PUBLISHED ON July 24th, 2014


On June, 25th 2013, Heads of State of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda held a tri-lateral meeting in Entebbe Uganda. The outcome was agreements on several different issues dealing with regional infrastructure development, energy, trade facilitation and the East African Political Federation.

During this meeting the three Partner States were allocated different jobs to speed up implementation and strengthen regional integration.

Rwanda was to spearhead the Single Tourist Visa and Single Customs Territory implementation, plus use of identity cards/voters/student cards as travel documents to the three states.

According to the Northern Corridor Integration Project Coordinator Monique Mukaruliza, Rwanda has done well in meeting the set targets or deadlines.

“The use of IDs/voter/students cards as travel document and the Single Tourist Visa are effective from January 2014. The Single Customs territory for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is effective from October 2013,” Mukaruliza said.

”Such quick implementation of projects is beneficial to not only Rwanda but also other Partner States,” she said.

She gave an example of use of IDs as travel documents saying this was going to ease the movement of people and services hence help the region develop.

“The Single Tourist Visa will promote tourism industry in the region, plus the Single Customs Territory will ease clearing of goods which will be done at the first point of entry and later circulate freely in the three member states,” Mukaruliza said.

“Other projects to be spearheaded by Rwanda are Air Space Management and Connectivity plus the Defense and Security Cooperation and here Partner States have signed the Mutual defense pact and the mutual peace and security pact and Partner State are working towards seamless air space operations in Air Traffic Management and Information,” she said.

During the tri-lateral meeting, other projects discussed dealt with construction of a new standard gauge line to be extended to Rwanda from Uganda.

However there was agreements on revamping the existing one. Other points concerned building an oil pipeline from Eldoret to Kampala through to Rwanda plus a pipeline from Uganda to Kenya through South Sudan, and an oil refinery to be constructed in Uganda.

The leaders talked about electricity and the need to increase generation and improve distribution by exploring and utilizing the resources within each Partner State.

They agreed exploring other alternative sources like renewable energy, nuclear and geothermal, plus setting up of the East African Political Federation. Rwanda is currently building the first large-scale solar PV project in East Africa. It is estimated that once complete, the plant will generate 16 million kilowatt-hours of clean solar energy each year.

Other tri-lateral summits have been held since last year intended to provide updates.

“All such summits discussed implementation of the set up projects of the first summit,” Mukaruliza said.

She said gains from the SCT were computed using the World Bank trading across border Doing Business 2014 and therefore gains for both Rwanda and Uganda were estimated giving Rwanda annual savings based on 2013 volume at $96 Million plus cost per container at $3.387, a reduction of $ 1.603 from $4.990.

Uganda annual saving based on 2012 volumes was estimated at $373 Million plus the cost per container at $1.731 from $3.375 a saving of $1.644,” Mukaruliza said.

Mukaruliza said piloting of intra-regional trade started on April 1st 2014 with commodities like cement, neutral spirits, Mukwano industry products and cigarettes.

“So far goods worth $4,676.009 and $5,793.925 have been cleared for Rwanda and Uganda respectively,” she said.

Partner States continue to enjoy the benefits of SCT implementation which include use of one customs agent to clear cargo across borders, elimination of multiple security bonds to a single bond, reduction of clearance time from 18 to just four days for Kampala and from 21 to six days for Kigali cargo, improved accurate trade statistics (exports match imports), improved management of duty draw back and refund processes for exports among others.

There has also been mutual recognition of clearing agents amongst the partner states where they have been trained and given access rights to the customs systems to facilitate cargo clearance among the partner states.

Source: East African Business Week

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