President Yoweri Museveni has Monday addressed Parliament on integration and transformation of the East African region to modern and prosperous one.
He said integration was not a mere fashion but a necessity for East Africans.
“Integration is centred on two issues. One is prosperity. When we talk of integration, we talk of prosperity; of families, of businesses….Integration is not a fashion. It is a necessity.”
He said the other aspect of integration was security pointing out that the world seeks superiority on land, at sea, in the air.
He took off time to salute the contribution of his guest and Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
“When President Uhuru is here we are most pleased. When he took charge of Kenya, he solved one of our problems. In the past, movement of goods took 18 days from Mombasa to Uganda. It now takes 3 days.”
He said with the Standard Gauge Railway we are building with Kenya, it will take 24 hours for a container to move from Mombasa to Kampala.
In his address, Kenyatta said the Northern Corridor Integration projects have led the way citing the Standard Gauge Railway, whose construction, he said, starting in Mombasa, is progressing on schedule.
“On its completion, it will dramatically reduce cargo transport costs by 60% to the benefit of Ugandan businesses, farmers and consumers alike.”
He said Kenya was also expanding the port of Mombasa and taking strong steps to rapidly improve its efficiency to global standards.
“We are also going ahead with the development of the LAPSSET project, which will offer the region yet another world-class outlet for its goods.”
“These infrastructure efforts are driven by the recognition that with Uganda as our neighbour and largest trading partner, we must prosper together.”
He said the two countries were also working to exponentially increase power generation, while looking to make transmission and interconnectivity reliable and broadly accessible.
“We are going to build pipelines for crude oil and refined petroleum products, as well as to join you, alongside our other East African partners, in the development of an oil refinery here in Uganda whose impact will be regional.”
“Our destination, to put it simply, is to become a region of dignified, secure, and prosperous people governed democratically and justly. How we achieve it is by understanding and playing our respective roles as branches of government, the citizenry, the political opposition, civil society, and the private sector.”