New transit points planned to decongest Malaba, Busia
The Northern Corridor member States are working to open up more transit routes within East Africa to ease traffic through the Malaba and Busia border stations.
In a joint communique of the 34th meeting of the Council of Ministers last week, the partners said they are eyeing to open up a number of routes including transit points through Lwakhakha (Kenya-Uganda border), Nadapal (Kenya-South Sudan border), and Todonyang (Kenya-Uganda-Ethiopia border) to increase cargo haulage and reduce the backlog at border points.
Northern corridor Trade and Finance ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, and South Sudan acknowledged the need to reduce bottlenecks along the corridors to compete with Central Corridor which has since invested heavily on roads and rail to woo more traders to use Dar es Salaam port.
“There is need to coordinate bilateral meetings between South Sudan and Kenya to promote cross-border transport infrastructure development by upgrading Juba-Nadapal road. Also, relevant agencies have to inspect and map out the route linking Moroto-Lokiriama-Lodwar and the most appropriate location for border crossing point for gazettement to ease the flow of cargo along the corridor,” read part of the communique.
Northern Corridor member States also ratified various protocols/strategic responses both at national and international levels to enhance safe trade along the corridor.
“There is still need for a detailed assessment of regional vulnerability and putting in place country-specific and transboundary disaster mitigation measures,” said Northern Corridor executive secretary Omae Nyarandi.
The Northern Corridor States intends to use targeted routes to boost cargo flow to South Sudan, Northern Uganda, and parts of North Eastern DRC.
Also, the States are working to improve the usage of inland waterways by improving the navigability of Akagera River and identifying safety interventions in inland waterways transport in lakes Victoria (Uganda and Kenya), Kivu (Rwanda and DRC) and Tanganyika (Burundi) and River Nile (South Sudan) and promote their implementation.
“To improve efficiency, there is need to organize bilateral discussions on the development of intermodal transport infrastructure and connectivity promoting railway transport, Standard Gauge Railway – SGR,” read part of the communique.
The member states also agreed to capacity building and knowledge transfer for transport and infrastructure institutions of Burundi, DRC and South Sudan in collaboration with the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) and Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) and relevant Transport and Infrastructure ministries.
To improve road safety, the council agreed to disseminate the regional black spots management guidelines in the member States to support the promotion of road safety activities in Burundi and DRC.
Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Ernest Nsabimana said there was need for member State to work in harmony to pull resources improve efficiency and business along the corridor.
“Unlike many parts of Africa, Northern Corridor region continue to face a wide range of challenges such as lack of harmonized policies and regulations, inadequate infrastructure, lack of financing as well as trade bottlenecks. We need to intensify our efforts to foster structural transformation and regional integration by developing reliable, efficient, and sustainable infrastructure systems,” said Dr Nsabimana.
He added, “The levels of investment required for such large-scale regional infrastructure are often beyond the individual capacity of the countries; hence the need for cooperation and collaboration.”