BUJUMBURA — The Chancery building of the Embassy of Uganda in Bujumbura, Burundi has officially opened on Monday.
The building, located in Kiyange Village, Buterere Zone, Ntahangww Commune, Bujumbura City sitting on 3.25 acres an upscale suburb of Bujumbura city, will house Uganda’s diplomatic mission in Burundi.
It was inaugurated by the minister of foreign affairs, former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who represented President Yoweri Museveni.
“Today, marks yet another land mark in the consolidation of relations between our two sisterly countries,” Dr. Rugunda said, noting that the Government of Uganda has noted with concern the increasing costs of renting premises in the various capitals around the World, and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came up with a policy of acquiring properties abroad to help reduce on the overhead costs.
For the case of Burundi,
Dr. Rugunda said the decision of the Government of Uganda to construct the Chancery in Bujumbura was further informed by the strong bond of friendship that the people and governments have built and enjoyed from well before “we both attained independence till today.”
“The Government of Uganda also deliberately decided to award the contracts for construction and consultancy to Burundian companies with the sole aim of contributing to the strengthening of local Burundian capacity.”
“Therefore, this Chancery building before us today does not only testify that our vision of acquiring property abroad is achievable but makes a bold statement that Uganda is here to stay and that Burundi is on the rise, peaceful and a reliable partner in the region.”
He implored the Uganda Embassy staff to maximally utilize the building to show value for money through promoting trade and business between Uganda and Burundi, enhance people-to-people as well as government-to-government contacts for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Uganda and Burundi enjoy common aspirations particularly in the areas of security, peace and integration in the region and Africa at large.
Dr. Rugunda said countries share the same vision on East African Community cooperation and Africa integration from which the region would reap benefits in the form of a larger market, a stronger bargaining power, and infrastructural development and are firm promoters of the African Union Agenda 2063, “the Africa we want”.
“Uganda and Burundi are bonded by their commitment in championing a secure and peaceful region which is demonstrated through the contribution of troops under AMISOM”.
“Uganda has also supported the peace-making processes in the Republic of Burundi. Uganda actively participated in the negotiated Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in August 2000 under the Chairmanship of H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and is one of the guarantors of the Arusha Peace Accord”.
The commissioning of the Chancery building comes on the eve of the 3rd Session of the Uganda – Burundi Joint Permanent Commission which had taken a long time since the holding of the Second Session in Kampala, Uganda.
Rugunda encouraged the two respective sides to use this impetus to agree on a framework that can improve trade relations between the two countries as the most practical roadmap towards promoting the much-desired socio-economic transformation of two peoples.
The volume of trade between two countries has remained low with Uganda exporting goods worth US$64.99million and importing goods worth US$25.46milion from Burundi.
However, Dr. Rugunda said there is a lot of room for the two countries to enhance trade, business and investment relations.
“Yesterday, unlike on previous occasions, I flew here directly from Entebbe by Uganda Airlines. I am also informed that this Airline plies the Entebbe-Bujumbura route four times a week and is set to increase this frequency to six times a week at the end of this month. This is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to address the barriers to trade, through provision of direct connectivity and ultimately, cutting down the costs of doing business.”
He added: “I therefore, wish to urge the private sector players, the business people and entrepreneurs to join hands with our governments, and take advantage of the strong foundation of bilateral relations, the goodwill of the leaders and the conducive and enabling environment existing in both countries, to grow trade and investments.
“I am also glad that the Uganda – Burundi Business Forum will be taking place on Wednesday, 21st March 2022, here in Bujumbura. I call on the business people to utilize this opportunity to establish new partnerships for the mutual benefit of our two countries.”