KIGALI, Rwanda – President Paul Kagame has welcomed the private sector as a formal partner in realizing the objectives of the Northern Corridor Project Initiative.
The Initiative is intended to mainly streamline logistics along the main trunk route between Mombasa and the East African hinterland.
“I am thankful to the Heads of State who have also agreed to this and extended their invitations to the private sector federations for their participation. The participation will add value to our work and we are pleased to move forward together,” Kagame said.
The Rwandan President was speaking during the 9thNorthern Corridor Infrastructure Project Summit (NCIP) in the presence of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Jakaya Mwisho Kikwete of Tanzania, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, Burundi’s Second Vice President Dr. Gervais Rufyiki, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the East African Community Secretary General.
Others in attendance were regional ministers and private sector federations representatives.
Kagame said, “We are all encouraged to be more involved and to stay on the course and to focus on the desired outcomes. With political will and prompt follow through we can achieve the tangible results the people of our region need and deserve,” he said.
Kagame thanked the Heads of State for their steadfast commitment to the project for infrastructure and other key issues which are also part of the broader integration objectives of the EAC. Now the crucial thing is to see how fast these objectives can be achieved.
“We therefore assure you of our strong support as we work to complete what we have started together and continuing together and bringing in other partners to accomplish this,” Kagame said.
The Summit has been held every after two months, for two years now and hosted in rotation among the group.
EAC Chairman, and President Kikwete said, “Linking the region will make integration happen for real. If you talk of integration and there is no infrastructure networks linking that region it is just hearsay and that is why we fully support the initiatives undertaken to develop infrastructure projects in this Corridor,” Kikwete said.
“I sincerely hope that the examples from the work on this Corridor will sincerely inform the work about to start on the Central Corridor,” he said.
Kenyatta liked the spirit shown and which has enabled the region achieve much progress towards more integration.
“Our sole motivation is really to see how through greater connectivity we can improve our ability to trade with each other, exchange surpluses, pull our people together as East Africans, in order to make our region and our people prosperous”, he said.
“We need to make sure that we create a region that is not only economically strong and sound but that is really able to move to a true middle income region in the shortest possible time,” Kenyatta said.
Museveni said “To guarantee prosperity of the EAC people and Africans, integration was much needed. Integration can however not take place if infrastructure doesn’t develop and also procedures such as customs among others,” he said.
Kiir appreciated the role that Uganda and Rwanda are doing of ratifying the mutual peace and security pact and mutual defense pact that will enable South Sudan to be a full member.
He further appreciated President Kenyatta for having waived fees on overstayed cargo at Mombasa.
Burundi’s Second Vice President Gervais Rufyiki said Burundi which has been an observer for the past six months was now taking on full participation.
“We commend the progress that has been made in the northern corridor which has seen Burundians benefit also,” he said.
“Private sector coming on board is a continuous improvement of the summit since this will create a balance,” Ethiopia’s Tedros Ghebreyesus said. He suggested that the Summit brings other stakeholders on board which will enhance integration.
The 9th Northern corridor started with a two days ministerial meeting that brought together different ministers in the EAC region.
Heads of State of the EAC renewed their commitment to fast-track the implementation of the infrastructure projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway directing Ministers of finance, infrastructure and justice to jointly mobilize financing and complete agreement on power purchase and work on building electricity transmission line which has seen a lot of progress since then.
The next NCIP Summit will be held in Kampala, Uganda within the next two months.
Source: East African Business Week
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