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National Monitoring Committees on NTBs
Easing trade and transport along the Northern Corridor.
 
Posted on : 20 - Aug - 2015 - Viewed : 837 times
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The Northern Corridor is the transport corridor linking the landlocked countries of Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi to Kenya’s Maritime Port of Mombasa. The transport corridor also serves Democratic Republic of Congo and Northern Tanzania. The Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiative is designed to generate sustainable political will necessary to fast track the implementation of the projects identified.
The Heads of State of the Republics of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda held a tri-lateral meeting on 25th June, 2013 in Entebbe, Uganda during which they agreed on a number of issues pertaining to regional infrastructure development, energy, trade facilitation and the East African Political Federation.

Prior to the tri-lateral meeting, the delegations from the Republics of Kenya and Uganda held bi-lateral talks and discussed measures to facilitate trade in the region. They noted that Non-Tariff Barriers continue to hinder intra-EAC trade and full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol. They also noted the delays in the clearing of goods at Mombasa port and Malaba border post and agreed to take immediate measures to decongest the port of Mombasa and expedite clearance by Uganda Revenue Authority at Malaba border post.

All the measures were agreed upon by the two countries to facilitate trade in the region and were extended to the Republic of Rwanda. They include among others the development of a mechanism for clearing and paying customs duties in the country of destination before goods arrive at the point of first entry i.e. Mombasa port. Furthermore, they agreed to establish a mechanism for mutual recognition of quality standards within EAC framework and other internationally recognized standards in which Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are members.

In the tri-lateral meeting, the three Heads of State of the Republics of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda agreed the following :

  1. Railways : to revamp the existing railway network and also construct new standard gauge railway line and extend it to Rwanda, including joint mobilization of resources.
  2. Oil Pipelines : Develop an oil pipeline for finished products from Eldoret to Kampala and extend it to Rwanda. Develop a crude oil pipeline from Uganda to Kenya through South Sudan.
  3. Refinery : Explore the possibility of EAC Partner States to invest in the oil refinery to be constructed in Uganda.
  4. Electricity : To enhance electricity generation and distribution by exploring and utilizing the resources within each Partner State, including exploring other alternative sources like renewable energy, nuclear and geothermal..
  5. Single Customs Territory : To strengthen the single customs territory and implement all the provisions therein where customs duties will be collected at the points of first entry.
  6. Fast-track the East African Political Federation : By setting up a committee that will draft an EAC political federation framework that will be considered and discussed by all relevant parties.
  7. Use of identity cards as travel documents : The machine-readable identity cards have already been introduced in the Republics of Kenya and Rwanda and the Republic of Uganda should follow suit. This will ease the movement of persons and services.
  8. EAC Single Tourist Visa : Fast-track the establishment of EAC single tourist visa to facilitate the tourism industry in the region and work on a formula to share revenues from the single tourist visas.
  9. ICT Infrastructure
  10. Commodities Exchange
  11. Human Resource Capacity Building
  12. Defense Cooperation
  13. Peace and Security Cooperation
  14. Air Space Management

The Summit further agreed to meet every two months to review progress made on the above decisions. These meetings are hosted by Partner States on rotational basis. Financing of these projects is jointly coordinated by Ministers of Finance of the Partner States.

The Northern Corridor is a multimodal transport system that includes pipeline, railway, road transport and inland waterways. About 95% of goods from the Port of Mombasa use the road network and this has overstretched the capacity of the existing road network. The development of the standard gauge railway is expected to shift a large percentage of the cargo from the roads. Rail, when managed properly is considered more economical and efficient as well as environmentally friendly compared to the road alternative thereby reducing the cost of doing business in the region.

The construction of the Mombasa-Kigali railway line is expected to be completed in March 2018. The Heads of State tasked Uganda to spearhead the development of the railway line from the Mombasa port. The leaders agreed to undertake the development of a standard gauge railway (SGR) as a regional project.

The railway line will run from the Mombasa port to Malaba, Kampala and then Kigali – a distance of 2,935km. The completion of the Mombasa-Kigali project is scheduled for March 2018, but the Mombasa-Malaba railway will be accomplished by 2017. The Mombasa-Nairobi section of the Standard Gauge Railway construction started in October 2014 and is progressing well. Uganda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Development on Eastern and Northern section of the railway. Kenya signed an MoU with CHEC on Mombasa – Malaba section of the railway. Rwanda also ratified the Standard Gauge Railway Protocol.

Other progress has been made in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT). All countries have operationalized On Network Areas (ONA) voice on roaming reducing call rates.

The fast tracking of Political Federation is also still at the EAC level. Last 16th EAC Summit that met in Nairobi 20th February 2015 directed council to finalize National Consultations on Model Structure, Roadmap and Action Plan.

The use of identity cards as travel documents is progressing well and implemented in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. The EAC Single Tourist Visa has been agreed upon and is already in use and revenues from visas application are shared among members of the Northern Corridor Integration project Initiatives.

 
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