Transport experts from the five partner states of the East African Community are currently meeting in Kampala, Uganda to assess the bloc’s stand on transport and road development.
Speaking to The New Times, the community’s Deputy Secretary General, Aloys Mutabingwa who opened the conference said that the conference’s resolutions will be forwarded to council of ministers for approval.
This is the third and last conference on discussion of the regional transport strategy. The first was held last year in Nairobi and the second in Arusha earlier in the year.
“We shall come up with a proposed strategy which will be submitted to the Council of ministers for approval after which will have to work with ministries of finance, infrastructure and east African affairs to mobilize finances for implementation”
He highlighted that some of the region’s roads need a quick solution as they are in deteriorating state thus becoming an impediment as far as movement of goods and services are concerned within member states.
“Over 1000km require immediate renovation and another 1700km are currently in a very bad state due to pavement deterioration,” Mutabingwa said. Among the roads cited are, the road linking Burundi and Tanzania on Kigoma side, the one on Lake Kivu linking Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and northern corridor up Rwanda.
Mutabingwa castigated the illegal non tariff barriers which still exist on the regional roads saying that this has hindered economic integration as well as affecting regional cooperation.
“Some non tariff barriers like road blocks must be removed for example central corridor is underutilized because of barriers and users are now diverting to northern corridor whose capacity is overstretched”
Rwanda’s representative at the meeting, Dominique Rurangirwa of the Ministry of Infrastructure noted that the initiative will economically benefit Rwanda since its landlocked country.
“We are expecting to benefit much since Rwanda is a land locked country which requires efficient transport strategies for movement of our people, goods and services to elevate economic growth of country and people’s well being.”