Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Special Envoy for Special Duties, Office of the President, has commissioned the Uganda Embassy Bujumbura Chancery building in Burundi.
He started by observing a minute of silence in honor the fallen Speaker of Parliament, Late Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah who passed on yesterday, 20th March 2022.
He was grateful for the message of condolence from His Excellency Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi, to the people of Uganda.
“Today, marks yet another landmark in the consolidation of relations between our two sisterly countries. I would like to warmly thank the government of the Republic of Burundi for their foresight and facilitation of this process through the allocation of valuable and strategically located land in Kiyange Village, Buterere Zone, Ntahangwa Commune, Bujumbura City, which is approximately 3.25 acres (11,037 Square meters) to the Republic of Uganda to construct this Embassy premise,” Hon Rugunda said.
He thanked Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Uganda Embassy Bujumbura team for seizing the opportunity granted by the Republic of Burundi to implement the construction of the magnificent three-storeyed building to house the Chancery.
“I extend my appreciation to the contractors for the job well done.”
He said 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.
“I hasten to add that for the case of Burundi, the decision of the Government of Uganda to construct this Chancery in Bujumbura was further informed by the strong bond of friendship that our people and governments have built and enjoyed from well before we both attained independence till today.”
According to Rugunda, 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.
He said Uganda and Burundi enjoy common aspirations particularly in the areas of security, peace and integration in the region and Africa at large.
“Both 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.
“On behalf of the government of Uganda, I congratulate the government and people of Burundi on the well negotiated and executed processes and ensuring that peace prevails and rebuilding of the country takes centre stage. Indeed, Burundi walks the talk of the doctrine “African solutions to African problems”,” Rugunda said.
“In a special way, I wish to underscore the important role played by our leaders towards nurturing this relationship including the exchange of visits at the highest level. The most recent visit of His Excellency President Evariste Ndayishimiye, to Uganda at the invitation of His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, from 11th to 14th May 2021 among others recalled the purpose of holding of the 3rd Session of the Uganda-Burundi Joint Permanent Commission.”
The commissioning of this 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.
He 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 our two peoples, promoting sustainable people to people relationship beyond government; and increasing of house hold incomes and livelihood of our two peoples.
He said the volume of trade between the two countries has remained low with Uganda exporting goods worth US$64.99million and importing goods worth US$25.46milion from Burundi.
“However, 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.”
According to Rugunda, 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.
“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.”
The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Ambassador Albert Shingiro, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Heads of UN Agencies and International Organizations, Senior officials from the Government of Burundi and Government of Uganda Present, and Ugandan Nationals Living in Burundi.