7TH MARCH, 2015At the invitation of H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Republic of Kenya, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, and H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, held the 9th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in a warm and cordial atmosphere, on 7th March, 2015, in Kigali, Rwanda. In attendance was H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikewte, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chairman of the East African Community. Other observers in attendance were Hon.Gervais Rufyikiri, Second Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, Hon. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community and Representatives of the Private Sector from the Partner States and East African Business Council were also present. The Heads of State noted with appreciation the progress in the implementation of the various projects under the Northern Corridor Initiative, and reiterated their collective resolve to continuously work together in pursuit of the set vision and goals of fast-tracking the integration process, for the benefit of the citizenry of the Northern Corridor Region. The Heads of State welcomed the announcement by Burundi to end its observer status from now on and fully participate in the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative. The Heads of State underscored the important role the Private Sector plays in the Regional Economies and their contribution as the engine of development. Their Excellencies further welcomed the proposal to establish a stronger partnership with the private sector in delivery of the Northern Corridor projects. The Summit also took note of challenges presented by the private sector and directed relevant Ministers to forge mechanisms to address issues presented by the private sector. The Summit took note of the increased volume of traffic for voice calls following the operationalisation of the One Network Area. They observed that there was a remarkable reduction in calling rates which has positively impacted the cost of doing business in the region as well as fostering closer interaction among the citizenry of our region. The Summit noted progress in the granting of the 5th Freedom Traffic Rights which has enhanced competitiveness among the Regional Airlines. However, the Summit directed the Ministers of Transport to continue engagement with a view to resolve all outstanding issues and report progress at the next Summit.
- The Heads of State considered the Ministerial Report, endorsed the recommendations contained therein and directed as follows:
- On Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Development, the Summit noted the progress made towards the ratification of the SGR Protocol, and directed that the remaining process be expeditiously concluded. The Summit directed Ministers of Transport to develop effective and attractive policies that will encourage Northern Corridor private sector investment.
- On Single Customs Territory (SCT), the Summit observed the steady progress made towards clearance of overstayed cargo at the Port of Mombasa and appreciated the integration of the Regional Customs Transit Guarantee System with Revenue Authorities Systems, aimed at tracking cargo destinations to prevent revenue loss. The Summit reaffirmed the importance of continuous monitoring and further stressed the need for compliance to curtail the emergence of new Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). The Summit welcomed the entry of South Sudan into the Single Customs Territory.
- On Oil Refinery Development, the Summit noted that a Lead Investor has been identified, appreciated the announcements made by the Partner States of their public share participation in the project and called upon Uganda to expedite formation of the National Oil Company and its subsidiary the National Refining Company, as prerequisites for the formation of the Special Purpose Vehicle to implement the Refinery Development Project.
- On Human Resource Capacity Building, the Summit noted that funds for undertaking the Regional Skills Audit Exercise have been mobilized and directed the Ministers to expedite the Audit. The Summit directed the Ministers responsible for Human Resource Capacity Building, to implement payment of uniform tuition fees in all public educational institutions.
- On Power Generation, Transmission and Interconnectivity, the Summit stressed the need for continuous investment in the energy sector and welcomed the conclusion of the Financing Agreement with AFD (Agence Française de Développement - French Development Agency) equivalent to US$70 million for upgrading the Masaka-Mbarara Transmission line.
- On Crude Oil Pipeline Development, the Summit welcomed the commencement of the study by Toyota Tsusho and urged its speedy implementation in line with the set timelines. The Summit directed the involvement of Partner States in the implementation of the crude oil pipeline project.
- On Refined Petroleum Products Pipeline Development, the Summit observed that funds for both land acquisition and development of the pipeline need to be secured and directed Ministers of Finance and Lands to expedite the sourcing of the funds.
- On Commodities Exchange, the Summit noted the progress realised, and directed the Ministers of Finance and Ministers responsible for Commodities Exchange to mobilize funds for the development of the Joint Quality Standards Enforcement Mechanism that will facilitate the regional trade in commodities.
- On Immigration, Tourism, Trade, Labour and Services, the Summit welcomed the waiver of work permit fees charged by Uganda on Rwandan and Kenyan professionals. The Summit directed Ministers for Labour and Services to finalise the Agreements on Total Liberalisation of Labour and Services.
- On Defence, Peace and Security Cooperation, the Summit welcomed the formation of a Comprehensive Conflict and Dispute Resolution Mechanism and directed its operationalisation and called upon Republic of Kenya to expedite ratification of the Defence, Peace and Security Pacts. The Summit further appreciated the development of a Mechanism for the coordination Foreign, Defence, Peace and Security policies.
- On Infrastructure Corridor, the Summit approved the creation of the Land Cluster; welcomed the offer by the Republic of Kenya to coordinate the cluster activities and further directed the Ministers responsible for Land to expedite the process of land acquisition for urgent Infrastructure Projects.
- On Financing of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, the Summit directed the Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Infrastructure to quickly consolidate the financial requirement, structure and mainstream projects, appropriations in the financial year 2015/ 2016 and subsequent national budgets. The Ministers were further directed to expedient the joint mission to China to source financing as per the directive for the NCIP.