Joint Communiqué from the 5th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit

Yesterday was the launch of Kenya National Electronic Single Window System seen as a major boost for regional trade since it will simplify clearance processes of goods.

At the invitation of His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and His Excellency Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan and His Excellency Gervais Rufyikiri, the Second Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, His Excellency Mizengo Kayanda Peter Pinda, the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania attended the 5th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit on 2nd May 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya.

 The Summit was convened to review the progress made on implementation of the directives given during the 4th Northern Corridor Integration Projects held in Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda on the 20th February 2014 to provide direction on deepening regional integration.

The Heads of State launched the Kenya National Electronic Single Window System (Kenya TradeNet) and commended Kenya for implementing this project.

 The talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere.

The Summit considered the Ministerial Report and noted the progress on the implementation of Northern Corridor Integration Projects and directed as follows:

 A. Power generation, transmission and interconnectivity

Ministers to resolve inconsistencies in voltage transmission lines on the Mbarara-Mirama, Kawanda-Masaka and Masaka-Mbarara lines and Uganda is to expedite the feasibility study for the Masaka-Mbarara transmission line and report to the next summit.

The 220KV interconnection of Kawanda-Masaka-Mbarara-Mirama hill be completed by April 2015.

Ministers to standardise regional interconnection voltages at 400KV in order to allow increased capacities and power losses.

Partner States to conclude Power Purchasing and Wheeling Agreements by June 2014. 

Ministers to work out common mechanism of acquiring way leaves for power projects and other utilities need to be found and report to the next summit.  

 B. Crude oil pipeline development

Approved the pipeline to be developed as a single project but split into lots and implemented within agreed specifications and timeline.

Approved the Steering Committee to oversee the project development.

Partner States to engage a single consultant/transaction advisor to ensure quality control for the entire project.

Each Partner State to determine their own financing arrangement for the project.

Noted the pipeline starting point at Hoima via Lokichar to Lamu, with each country developing the portion within its territory and South Sudan section will be connected at Lokichar.

C. Petroleum products pipeline development 

Ministers of Finance to commence on the process of mobilizing project financing.

Partner States to acquire land within their respective territories for the project.

Ministers to expedite the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement.

The pipeline should be developed as bi-directional and updates to be provided during the next summit.

D. Commodities Exchange

Line Ministers to finalise implementation of a regional commodities exchange and report during the next summit. 

E. Human Resource Capacity Building

Partner States to engage consultant(s) to conduct a regional skills audit for the railway and other projects.

Partner States to individually support Centres of Excellence identified in the respective countries.

The development of sponsorship programs and to encourage private sector participation in sponsorship of students admitted in the Centres of Excellence to ensure that such centres get the required resources.

Students from South Sudan studying in their public institutions of higher learning in the Partner States pay the same tuition fees like nationals in the Partner States.

Maritime and civil aviation, survey and mapping be recognized as additional skills to support the implementation of integration projects.  Operator of Ferries be trained at Bandari Maritime College in Mombasa.

 Rwanda to be used as a centre of excellence for GIS related training.

 F. East Africa Tourist Visa and the use of National ID/Voter/ Student Cards as travel document

Responsible Ministries to implement the use of Interstate Passes by 1st July 2014.

Immigration officials to sensitize the operationalization of ID as travel documents along the common border by 15th May 2014.

Responsible Ministries to finalise consultation with their national airlines to accept the use of ID/Voter/Student Cards as Travel Documents by 15th May 2014.

Ministers of the Partner States responsible for Immigration to share information on Immigration by 15th May 2014.

The concept of One Stop Border Posts be operational on common border posts by 1st June, 2014.

Partner States approved the format of standard Student Identification Cards and agreed to implement the standard student ID by 1st July 2014.

Ministries of Labour, Trade, Immigration to propose clear timelines for implementing strategies to remove barriers of labour and services.

Approved the new name of the cluster on the use of National ID/Voters/Student Cards and the Establishment of East Africa Tourist Visa as Immigration, Tourism, Trade, Labour and Services (ITTLS) cluster.

Ministries responsible for Immigration of the Partner States to grant preferential treatment to foreigners residing in the Partner States by issuing them an East Africa Tourism Visa for six months subject to validity of the existing work/residence permit, taking into account referred visa regime.

