Uganda reaping fruits of regional cooperation – Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni attended the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

He says the "dream that we started with our political elders" is bearing fruits.

President Museveni says that for example, Uganda now exports 1.7 billion litres of milk to regional partners.

He has also hailed his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta for works on the Kisumu port, in the western part of the country.

Museveni attended the summit along with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, who is South Sudan's presidential advisor on economic affairs.

During their meeting on Tuesday, host Kenyatta said the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will soon reach the Kenyan-Uganda border town of Malaba.

Kenya is done with the first phase of the SGR project. The 427km line from Mombasa to Nairobi is now operational.

Uganda is getting set to start construction of its own section of the railway. That will cost sh8 trillion. The financiers of the project - China Exim Bank - want the Kenyan section of the railway to connect to Uganda for the project to be financially viable.

The SGR is part of a major regional transport project that will link regional cities and suburbs in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and DR Congo.

Here is what President Museveni said of the summit:     

I was in Nairobi, Kenya for the 14th Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects. I thank His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta for hosting us and for his passion for a strong East Africa.

I am happy that a dream that we started with our political elders; Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Mzee Milton Obote is coming to fruition. Things are beginning to move.

Uganda has woken up and is reaping fruits. For example, we are now producing 2.5 billion litres of milk while consuming only 800 million litres. The surplus 1.7 billion litres are consumed by our regional neighbours.

If it was not for this East African market, Uganda's milk industry would have collapsed. It is the same case with maize. Whereas Uganda is producing five million tonnes annually, it only consumes one million tonnes, the rest being exported to our neighbours.

I must apologise to the people who have been affected by the Uganda Revenue Authority's half-a-day work schedule. I am directing that URA works 24 hours a day to make business easier, especially at the border points.

The electricity line to Rwanda through the Mirama Hills is now 75 percent complete. The target is to ensure that it is ready for commissioning by October this year.

I must thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for working on Kisumu port. Water transport makes business cheaper. Uganda is doing something near Entebbe to improve this water transport network. I know that Rwanda too is working towards ensuring connectivity through the Kagera River.

I challenge the technocrats to study how developing this water transport network can help the region exploit the Muko iron ore deposits using the gas under Lake Kivu. – New Vision