As African countries move to develop their infrastructural networks to facilitate trade and movement of labour, the East African Community (EAC) has completed studies for multinational road projects.
“Feasibility studies and detailed designs for two multinational road projects have been completed,” said EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko.
He said the first multinational road project will link Tanzania and Burundi through Nyakanazi –Kasulu /Rumonge – Bujumbura.
“EAC has recently mobilized over USD 340 million from the African Development Bank for construction of this road to be undertaken soon,” he observed.
The project road traverses areas with potential for variety of economic opportunities in particular agriculture for Tanzania. The local communities in the project area face market access challenges for their produce due to lack of reliable and efficient transportation system.
The upgrading of the Kasulu – Manyovu road to bitumen standard will therefore increase the interconnectivity of these isolated districts to other districts and probably improve the social and economic interaction between the people of Kigoma region and others parts of Tanzania.
It will also connect neighboring country of Burundi to Tanzania. It will improve trading between these neighboring countries of East Africa community.
The second road links Tanzania and Rwanda through Lusahunga –Rusumo / Kayonza – Kigali.
Africa’s infrastructure is improving but it is doing so from a low base.
Poor-quality roads and weak transport infrastructure have long been an issue for African trade, and are considered prime reasons for the continent’s low level of competitiveness. T
The large majority of roads in sub-Saharan Africa are poorly maintained and a significant number – around 53% – remain unpaved, according to the African Development Bank, 2014.
But Mfumukeko said the construction of these roads “will not only interlink the region, but also ease the movement of persons and goods as well as spur regional trade.”
The EAC has in recent years provided support to the successful implementation of the Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme which will yield numerous benefits for the riparian states and the communities around the lake.
Under EAC through its institutions such as LVBC and LVFO is implementing numerous projects on Lake Victoria to improve port infrastructure, navigation safety, fisheries and to fight pollution of the Lake.
Across East Africa, partner states have continued implementing road and railway projects in the Central and Northern Corridors.
“Here in Arusha, we are enjoying the Arusha-Tengeru Dual Carriageway and witnessing the near completion of the Arusha Bypass Road. It is important to note that both roads are part of the Multinational Arusha – Holili/Taveta – Voi Road, which is a successor of the Arusha – Namanga – Athi River Road, both of which have been completed,” he added.
The upgrading of the 37 km Ntungamo to Mirama Hills Road to bitumen standard has significantly improved access and speed for freight and passenger services between Uganda and Rwanda, and lowered transport costs on the Kampala-Kigali route.
Mfumukeko told ChimpReports that under the Directorate of Customs, the main priority was to attain the full roll-out of intra-trade and imports regime under the Single Customs Territory.
A pilot roll-out of exports under the SCT was successfully implemented and 736 multi-level users trained in SCT processes.
“I am happy to note that 13 One-Stop-Border Posts are operational in the region. The operationalization and training of personnel at the OSBPs has significantly reduced the time taken by travelers and trucks at the borders from several days to about 15 to 30 minutes on average,” he added.
According to Mfumukeko, to further enhance trade in the region, the EAC Common External Tariff structure and rates were reviewed and aligned to the global changes of trade and current economic environment in the EAC. In addition, up to 41 Non-Tariff Barriers were eliminated.