Ministers update parliament on Northern Corridor projects

Pacts being pursued under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) are playing vital roles in propelling the region to greater heights, officials have said.
Gatete (L), MP Jeanne D’Arc Nyinawase, and Mushikiwabo during the meeting on the Northern Corridor projects. (Athan Tashobya)
Gatete (L), MP Jeanne D’Arc Nyinawase, and Mushikiwabo during the meeting on the Northern Corridor projects. (Athan Tashobya)

Pacts being pursued under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) are playing vital roles in propelling the region to greater heights, officials have said.

Five ministers were in Parliament, yesterday, to update the Lawmakers on the progress and benefits of NCIP.

Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo; Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza; for East African Community Affairs; Amb. Claver Gatete of Finance and Economic Planning; François Kanimba, of trade and industry; and State Minister for Transport, Alexis Nzahabwanimana, presented insights on the implementation of the regional projects.

The officials were invited by the legislators to shed more light on benefits of NCIP as well as give an insight into what lies ahead as Kigali hosts the ninth NCIP Summit this weekend.

“How do you rate an ordinary citizen’s benefits in the recent projects so far, and what has Rwanda contributed to the regional integration projects?” asked MP Agnes Nyirabagenzi.

Minister Mushikiwabo said the regional integration projects have not only created a common vision for the region but also ensured mutual relations among neighbouring countries.

“The Northern Corridor initiative was a project long overdue. This is something that has made us realise the benefits of EAC integration in the shortest time possible. The commitment and good will of member states and Heads of State in particular, has made the initiative a successful association,” Mushikiwabo said.

The success and potential of NCIP’s initiatives has attracted none EAC member states like Ethiopia and South Sudan as well.

In June 2013, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda agreed to fast-track regional integration through the northern transport corridor initiative.

The initiative was meant to link the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi to Kenya’s Maritime Port of Mombasa.

Amb. Gatete said the Defence and Security pact has been vital in fostering Rwanda’s economic growth through reliable peace and security in the region.

Minister Rugwabiza said although two years is short a time to measure the exact impact of such a big initiative, the benefits are already evident.

“People can now freely cross to Uganda and Kenya using their national IDs, telecommunication companies have slashed roaming charges in member states, construction of a railway connecting the four countries is underway...” she said. “This shows how far this regional initiative will go.”

MP Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi said the private sector should be fully engaged if the regional projects are to create sustainable economic growth and employment.