Despite the ongoing dispute and border standoff between Uganda and Rwanda, President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday toured Mombasa port with his Kenyan counterpart as the two countries move to strengthen their bilateral ties.
The move offers hope for cooperation in a region that has been traumatised by the border standoff between Rwanda. The standoff is a threat to trade and immigration between the two countries and the region at large. The standoff has been politicised as Rwanda accused Uganda of hosting rebels who are opposed to Kagame’s government.
‘‘President Uhuru Kenyatta and I led our different delegations into bilateral discussions where we covered a lot of ground, especially on matters trade and politics,’‘ Museveni tweeted after arriving in Mombasa.
Furthermore, Museveni commended Kenyatta for his Pan-Africanism and commitment to strengthening trade ties between their two countries. Kenyatta also praised Museveni for his commitment to the joint infrastructure projects the two countries are working on together under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects framework.
The two leaders signed a number of agreements that are aimed at easing trade between the two countries. This is at a time the continent is pushing towards greater trade relations within the continent through the Africa Free Trade Agreement which is in the process of being ratified.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner for customs and border Control Kevin Safari and Julius Rubagumya, the Uganda Revenue Authority Manager in Kenya, spoke on the achievements in cargo transportation between the two countries since the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT).
Cargo moving between the two countries used to be escorted from Mombasa to Malaba before the introduction of an electronic tracking system that has made the movement of cargo much easier. Before the introduction of the system the movement of cargo between the border and the port would make a treacherous 21 days.
The Ugandan leader hailed the revival of the East African Community, joining of COMESA by East African states and signing of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) saying those were progressive steps towards the political integration of the continent.
“Economic integration if it is implemented properly will result in the modernization of African countries. They will be stimulated to produce more,” said President Museveni.
The two leaders announced several agreements that will benefit the business community and citizens in Uganda and Kenya, including;
- Uganda to increase its sugar exports to Kenya from 36,000 metric tonnes to 90,000 metric tonnes annually.
- Uganda to resume exporting poultry to Kenya.
- Uganda to lift ban on beef imports from Kenya.
- Kenya offers Uganda land to build a dry port in Naivasha.
- Uganda to utilise Kenya’s petroleum facility in Kisumu.
Header image credit: Capital FM Kenya