Uganda and Burundi have committed to strengthen bilateral cooperation between them as well as improving the lives of people of the two countries.

This was reached during the 3rd Session of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between Uganda and Burundi held at Kiriri Garden Hotel in Burundi from March 22-24, this year.

Hon. John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation of the Republic of Uganda with H.E. Ambassador Albert Shingiro, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi signing the Joint Communique.

The JPC meeting was as a result of the directive of the two Heads of State Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi during Ndayishimiye’s visit to Uganda in May last year and the follow up of the second session of the JPC.

The delegation from Burundi was led by the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Amb. Albert Shingiro and that if Uganda by State Minister for Foreign Affairs John Mulimba.

Hon. John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation of the Republic of Uganda during the signing of JPC.

In his addres, Mulimba explained the cause for the two countries to cooperate in different areas given the fact that they share a lot in common.

He 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, something he said has also seen two countries come to the aid of each during extreme moments of need.

Hon. John Mulimba, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation of the Republic of Uganda speaking at the JPC.

According to the Minister, Uganda has also been involved in the peace making process to restore peace and stability in Burundi over the past two decades.

“Uganda therefore reiterates its unwavering commitment and readiness to continue working with Burundi to have these relations strengthened further for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” reiterated Mulimba.

“While the political and diplomatic relations between Uganda and Burundi have been cordial, the products of peace are yet to be optimally harnessed to promote trade relations between the two countries as they remain low, (actually the lowest in the East African region),” he added.

He explained that: “Uganda and Burundi are land linked 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,” he added.

Mulimba revealed that Uganda is ready to work with Burundi to ensure that all that is required in terms of conducive policy environment is put in place bilateral trade levels between the two countries enhanced.

It should be noted that the 2nd Session of the Burundi Uganda Joint Permanent Commission was held in Kampala on 26th -28th August 1991. This period, Mulimba says it has been too long before holding the 3rd Session, which he said has greatly affected efforts to pursue vigorous bilateral activities on a more sustainable basis.

“It is therefore important we now utilize this 3rd Session to maximize our discussions on issues that should help to improve the livelihoods of our two peoples,” says Mulimba.

To fully achieve the objectives of the JPC, the Minister said will not only require a conducive policy environment, but also enhanced physical and communication infrastructure, to which he reiterated Uganda’s cooperation in its establishment.

“Uganda reiterates its commitment to work with Burundi to explore all possibilities of ensuring that the physical and communication infrastructure is enhanced to boost the smooth flow of trade between the two countries,” Mulimba noted.

He reiterated that Uganda commends both countries for their spirit of Pan-Africanism and constructive engagement exhibited in their commitment to support regional peace and security initiatives against terrorism not only in Burundi and Uganda, but also in the region under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) as well as African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“I wish, on this note, to laud the two governments and their respective Missions in Addis Ababa for their support on AMISOM funding matters during the African Union Commission budgeting processes,” he said.

“The world has just emerged from a two-year lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic. It has had adverse effects on the socio economic wellbeing of the people across the world. It is now apparent that epidemics can spread so fast”

“Therefore it is imperative for us to work together to put in place policies and mechanisms to mitigate and prevent the spread of such epidemics in future. In this regard, Uganda is ready to work with Burundi and other countries in the region to enhance collaboration and cooperation frameworks in fighting the outbreak and spreading of epidemics,” he added.

The 4th session of the Burundi-Uganda Joint Permanent Commission will be hosted by Uganda in 2023 on a date to be mutually agreed upon. Mulimba informed the participants that Uganda is ready to ensure that the next session is held on schedule and a proposed date will be communicated through usual diplomatic channels.

Kungu Al-Mahadi Adam is an experienced Ugandan multimedia Journalist with a background of fact checking and thorough research. He is very passionate about current African affairs particularly Horn of Africa. He...

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