President Paul Kagame yesterday arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi where he will today participate in the 5th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit alongside his counterparts from Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.
The regional Heads of State will discuss the progress of the joint projects agreed upon during previous summits, according to a statement from the President’s Office.
The Northern Corridor Integration Projects is an initiative aimed at fast tracking regional development through joint infrastructure, trade and political and economic integration.
The meeting will begin with the launch of the Kenya National Electronic Single Window System aimed at “simplifying trade processes for regional competitiveness”, the statement says.
The system centralises trade services such as tracking of goods, custom clearance, electronic payment including through mobile money and integration with Kenya Revenue Authority.
The launch will be followed by a discussion on the projects each participating country undertook to spearhead under the regional framework.
The projects spearheaded by Rwanda include the use of National ID as travel documents, launched during the 4th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in February in Uganda.
Kigali is also leading on the implementation of the single tourist visa, the establishment of single customs territory, defence and security cooperation, as well as air space management and connectivity.
Projects spearheaded by Kenya and Uganda include construction of a railway, an oil pipeline, refinery and electricity generation.
The inaugural summit of the countries that are served by the Northern Corridor was held in Entebbe, Uganda in June 2013, bringing together Presidents Kagame, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and the host, Yoweri Museveni.
The second summit was held in Mombasa, Kenya and marked by the commissioning of Berth 19 at the Mombasa port – a key gateway for the said countries’ imports and exports –, as part of efforts to scale up the capacity of the Kenyan port to serve the entire region.
The 3rd Summit, which welcomed South Sudan to the initiative, was held in Kigali on October 20, 2013 during which the single customs territory was launched.
One of the major achievements of the initiative is the introduction of the digital border post which allows electronic clearance of goods, and has since reduced the number of transit days from Mombasa to the Ugandan capital Kampala from 18 days down to five days, and to Kigali from 21 days to eight days.
Movement of citizens of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya have also been significantly eased with individuals now using their national IDs (Rwanda and Kenya) or voters cards and student cards (Uganda) to travel to any of the participating countries.
The three countries are also now a single tourist destination following the launch of the East Africa Tourist Visa in February during the 4th Summit in Kampala.