President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the Chairperson of the 10th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, has said an Authority of the body is to be established to help in the coordination, supervision as well as to fast track the implementation of the decisions made by the leaders of member countries.
The President made the pronouncement while making his welcome remarks at the opening of the 10th Summit of the Heads of State of the northern Corridor at Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo. The one-day Summit was attended by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit was represented by his Minister of Defense, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, while Burundi President was represented by the Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation, Ambassador Alain Aime Nyamitwe.
In attendance as observers included Hon. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, the Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr. Richard Sezibera, and Mr. Donat Bagula who is the Executive of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority.
The United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also sent powerful delegations while the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Haile Mariam is represented by his Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
President Museveni noted that there has been a lot of progress made but more could have been done if only the body had permanent senior officials to follow up on the implementation of the projects. He said consultations on the proposal, will be made with leaders of the member countries who have not attended the meeting.
“It is a good idea that we have a full time person following the process of the integration projects,” he said.
Accordingly, each member country is going to appoint a senior official who will serve at the Authority to oversee the implementation of the integration projects. The Government of Kenya has already appointed one.
At the end of the closed session, the Summit witnessed the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding that included the aspect of Cyber Security, Total Free Movement of labor, Total Free Movement of Services and the Co-ordination of Foreign Policy.
President Museveni later launched the Web Portal www.nciproject.org assisted by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Hon. John Nassasira.
In a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the Summit and read by State Minister for International Affairs, Mr. Henry Okello Oryem, the Heads of State appreciated the progress in the implementation of various projects under the Northern Corridor Initiative and reiterated their collective resolve to continue working together to widen and deepen the integration of the region through fast tracking implementation.
The leaders welcomed the commitment by the Private Sector to partner with governments of the Northern Corridor Member States.
The Summit, among other things, condemned the Garissa University attack in Kenya in April 2015 and conveyed to the families and to the Government of Kenya their heartfelt condolences. They, however, expressed their determination to jointly address the terrorism threat in the region.
On the Standard Gauge Railway, the Summit noted the signing by Uganda of the US$ 3.32 billion Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract with China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC) for the Northern and Eastern Route of the Standard Gauge Railway.
Regarding the Oil Refinery Development, the Summit noted the progress made by Uganda in the establishment of the National Oil Company.
On power generation, transmission and inter-connectivity, the Summit reiterated the urgent need to observe the timeliness for the completion of the infrastructure that will facilitate power trade between the partner States.
Turning to the issue of defense, peace, and security cooperation, the Summit noted the operationalization of the Joint Intelligence Centre (JIC) in Nairobi and re-affirmed their commitment to jointly address the security threats in the region, including terrorism.
Other issues discussed and given various recommendations included Tourism, Land and Infrastructure Corridor, Air Space Management, Political Federation, Single Customs Territory, Commodities Exchange and Human Resource Capacity Building.