, KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct 28 – Regional leaders have commended Kenya for accelerating movement of cargo across the region.
Speaking on Monday during the 3rd Integration Infrastructure Projects Summit in Kigali, Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Salva Kiir and Paul Kagame noted that cargo from the port of Mombasa was now taking less time to reach their countries.
The leaders said the move by Kenya has reduced the cost of doing business, boosted economic growth and scaled up development in the region.
“The overall effect is the wellbeing of the people of our region,” the leaders said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said his administration prioritised removal of delays in cargo of clearance at the port of Mombasa and the challenges of transporting it along the northern corridor as part of its contribution to promoting regional trade.
“The initiative has facilitated the movement of goods, people and services and provided the impetus to create jobs and opportunities for our people as well as create greater prosperity,” President Kenyatta said.
He cited the removal all road blocks along the highways comprising the transportation routes of cargo destined to countries in the region as part of the wider initiative to curb trade bottlenecks.
President Kenyatta said goods in transit are now weighed only once at the point of loading to hasten cargo movement.
“Cargo loaded at Mombasa is weighed at Mariakani only, while goods loaded at Eldoret are weighed at Malaba only,” the President said.
As a result of the measures put in place by the Government, President Kenyatta said the duration between off-loading cargo out of a ship at Mombasa and reaching Malaba is now eight days only.
The President disclosed that Kenya is implementing the final measures necessary for the construction of a new standard gauge railway line.
“My Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure have recorded significant progress in finalizing financing terms as requested by the EXIM Bank of China,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said he looked forward to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new standard gauge railway line in Mombasa in November this year.
He said the modern railway line would connect Mombasa to Kampala, Kigali through to Juba as agreed at the summit.
With a population of 98 million people, President Kenyatta said Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan jointly had the requisite market to enable the region achieve its economic targets.
He affirmed his Government’s commitment to work with Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan in steering the projects agreed under the Integrated Infrastructure Initiative.
On the LAPSSET project, President Kenyatta said Kenya has already instituted measures to facilitate its success in close collaboration with the countries involved.
He said all appropriate steps will be taken to ensure there is security, infrastructure and other amenities to enable the project start on time.
(Story by Kazungu Chai)