Uhuru to attend Northern Corridor Summit in Kigali


President Uhuru will attend the 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) Summit (FILE)

President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday travelled to Kigali, Rwanda, to attend the 6th Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) Summit.

President Kenyatta will join his counterparts from Rwanda (the host, Paul Kagame) and Uganda (Yoweri Museveni) to review progress of implementation of projects under the NCIP which are aimed at facilitating trade and development within the East African region.

Other Presidents who are expected to attend the summit are Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir.

Under the initiative, the participating states from the East African Community (EAC) are fast-tracking regional development through joint infrastructure, trade, political and economic integration.

The five partner states of EAC are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. South Sudan is in the final stages of joining the economic block.

With a population of more than 150 million people, the region is a huge economic power house and the objective of the integration process is to enable member states and citizens to reap benefits from unhindered trade.

President Kenyatta has been at the forefront in pushing for the integration of the East African region into a single trading block.

For the duration he has been the chairman of the EAC, the region has made great strides in removing trade barriers between member states.

The Single Customs Territory launched in January has led to the reduction of transit days for goods from Mombasa to Kampala from 18 to 5 days and to Kigali from 21 to 8 days.

The reduced transit time has already enabled Uganda and Rwanda to save Sh40 billion.

Another milestone has been the launch of the Kenya National Electronic Single Window System (Kenya Tradenet) which centralises tracking of goods, custom clearance, and electronic payment including mobile platforms.

Movement of citizens of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is now easier with the use of national IDs and Student Cards to travel to any of the participating countries.

Other key projects under the NCIP initiative include the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line that will connect the Mombasa port to Nairobi and eventually Kampala and Kigali.

Another mega project is the oil pipeline to connect Hoima in Uganda with the Lamu port where a refinery will also be constructed.

President Kenyatta will tomorrow (Friday) join other world leaders during the 20th anniversary of Rwanda’s Liberation Day celebrations at Amahoro Stadium.

The President was seen off at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Deputy President William Ruto, the Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi, Chief of Staff and Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua and the Leader of Majority Aden Duale among other Government officials.

The plane carrying the President and his entourage left JKIA shortly before 1.00pm.