Despite the progress made on the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, Heads of States say there is need for faster implementation of these lucrative projects.
Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who hosted his counterparts in Nairobi this Saturday said, “I am impressed by the progress achieved so far, however we must agree that measures instituted thus far are to a limited extent.”
Rwanda, a landlocked member, is set to benefit from about16 projects mainly energy and infrastructure poised to boost trade in the East African region.
President Paul Kagame was in Nairobi to attend the 11th summit, together with Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and representatives from South Sudan.
Important at the summit was a discussion on the Standard Gauge Railway line connecting Mombasa – Nairobi – Malaba -Kampala – Kigali, Tororo – Gulu – Nimule – Juba.
The 1,915 km worth $14 billion is under construction on the Mombasa-Nairobi section, while feasibility studies on the other parts of member states are underway, according to officials from both countries.
For the projects to be completed within the designed timeline, heads of state called for private sector intervention in ensuring successful implementation.
Earlier before the summit, CEOs from member states met and discussed how to influence policy and ensure their full participation in implementation of the projects.
Denis Karera from Rwanda said, “a policy needs to be adopted to enable private sector to get involved in the procurement process in order to fully implement projects.”
If policies are implemented as requested, Rwandan companies could land on shared opportunities through the projects.
For instance, Uganda is planning to develop a $4 billion oil refinery that would see 60% of the project’s shares taken by private sector from member states.
Another oil pipeline will pass through Eldoret – Kampala – Kigali, which will cost $1.5 billion.
At the summit also, Heads of States committed to partner with private sector to implement these projects. “As a region we need to forge closer partnerships with the aim of encouraging investment in some of the flagship projects,” President Kenyatta said.
Rwanda signed a Power Purchase and Wheeling Agreement with Kenya and Uganda and adopted a phased approach of power trade, with 30 MW to be purchased before end of this year, 50 MW next year; 150 MW to be purchased by March 2017 and over 150 MW by June 2018 when standardization of interconnection lines to 400 KV is complete.
The Northern Corridor member states already enjoy single customs territory since October 2013, which reduced transit and clearance time.
For instance, time spent between Mombasa port – Kampala takes 4 from 18 days, Nairobi – Kampala takes 2 from 5 days, while Mombasa – Kigali takes 6 days from 22 days.
The customs territory also saw transport cost from Mombasa to Kigali reduce from $7,000 to 5,000 on a 40 feet container. Transport cost from Mombasa to Kigali also reduced from $5,200 to $4,200 on a 20 feet container.