EAC secures funds for feasibility study on the Northern Corridor

Long haul Trucks along Nairobi - Mombasa road transporting cargo. [David Gichuru,Standard]

The East African Community (EAC) has secured over Sh1.5 billion ($1.4 million) for a feasibility study on a key section of the Northern Transport Corridor linking Kenya and Uganda.

EAC Planning and Infrastructure Deputy Secretary General Steven Mlote told The Standard that the funding - from the African Development Bank - is for conducting a feasibility study on the 256km multinational Kisumu-Kisian-Busia/Kakira - Malaba-Busitema-Busia expressway project.

Mlote said that part of the funding would also be for the feasibility studies for upgrading the Malaba, Busia and Lwakhakha border posts along the Kenya-Uganda border.

He stated that the Secretariat had also secured a commitment of EUR10 million (Sh1,3 billion) from Germany in December 2022 for purposes of financing of feasibility studies towards upgrading trade infrastructure in the region.

Mlote spoke during the opening session of the EAC Sectoral Council on Transport, Communications and Meteorology (SCTCM) in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Speaking during the opening session, the chairperson of the meeting, who is also Burundi's Minister for Infrastructure Dieudonne Dukundane, emphasised the importance of introducing performance indicators in the TCM report in future as a way of assessing progress in the implementation of the directives of the sectoral council.

The SCTCM directed Tanzania and Burundi to implement the EAC Roaming Framework by the August 30, 2023, and provide the status of implementation to the next Summit of the EAC Heads of State.

The meeting also further directed Tanzania to make the necessary amendments towards the implementation of the 16th Summit directives (issued on July 15, 2015), with respect to roaming and surcharges on traffic from partner states.

In addition, the ministers directed Tanzania to ensure that the amendments are done in the wholesale tariff like the inter-operator tariff, to be capped at $0.07/Min for traffic originating and terminating within EAC and retail tariff which shall be capped at $ 0.10/Min inclusive of taxes, for traffic originating and terminating within EAC.

There will also be no charges for receiving roaming calls originating within the EAC, in addition to the removal of surcharges for international traffic originating and terminating within the EAC.

The EAC Roaming Framework or One Network Area was meant to harmonise mobile and data roaming charges across the region, and make affordable calls starting from and ending within the region, in addition to enhancing intra-regional trade.

The framework-imposed price caps on roaming charges and called for the removal of surcharges on cross-border telecommunications traffic originating and terminating within the East African Community.

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