THERE WAS a time 20 years ago when some people could have said the gods have deserted Rwanda and received affirmative nods across the board. Not today. Rwandans did not just sit and mourn, but instead sought ways to turn their sorrows into stories.
And, if all goes according to plan, one of those stories will be about Kigali, the capital, holding the regional fuel reserve, thus bailing some neighbouring countries out of the burden of coasting all the way to Kenyan ports for petroleum.
Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya in July, last year, agreed to fast-track the regional integration process under a tripartite arrangement. Among the projects was the construction of a regional fuel depot to ease the burden off some of the landlocked countries that rely on Kenyan ports for the indispensable petroleum products.
Optimism is already sweeping across the country as a UK-based engineering firm with a footing in oil and gas industry prepares to kick-start the six-month mapping exercise for the pipeline that will connect Kigali and Eldoret via Kampala.
The strategic position of Rwanda is underscored in the fact that neighbouring countries such as Burundi, DR Congo and even Tanzania, would be importing fuel from Kigali.
But, of course, at the end of the day, Rwandans would be the biggest beneficiaries of the project. Holding oil stocks in Kigali will reduce the cost of importing fuel, as well as the many pitfalls that come with tankers spending weeks with petroleum in transit.
Even just dreaming about such a project would sound like an achievement in itself. It is that grand!
We cannot rely on fuel tankers rumbling across the borders forever. The economy is moving forward, and what better way to speed up such development than through improving transportation of petroleum in the region!
The oil pipeline project calls for more than just a vote of confidence; we must all throw out weight behind it. It is a long short, but feasible.