Uganda and Kenya have agreed to construct their railway lines concurrently to expedite works on the regional standard gauge rail network, Chimp Corps report.
This was revealed by the Ministers responsible for transport of the two countries during a bilateral meeting on June 23 at the sidelines of the Northern Corridor Integrated Infrastructure Projects –SGR cluster meeting held in Kampala.
The meeting was called to re-affirm the two governments’ commitment to the development of Mombasa-Nairobi-Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba-Kampala railway line.
It also came against the backdrop of reports that Kenya was not committed to the extension of the railway line to Malaba for Uganda to commence work on the Eastern Route.
It will be recalled that the two governments signed a bilateral agreement for joint and seamless operation and maintenance of the Mombasa to Kampala Standard Gauge Railway in November 2016.
Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda signed on May 11, 2014 and ratified the SGR protocol for the development and operation of the SGR within the framework of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) connecting the Port of Mombasa to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.
In a meeting between Minister Monica Azuba Ntege and her Kenyan counterpart, James Macharia, the two governments “reaffirmed the development of SGR must be done as a regional project within the auspices of NCIP.”
They further expressed their commitment to the “construction of the sections of Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba and Malaba-Kampala SGR concurrently.”
Officials say the development of the SGR will result in efficiency and reduction of transportation costs for the benefit of business people in the region.
In this regard, Uganda committed to ensure that at least 80 percent of all cargo destined for Uganda will be transported by the SGR.
During the bilateral meeting in Kampala, the government of Kenya committed to “fast track the securing the financing for Kisumu-Malaba SGR section.”
The two countries are expected to harmonise the construction plans for the remaining sections.
ChimpReports understands the commercial contracts for Kisumu-Malaba and Malaba-Kampala have been signed and the governments are in the process of mobilising the financing for construction.
Government of Uganda is negotiating with Exim Bank of China for the financing of Malaba-Kampala SGR.
The Bank has since emphasised the need for joint development of the SGR together with the government of Kenya to achieve viability, in particular the synchronization of the construction timelines of Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba in Kenya and Malaba-Kampala in Uganda.