Rwandair cuts fares in response to Kagame’s request

Part of lake Kivu in Cyangugu, Rwanda

Part of lake Kivu in Cyangugu, Rwanda

Rwanda’s national carrier Rwandair has finally cut down the cost of fares from Kigali to Kamembe, Cyangugu, town at the border with DR Congo’s Bukavu, barely days after President Paul Kagame requested that the charges be reduced so as to enable Rwandans travel easily locally.

On June 29, 2015 Kagame visited the western region where residents said that the travel fares by air were a major impediment to connecting the region to the rest of the country.

Kagame responded by requesting flight fares to Kamembe airstrip be reduced so as to enable Rwandans to access Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts, which have for long been kept away from the rest of the country due to distance and transportation challenges.

The ministry of Infrastructure has said via its twitter handle , the fares have been reduced from USD185 (rwf130, 000) to USD132 (Rwf93, 000) making reduction equivalent to USD53 (Rwf37, 000).

Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts (formerly Cyangugu province) are located in the western region near the eastern Democratic republic of Congo and are mainly connected by one airfield; Kamembe.

A flight takes 30 minutes from Kigali to Kamembe in Rusizi, which is a close to 7 hour-drive by road.

During the Juvenal Habyarimana’s era, this ‘far west’ region was addressed as ‘friends of Rwanda’ in politicians’ speeches.

Besides being distant, the region has for years also been denied access to the national radio and TV broadcasts and the president said that he is personally going to ensure that this long standing issue is resolved.

The Cyangugu regions is one of the most beautiful areas in Rwanda with an intact nature and landscape surrounded by Lake Kivu, which play a significant potential in attracting tourists , but less activity is evident due to lack of facilities like hotels.