Project to include Burundi, Tanzania in the offing

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (left) and Paul Kagame of Rwanda (third left) during the 4th Northern Corridor Integration Projects summit in Uganda, Thursday. With them are the first beneficiaries of the newly launched two-year East Africa Tourist Visa, Allison Alto Bond, Laia Sole Amat and Paul North.  [Photo: PSCU]

By PSCU

Kampala, Uganda: The East African region leaders will soon launch the Central Corridor Infrastructural Projects to incorporate Tanzania and Burundi, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

The Central and Northern infrastructural corridors will cover all the member States of the East African Community (EAC) with the ultimate objective of minimising delays in the movement of goods and people across the region.

Speaking during the 4th Northern Corridor Infrastructural Summit in Kampala, Uganda, President Kenyatta stressed the need to fast-track the Central infrastructural corridor with the ultimate goal of linking all the EAC member countries.

Identity cards

“A journey of one thousand miles starts with one step. The new Central corridor will link waterways and power initiatives in the region,” the President said.

He pointed out that regional leaders are concerned, primarily, with improving infrastructure in the region and easing the movement of people and goods.

Uhuru said major progress has been made in removal of non-tariff barriers to allow free movement of goods and people in the region since the 1st Tripartite Infrastructural Conference last year.

President Kenyatta and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame Thursday gained entry into Uganda using their identity cards as travel documents, signifying the launch of national identity cards, students’ cards and voters’ cards as travel documents within the three countries.

“I’m certain that with concerted efforts, we can transform the region into an economic powerhouse in the continent and the world over,” said the President, who is chairman of EAC.

He said through co-operation, Africans can also chart a new way forward to safeguard their sovereignty and integrity.

Speaking during the occasion, President Kagame encouraged EAC member States to accelerate implementation of various components of the Northern corridor joint infrastructural projects spearheaded by their countries.

Under the joint tripartite agreement, Uganda committed to lead the railway development and political federation sector while Rwanda is spearheading customs, single tourist visa and EAC e-identity card as Kenya leads the implementation of the oil pipeline and electricity generation.

The Rwandan leader said Kenya, Uganda and his country would be having a common pavilion during the international tourism fair slated for Berlin, Germany next month.

The host, President Yoweri Museveni, asked people in the region to engage in activities that improved its economic wellbeing.

President Museveni said partisan interests that tend to slow down regional integration should be avoided at all costs.

During the summit also attended by representatives from Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan, a special single tourist visa that allows tourists to visit any of the three countries was launched.