, KIGALI, Rwanda Mar 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that greater inter-connectivity in the East African region will increase member states’ ability to trade with each another.
President Kenyatta said better infrastructure would also boost competitiveness and attractiveness of the economies and countries in the region.
The President spoke in Kigali, Rwanda during the 9th Northern Corridor Integration Summit that brought together the host President Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Salva Kiir of South Sudan.
EAC chair and Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Burundi 2nd Vice President Dr. Gervais Rufyikiri and Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom attended as observers.
President Kenyatta won personal praise from Presidents Museveni, Kagame and Kiir for his reforms at the Mombasa port, which has fuelled faster movement of goods through the vital Mombasa regional lifeblood.
President Kenyatta said EAC member countries’ efforts in eliminating congestion and delays in movement of goods and people will enable sharing of surplus milk and energy produced in Uganda and Tanzania respectively for regional prosperity.
“The impact of better infrastructure on all sectors of EAC nations’ economies is substantial and positive. There is no need for outside import for goods and services produced locally within the EAC region,” The President said.
He lauded the consistency, commitment and determination and deepening of commitment of the heads of state not only to the Northern Corridor Integration Projects and EAC integration, but also the regular meetings.
“Every meeting we hold now takes our deliberation smoothly further ahead without need to reacquaint any of us with previous developments,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said negotiations are at an advanced stage on the central corridor and others that link all the East African countries to enable inter-state trade.
“The attendance of President Kikwete has added impetus to the negotiations on the central corridor,” he said.
Host President Kagame welcomed the involvement of the private sector as a formal partner in implementation of the northern corridor initiative.
Rwandan President said with the political goodwill of the leaders in the region, the objectives of Corridor will be met.
President Museveni of Uganda and South Sudan’s Kiir thanked President Kenyatta for improving efficiency at the port of Mombasa saying cargo destined to their countries are now taking shorter time to reach destinations.
President Kikwete expressed his country’s support for the NCIP whose success will inform the decision on the Central corridor that targets his country.
Others who spoke were Burundi’s 2nd Vice President Mr. who announced his country’s decision to join NCIP to be formalized after the country’s elections later in the year. Ethiopian Foreign Affairs minister expressed interest in NCIP.