Amidst the ongoing trade rifts and border disputes in the East African Community (EAC), two member countries, Kenya and Uganda, have renewed efforts to promote trade and sustain peace between them, the East African reports.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, while addressing a joint press briefing at State House Mombasa on Wednesday, expressed their desire for joint cooperation on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
The SGR has helped solved Uganda’s cargo problems and prevented it from suffering inconveniences at the Mombasa port, President Museveni said, praising Kenyatta on the railway line initiative.
“Before Uhuru’s time, some people at the port thought they were doing Uganda some favour by clearing their cargo, not knowing they were sabotaging the economies of the two countries. But now we are celebrating the intervention by President Kenyatta,” the Ugandan president remarked.
Also, there are plans to review the SGR, which has significantly improved cargo transportation from Mombasa to Nairobi, with a view to extending it to Kampala (Uganda’s capital). Once completed, it will take 24 hours to get to Kampala and further reinforce the inter-land economy.
The two countries would also work to reduce their trade deficits through import substitution and export promotion “to stop enriching foreign countries,” Museveni added.
More so, there is an agreement to form a formal commission to handle the longstanding border dispute and conflicts surrounding Migingo Island. The commission will look not only into Migingo but also address challenges at other points.
“We also agreed to jointly explore water resources and ensure fishing is done in a sustainable manner,” President Kenyatta said, adding that they were also working on having more border points to allow the easy movement of their people.