic challenges still hindering development’’, Nabakooba said.
Uganda and Burundi enjoy excellent bilateral relations which are historic in nature founded on shared principles of Pan Africanism and Regional integration.
The meeting will review the implementation status of decisions of the 2nd JPC session which was held in 1991 clustered in the sectors of Political and Diplomatic consultations, Transport and Infrastructure development, Economic considerations of Trade, Investment and Industry, and other Productive sectors.
Both Uganda and Burundi have regularly renewed their commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation with exchange of high level visits with the most recent Official state visit of H.E Evariste Ndayishimiye of the Republic of Burundi from 14th -15th May 2021 in Kampala at the invitation of H.E President Yoweri Museveni of the Republic of Uganda. This afforded an opportunity to both Heads of State to deliberate on matters of Trade & Investment, Peace and Security, Infrastructural Development as well as issues of common concern in the Regional and International Fora.
The meeting also laid strategies for fast tracking implementation of decisions of the two Heads of State during the state visit of H.E Evariste Ndayishimiye from 15th – 17th May 2021
The Business Forum Meeting aimed at identifying opportunities available in both countries for trade and investment as well as identify obstacles with the view to address them.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, by 2021, Uganda’s exports to Burundi were estimated at over USD 50 million having increased from USD 37.03 in 2019.
The major Ugandan firms in Burundi which had a significant presence include MOVIT, MOGAS, Steel and Tube, Millennium International Academy, Virat Alloys (former Sembule Steel), Plascon Paints, Techno, Perfect Signs International, Future Media, Radio 10, and Brand Fusion.
Prior to the above mentioned events, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda the Special Envoy of H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda Commissioned the Official Chancery of the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in Bujumbura.
It should be remembered that the 2nd Session of the Burundi Uganda Joint Permanent Commission was held in Kampala on 26th-28th August 1991. It therefore has taken too long to hold the 3rd Session.