, ENTEBBE, Uganda, Jun 25 – Three East African leaders meeting in Entebbe, Uganda have made key decisions which will significantly enhance trade and integration in the region.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and their host Yoweri Museveni held trilateral talks in Entebbe State House where they noted that non-tariff barriers including movement of labour continue to hamper intra-EAC trade and full implementation of the Common Market.
In a joint communiqué read by the Ugandan Foreign minister immediately after the talks, the three leaders noted that delays in the clearing of goods at Mombasa Port and Malaba have also contributed to the slow growth of trade within the region.
The leaders agreed to take immediate measures to improve management of the port and expedite clearance at the border points.
Noting that infrastructure development, energy and trade are key to the growth of the economy of EAC region, the three leaders agreed to revamp the existing railway network and also construct new standard gauge railway line from Mombasa, Kenya to Uganda and extend the same to Rwanda.
The leaders also agreed to develop two oil pipelines one for finished products from Eldoret to Kampala and extend the same to Rwanda while the other will be for crude oil from Uganda to Kenya linking South Sudan.
In the same vein, the three leaders agreed to explore the possibility of EAC partner States of investing in an oil refinery to be constructed in Uganda.
On electricity, the three presidents agreed to enhance electricity generation and distribution by exploring and utilizing the resources within each partner state, including exploring other alternatives sources like renewable energy, nuclear and geothermal.
Other issues which were agreed upon during the trilateral meeting include strengthening the single customs territory and implementation of all the provisions therein where taxes will be collected at the entry points like Mombasa, Mpondwe, Oluhura, fast tracking political federation, issuing EAC e-identity cards for the citizens of the member states and also the EAC single tourist visa.
The three nations were each assigned projects to implement under certain time limits including the three leaders holding meetings after every two months.
The trilateral meeting will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on August this year.
President Kenyatta returned to Nairobi on Tuesday evening after the conclusion of his two-day visit.
The plane carrying the President and his entourage touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 7pm.
On arrival, the Head of State was received by the Deputy President William Ruto, Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and other senior government officials.