Rwanda to lead the establishment of electronic e-visa issuance among Partner States and to report progress during the next Summit. 

G. Single Customs Territory

Partner States to continue sensitization process to ensure stakeholders understand the gains from Single Customs Territory (SCT) and conduct a survey to establish and publicize the gains from SCT implementation.  

Kenya Revenue Authority to consult with Treasury on VAT and its implication in regional trade and report progress at the next Summit.

Kenya to fast track signature of the legal agreement for staff deployment in the Single Customs Territory.

Partner states to expand the roll out to include; edible oils, steel products, wines and spirits, confectionaries, plastic products, milk and milk products.

Partner States to develop harmonized standards for cargo tracking systems to facilitate seamless flow of cargo through the Northern Corridor and mutual recognition of Partner States cargo systems.

H. Defence, Peace and Security Cooperation

Responsible Ministries to expedite the Ratification process of the Mutual Defence Pact and the Mutual Peace and Security Pact. 

Ministeries concerned to meet and develop relevant structures and organs necessary for the implemenation framework of the PACTs.

I. Air Space Management

Responsible Ministries to appoint national focal persons to coordinate Airspace Management Initiative and establish a forum of Director Generals of Civil Aviation Authorities to facilitate the implementation.

Ministries concerned to expedite the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Airspace Management before the next summit.

Ministries responsible to develop strategies to reduce air travel costs between Partner States and reported during the next Summit.

J.  Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Development

Responsible Ministries to ensure that the construction on all sections start not later than October 2014.

Ministers of Finance and Infrastructure to meet and discuss on the harmonization of financing requirements and fast track implementation.

Responsible Ministries to expedite the joint resource mobilization and harmonize project procurement at regional level. The project to be presented as a single project for financing.

Responsible Ministries to expedite the signing of the SGR Protocol before the next summit.

K.   Progress on implementation of oil refinery development 

Partner States to confirm their shareholding participation in the refinery project by July 2014.

40 per cent of the Public Shares be equitably distributed to the interested Partner States.

L.      Fast Tracking Political Federation

The EAC Summit of 30th April 2014 agreed to start on the draft Constitution. The EAC Secretariat to provide options of integration for Partner States to consider by November, 2014.

M. Information Communication Technology (ICT)

Harmonization and utilization on cross-border connectivity and regional standards be completed by June 2014.

Accelerate the migration from analogue to digital television broadcast and conduct analogue switch off.

Partner States to have harmonised legal and regulatory framework for effective SIM card registration linked to National ID database.

Partner States agreed to implement a one-area-Network by December 31st, 2014.

Accelerate the implementation and strategies for e-services to achieve integration and provision of e-services.

Concerned Ministries to incorporate fiber optic access on all Northern Corridor Integration Projects, where it does not exist.

N. Financing

Responsible Ministries to submit reports of the technical studies and any other new information to the Ministries of Finance/National Treasuries for the purposes of structuring the financing arrangements and project marketing.

Ministries of Finance to expedite the financing mobilization for the Northern Corridor Integration Projects to meet agreed deadlines.

O. General Recommendations

Concerned Ministries to consider all statutes and regulations on land matters for all fixed assets for Northern Corridor Integration projects and provide a report during the next Summit.

Concerned Ministries to ensure projects implementation remain within set timelines.

Responsible Ministries to meet and review existing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) concerns raised by Partner States and report progress during the next summit and put mechanisms in place to ensure that contraband sugar originating from outside the region does not enter the market.

All infrastructure projects to set up project management units, similar to the SGR Joint Technical Commission (JTC), and report progress during the next summit. 

Burundi confirmed its full participation in the following initiatives: Petroleum Products Pipeline, Commodities Exchange, East Africa Tourist Visa, Use of National ID,Voter and Student Cards, Single Custom Territory, Standard Gauge Railway, Oil Refinery, Defense and Security Cooperation, ICT and Financing.

P. Follow up and Monitoring

The next Summit will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June, 2014 to review the progress of implementation of the outcomes of the 5th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit.

His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, His Excellency Gervais Rufyikiri, the Second Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, and His Excellency Mizengo Kayanda Peter Pinda, the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania thanked their host H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta for the warm and cordial hospitality extended to them and their delegations during their stay.

Done in Nairobi, Kenya, on this 2nd day of May, 2014

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