, KAMPALA, Uganda, Jun 7 – Northern Corridor member states have formed an authority to expedite implementation of infrastructure projects for the benefit of the people of the region.
The new body – the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority – will coordinate and follow-up implementation of projects in order of priority as agreed on by the member states.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame and host Yoweri Museveni resolved to establish the new Authority during the 10th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in Kampala, Uganda.
President Kenyatta expressed optimism that the new Authority will organize the implementation of the various outstanding projects.
“We have really made good progress. On the areas that we have not, I think with this new arrangement we should now be able to fast-track them,” President Kenyatta said.
He welcomed the private sector in implementation of the Northern Corridor projects, saying they have a great role to play in the initiative.
“I encourage our other partners to come on board so that we can increase the numbers and really push this integration agenda forward,” President Kenyatta said.
The leaders agreed that each of the Northern Corridor member states should appoint a person to work full-time in monitoring the status of implementation of projects.
President Museveni observed that some of the Northern Corridor projects were not moving as fast as targeted because some of the implementing persons were working “part-time”.
“The three of us have agreed that each country should appoint a senior person whose job will only be to follow up this integration process,” President Museveni said, noting that Kenya has already appointed former Cabinet Minister Joseph Nyaga.
President Museveni added: “We will also have a discussion with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and President Pierre Nkurunziza on the same issue.”
The leaders also agreed to cluster projects where each country will be assigned specific tasks to undertake.
And in a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, the Heads of State affirmed their resolved to continue working together to deepen integration through fast-tracking implementation of projects.
They appreciated the commitment expressed by the private sector to partner with Governments of the Northern Corridor member states in the realization of the vision of transforming the regional economy through the Public Private Sector Partnership in the delivery of flagship projects.
The summit welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Total Liberalization of Free Movement of Labour, Agreement on Total Liberalization of Free Movement of Services, Memorandum of Understanding with EPC for the Western and Southern routes of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Memorandum of Understanding on Foreign Policy Coordination as well as Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber Security.
The summit also launched the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) Web Portal that will facilitate communication and dissemination of information on the projects.
The Heads of State also considered and endorsed recommendations contained in the Ministerial report on NCIP.
President Kiir was represented by at the Summit by Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk while President Nkurunziza was represented by External Relations and International Cooperation Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe.
Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, East African Community Secretary General Richard Sezibera and Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) Executive Secretary Donat Bagula attended as observers.