EAC Heads of State launch another Road to connect Central and Northern Corridors
East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 03 March 2016:
East African Community Heads of State today launched the construction works for the Arusha - Holili/Taveta road which will provide an additional link between the Central and Northern Transport corridors.
The launch of the Tanzanian section of the Arusha - Holili road which will link up with the Taveta - Voi road on the Kenyan side comes in the wake of the 17th Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit which was held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha on Wednesday.
Presidents John Magufuli (Tanzania), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Second Vice Presidents Joseph Butore (Burundi) and James Wani Igga (South Sudan) officially launched the works at Tengeru Township on the Arusha - Moshi road. Rwandan President Paul Kagame was represented at the event by his EAC Affairs Minister, Ms. Valentine Rugwabiza.
The Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate intra-regional trade by implementing the Community's ambitious 10-year Infrastructure Development Strategy especially through the construction of a vast and reliable road network in addition to ports, railways and power generation plants.
Speaking at the event, President Magufuli who is also the Chairman of the Heads of State Summit, disclosed that the road would include the expansion of the 14.1 km stretch from Arusha to Tengeru and the 28.3 km Arusha by-pass which combined would cost US$1.3 million.
President Magufuli thanked the Japanese government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for agreeing to provide financing for the project.
Dr. Magufuli emphasized the need for building high quality roads noting that in Tanzania 67% of cargo was transported by road. He urged the road contractor to ensure the road was built to the required standards and warned that cancelling contracts due to poor performance was not unusual for him as a former roads minister.
He said industrialization was also a priority for the region saying this was the surest way to solve high rates of unemployment and poverty.
"We produce cotton, wool and leather which are used for manufacturing clothes and shoes. I don't see why our people should be wearing second hand clothes and shoes. Why should we export leather as a raw material and then import poor quality shoes which wear out within three to four days?" he asked.
On the EAC One Area Network which is now operational in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, Dr Magufuli said it was regrettable that Tanzania was yet to join the network due to rampant corruption at the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).
He revealed that TCRA had lost TShs 400 billion ($183 million) in irregular deals, adding that those involved had not only been sacked but would also be investigated and prosecuted.
In his remarks, President Kenyatta said East Africans were ahead of their governments in the integration process, adding that the onus was on governments to enable people do business by removing barriers to trade.
"Governments should build roads, pool energy sources to ensure reliable power supply across the region and build industries. We should abandon the artificial borders put in place by the colonial powers which divided communities and now pose barriers to trade and movement of people. Let us eliminate these borders so that our people can move and trade freely," President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta said leaders in the region had resolved to work together in order to create wealth, employment and build industries which will promote exports.
"Value addition and manufacturing will increase our share of trade on the world market which is currently low," said the Kenyan leader, and expressed optimism that the liquid petroleum gas from Tanzania would soon be available for sale on the Kenyan market.
Speaking at the function, AfDB's Eastern Africa Regional Representative, Mr. Gabriel Negatu, said the completed road would reduce transport costs between Arusha and Voi to facilitate cross-border trade, enhance tourism, improve accessibility to markets and social services, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.
"Already, trade revenue on both sides of the border has increased significantly," said Mr. Negatu.
Also at the function were the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers Amb. Dr. Augustine Mahiga, Kenya's EAC Affairs and Labour Minister Phyllis Kandie and Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, H.E. Masaharu Yoshida.
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