The insecurity in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could sabotage investment in Kisoro district.
District leaders sounded the concerns on Saturday during the Kigezi Investment and Free Zone summit and the launch of the establishment of an Industrial park in Kisoro held in Nyarubande village Southern Division. The summit is under the theme: Mobilization of Domestic Investment for Prosperity and Regional Integration, #Invest in Kigezi.
Fighting between Congolese government troops and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels started in March this year, in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province. Rebels June 13 captured Bunagana and neighboring areas after over 150 government troops fled to Uganda in Kisoro district.
Fighting also led to the displacement of thousands of civilians to Kisoro. North Kivu authorities later issued a ban on goods crossing through the Bunagana border to Rutshuru, Goma, and other areas. Kisoro authorities were also forced to shift Uganda Revenue Authority and Immigration Services to the Uganda-Rwanda border of Chanika.
Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, Kisoro Resident District Commissioner says that the fighting between M23 rebels and government troops is suffocating trade between the two countries. Ssekandi says that there is a need for quick deployment of a regional force that will bring peace to the area.
Abel Bizimana, Kisoro LCV Chairperson Chairman said that however much trade between Uganda and Rwanda is improving due to the restoration of relations, trade between Uganda and DR Congo through Kisoro is declining due to the war.
He says that due to fighting, construction of the road from Bunagana border –Rutshuru to Goma has stalled. Bizimana calls upon all stakeholders under the East African Community, Intergovernmental Authority on Development Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to intervene so that peace is restored in North Kivu Province.
In his response, Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance asked all armed groups in Eastern DR Congo to surrender so that they are given amnesty.
Kasaija also asked young generations especially the youth to strive and get jobs in Industrial parks set to be established.
In May last year, President Yoweri Museveni approved the establishment of 25 industrial parks in all sub-regions in the country. He said at the time that the parks will be established in Arua and Adjumani in West Nile, Gulu in Acholi, Lira in Lango, Moroto in Karamoja, Soroti in Teso, Mbale in Bugisu, Jinja in Busoga; Kabale in Kigezi and Rukungiri in Western; Mbarara in Ankole, and Hoima in Bunyoro, Mukono, Namanve, Kapeeka in Nakaseke and Mengo in Kampala.
At least 15 industrial parks have been established in the last five years. The parks were set up in Mbale, Kapeeka, Buikwe, Njeru, Namanve, Jinja, Soroti, Kampala Industrial, and Business Park, Luzira Industrial and Business Park, and Bweyogerere industrial estate.
In October 2019, the government allocated 130 Billion Shillings to facilitate the establishment of 20 zonal industrial parks across the country.
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