Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said the closure of the border by Rwanda is a ‘hiccup’ that will not slow down the region.
“Even if the border is closed, trade will go on, only that it will be through smuggling. You can’t stop trade through border administration. People resort to smuggling. Others have resorted to export a lot of things to South Sudan, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania,” said President Museveni.
He was addressing a forum of army officials from 11 countries meeting at Masindi State Lodge in western Uganda on Wednesday.
The army officials are in the country for a one-week study tour of ‘Uganda’s Geopolitics and Economic Development’.
The team is led by Rear Admiral Ross Albon from UK Royal College of Defence Studies.
In late February, Kigali abruptly stopped vehicles from Uganda from entering Rwanda through Katuna, citing construction works.
Rwanda also advised its citizens against crossing into Uganda, accusing Kampala of illegally arresting, torturing and deporting them.
Uganda, on the other hand, is accusing Rwanda of spying on its territory and infiltrating its security agencies.
President Museveni said that market and political integration will stimulate Africa’s prosperity and rapid economic transformation.
“The modern way for prosperity is exchange of goods and services for sell, the more buyers the better. We now have African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) where you can trade with anybody. East Africa is highly compatible, similar and linked. Our fraternity has not been emphasised,” he said.
Museveni added that the East African countries have agreed to work for a confederation of the region to strengthen co-operation.
He described Africa as a “continent of the future with big potential if we get things right”