President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, this morning to attend the 12th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit.The plane carrying the President and his delegation touched down at Kigali international airport shortly before 9:00 am local time.On arrival President Kenyatta was received by senior Rwandan Government officials and Kenyans led by the Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda ambassador John Mwangemi.The 12th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit popularly known by an acronym NCIP Projects is toreview the progress in the 14 earmarked projects, emerging issues, challenges as well as the way forward.The NCIP is an initiative aimed at fastracking sustainable development of the region through citizen-centred integration.By working together member states which include, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan are making most of their shared resources and harnessing opportunities for investment.Senior regional officials, heads of institutions and permanent secretaries from the participating countries began discussions two days ago and are expected to hand over their report to the Heads of State during the summit.Leaders at the summit will discuss progress in implementation of the projects that deepen integration and improve people-to-people relations, as well as significantly improve intra-regional trade.
So far the NCIP has made major achievements in a number of projects in the initiative such as single Customs Territory, One Area Network, and construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
Some of the tangible results already attained are movement in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya using only Identity Cards, harmonised fees for university education, one-visa regime for tourists, and no-employment permits between Kenya and Rwanda.
The Single Customs Territory has also been credited with shortening the transit time for goods in the region to and from the port of Mombasa.Other than the members of the NCIP initiative, observers keen on working with the body on selected projects are also attending the summit.Among the observers present at the summit include, Burundi, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Tanzania and Djibouti.Bodies such as East African Community (EAC), the Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority and the Regional private sector are also represented.Ethiopia is keen to supply power to the region which calls for harmonisation of infrastructure such as power grids.DR Congo is interested in the planned railway and energy projects. The Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority will use the forum to look at how they can further reduce the non-tariff barriers that affect trade in the region.The summit will also see the regional private sector present a memorandum of understanding that will guide their engagement with governments in the implementation of the earmarked projects.