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Rwandan Franc Gains Against Uganda Shilling at Katuna Border

Robert Katureebe, one of the prominent money changers at Katuna border says that so far, Rwandan 1,000 franc trades at as high as 3,350 Ugandan Shillings buying and 3,700Uganda shillings selling.
Rwandan francs (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 2

The Rwandan Franc has started to gain strength against Ugandan shilling at Katuna, a month and a half of the Uganda-Rwanda border re-opening.

The Rwandan currency has gained by at least 10% in the few days the border has been fully opened.  on this month 7 fully reopened its land borders with Uganda. 

The Rwandan authorities started a phased reopening the border on January 31.  Rwandan President, Paul Kagame had closed the borders on February 27, 2019, accusing Uganda of hosting Rwandan dissidents, abducting Rwandan nationals, and locking them in non-designated areas.  

Rwanda then issued a travel advisory to its nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety was not guaranteed.   The border closure suffocated business including the exchange of money. 

Now days after the border re-opening, money changers have started to foresee their business boom again after the Rwandan franc started gaining strength.   Robert Katureebe, one of the prominent money changers at Katuna border says that so far, Rwandan 1,000 franc trades at as high as 3,350 Ugandan Shillings buying and 3,700Uganda shillings selling.

The Rwandan franc is gaining against the Uganda shillings even as the latter has been gaining steadily against other currencies like the US dollar and the Kenya shilling over the months. A currency losing exchange value is not necessarily bad, as it boosts the country's export volumes.

Katurebe says that when the border closed, the rates declined to 3,000 shillings buying and 3,300 selling per 1,000 Rwandan Francs.   Katureebe says that the gain is a result of an increase in the number of Rwandans heading home from Uganda and Kenya which has created a high demand for Rwandan francs at Katuna.

//Cue in: “we buy at…//

 Cue out: …and selling.”//

  Rukiga

//Cue in: “rate turagura 3,350//

Cue out:  ….za Uganda.”//

  Franko Korinako, chairman of Katuna traders’ association says that business at Katuna is slowly being revived. He prays that the impasse never returns again because it put them into huge losses.  He says that as long as the border remains open, more people will cross and the money-changing business will boom like how it used to be.

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