BUJUMBURA June 11th (ABP) – The construction of a highway linking Gitega and Bujumbura, the rehabilitation of the Roi Khaled hospital, these are the few features of the agenda of the meeting between the Burundian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Mr. Albert Shingiro and the Minister of State of Saudi Arabia for African Affairs, Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Kttan who is visiting Burundi. This was said in the audience that Mr. Shingiro granted on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Bujumbura to his Saudi counterpart.
At the end of the audience, Mr. Shingiro unveiled to the press the content of that interview with the Saudi minister. He said that they discussed certain topics of common interest which concern in particular the strengthening of bilateral relations between Burundi and Saudi Arabia which, according to Shingiro, are currently in good shape to the extent that Burundi has an embassy in Riad.
Minister Shingiro took that opportunity to let his Saudi counterpart in charge of Africa know that Burundi has a new foreign policy directed on 4 main pillars including the attraction of foreign investments, trade between nations, the transfer of technologies and tourism.
He encouraged Saudi Arabia to send investors to Burundi as Burundi is still pristine in terms of foreign investment if at least compared to other countries in the region.
According to Mr. Shingiro, the interview also focused on concrete issues, in particular, the project to build a highway between Gitega, the political capital and Bujumbura, the economic capital of Burundi in order to reduce the time used to travel from Bujumbura towards Gitega or vice versa. “This is a very important project for Burundi because the Bujumbura-Gitega trip is today about two hours when on the highway 40 to 45 minutes would be enough to reach the two capitals of the country,” he said.
That project could be carried out through a win-win partnership of triangular cooperation between Burundi, Saudi Arabia to a regional bank which could offer a loan, then with time, be able to be reimbursed on road tolls, he explained.
The Burundian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation also presented the case concerning the Roi Khaled hospital, which is currently in critical condition. “This is not good not only for the image of Roi Khaled but also for the image of the country which sponsored that hospital,” he deplored. In that regard, the Saudi Arabian Minister of State for African Affairs replied that there are two options either to do a major renovation of that hospital, or to build another hospital with the same name.
Mr. Shingiro also indicated that they were able to discuss the issue of migrant workers, especially young Burundian women who go to Arab countries in search for labor. Thus, the two authorities felt that it would be important for those young ladies to leave with legal protection in order to avoid the problems that often arise.
With that, during Minister Albert Shingiro’s next visit to Saudi Arabia, they will be able to sign an agreement on the protection of those migrant workers so that they can work legally and be protected from any danger.