The East African Heads of State meeting in Kigali for the 12th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects praised the implementation of the projects so far realised but urged all stakeholders to double the efforts and achieve more. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame who hosted the Summit welcomed Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and Mr. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, Presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs, Republic of South Sudan.
Others in attendance were Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Justin Kamwanya – Kalemuna, National Coordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Amb. Alexis Ntukamazina, Ambassador of the Republic of Burundi to Rwanda, and Amb. Ali Idi Siwa, High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to Rwanda, Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Mr. Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, African Development Bank and Mr. Donat Bagula, Executive Secretary of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA). The Private Sector Representatives from the Partner States and the East African Business Council were also in attendance.
The Heads of State noted with appreciation progress made since the last Summit in the implementation of the projects under the Northern Corridor Integration initiative and re-affirmed their unwavering commitment to the realization of the set goals.
The Heads of State reiterated their determination to continue fast-tracking the implementation of the key projects that facilitate regional integration. The Heads of State agreed and emphasised the need for regular monthly meetings at Ministerial level as well as for the National Coordinators to work more closely together to coordinate institutions in their respective countries and speed up implementation of NCIP projects.
The Summit welcomed the growing collaboration between Governments and the Private Sector for the successful implementation of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, noting that the collaboration will go a long way in attracting financing and enhancing capacity in the sectors earmarked for fast-tracking.
The Summit underscored the need for key players in the Private Sector to form joint ventures and consortia necessary to enhance their capabilities and expertise that allow the infusion of local finance and content in projects being implemented.
The Summit warmly welcomed the announcement by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to join the Northern Corridor as a Partner State as of this 12th Summit, an indication of the growing importance of integration in regional development.
The Heads of State considered the Report of the 12th Ministerial meeting, endorsed the recommendations contained therein and directed as follows :
A. On Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Development, the Summit took note of the steady progress in the construction works of the Mombasa-Nairobi section which has reached sixty percent completion. The Summit further noted the signing of the funding agreement for the Nairobi-Naivasha section with EXIM Bank of China. On the remaining sections of the SGR, the Summit was appraised that Kenya had received the draft commercial contracts for the Naivasha-Malaba section and the same were under review. The Heads of State directed the Ministers to finalise preparation of bankable project proposals for the remaining sections on the Eastern, Western and Southern routes and Mirama-Kigali section.
B. On ICT Infrastructure Development, the Summit noted the considerable progress made in ICT sector and commended the signing of an MOU between NCIP and the Northern Corridor Technology Alliance (NCTA), for collaboration of Governments and the private sector in the field of ICT. The Heads of State witnessed the launch of POSITIVO-BGH computer assembled in Kigali and welcomed the production of affordable devices necessary to increase penetration of ICT.
C. On Oil Refinery Development, the Summit noted progress on incorporating the Refinery Holding Company, through which Partner States shareholding in the project will be channelled and urged the remaining Partner States to confirm their level of shareholding participation in the project.
D. On Project Financing, the Summit directed the Ministers in charge of infrastructure to expedite conclusion of the bankable project proposals to pave way for commencement of Financing mobilisation.
E. On Power Generation, Transmission and Interconnectivity, the Summit took note of the completion of the Mirama–Shango Transmission line and the installation of voltage control equipment in Western Kenya. The Summit further took note of the signing of an MOU between NELSAP, Uganda and South Sudan for the 400kV Olwiyo-Juba Transmission line. The Summit directed the Ministers to ensure that steady progress is maintained and power trading commences by April 2016.
F. On Refined Petroleum Products Pipeline Development, the Summit directed Ministers to continue exploring alternative financing options including Public Private Partnerships to raise funds for the development of the project and that the Cluster be merged with the Private Sector Cluster.
G. On Air Space Management, the Summit welcomed the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreements between Rwanda and South Sudan ; Rwanda and Uganda ; and Uganda and South Sudan and the conclusion of MOUs on Search and Rescue and on Incident and Accident Investigation. The Summit reiterated the need to conclude the Multilateral Air Services Agreement Studies and to implement by April 2016.
H. On Human Resource Capacity Building, the Summit noted the continuous engagement of the Ministers in developing alternative funding for Centres of Excellence to complement Government support.
I. On Land for the Infrastructure Corridor, the Summit noted the importance of securing land for the infrastructure projects and directed responsible Ministries to hasten the process of land acquisition.
J. On Single Customs Territory (SCT), the Summit noted the integration of the Regional Customs Transit Guarantees system and the improvement in its functionality. The Summit further noted the report of the time release study by the Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) which has recorded increased efficiency on the time it takes to move cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the inland destinations along the Northern Corridor. The Summit further directed the Ministers of Finance together with Heads of Revenue Authorities to expeditiously resolve the challenges presented by diversion of transit cargo and the need to harmonise the respective warehousing regimes. The Summit further directed the procurement process of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System and address the issue of cash deposits and overstayed cargo in Mombasa.
K. On Immigration, the Heads of State welcomed the signing of the bilateral agreement on One Stop Border Post between Kenya and Uganda and directed the Ministers to operationalise the completed One Stop Border Posts at Malaba, Busia and Mirama Hills/Kagitumba. The Summit further directed the implementation of the Agreement on Total Liberalization of Free Movement of Labour, starting with finalisation of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) among professional bodies, such as Lawyers, ICT and Engineers.
L. On Defence, Peace and Security Cooperation, the Heads of States welcomed the depositing of the Instruments of Ratification and directed the Ministers to finalise the accession procedures to Mutual Defence and Security Pacts for approval by Heads of State and deposit of the Instruments at the United Nations and the African Union. Furthermore, the Summit noted that Partner States have signed Cooperation Agreement on the transfer of prisoners and offenders and directed the implementation of this Agreement. The Heads of State directed the Ministers in charge of Internal Affairs to harmonise road safety strategies to reduce road accidents in Partner States.
M. On Private Sector participation, the Summit directed the creation of the Private Sector Cluster to be coordinated by the Ministries of Finance.
The Heads of State thanked their host, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, for the very warm welcome and courtesies extended to respective delegations during their stay in Kigali.
The next Summit will be held in Kampala, Uganda, at a date to be communicated.