Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has stated that it is fundamental that the cost of transport, electricity and the internet is made affordable to boost development and attract investment to the East African region.
Museveni warned that high electricity, transport and internet costs will not allow East African nations to industrialize.
“When we are dealing with the Railway, Electricity and ICT backbone, we must ensure the final price of the utility is competitive because those elements are dangerous cost-pushers. Therefore, the cost of money and the structure of ownership should never be allowed to interfere with this strategic aim,” Museveni warned.
Speaking at the opening of the EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development in Kampala on Thursday, Museveni, who is the East African Community chairperson, also called for a harmonised approach of procuring projects in the region to cut costs.
“As Heads of State, we agreed on the priority projects across the region but we do not have in place a harmonised approach of procuring for these projects. This is an area that we must address, collectively,” he said.
He highlighted two projects undertaken jointly, railways and the Single Customs Territory.
“With the completion of the Standard Guage Railway (SGR) transport costs of cargo per tonnage within the East Africa region will tremendously reduce. The transformation of the EAC Customs Union into the Single Customs Territory was a major step in advancing the integration agenda. The Community has, since January 2014, incrementally rolled our cargo on the Single Customs Territory,” Museveni said.
The Joint EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development brings together two events namely the 4th EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure Financing and Development and the 1st EAC Summit on Investment in Health and Health Sector Investors and Donor Round Table and International Exhibition.
The Heads of State Retreat aims at accelerating the attainment of the objectives of the EAC Development Strategy, Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals in the infrastructure and health sectors.
The 4th EAC Heads of State Retreat
The EAC Heads of State retreats on infrastructure development and financing aims at supporting infrastructure development to facilitate regional integration and socio-economic development in the EAC.
To date, three retreats have been held, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. During the 2nd Retreat, the Heads of State institutionalized the retreat on infrastructure development and financing to be held once every two years.
Through the Heads of State Retreat, several projects in transport, energy and civil aviation have been identified for development at the regional level and resources mobilized for their implementation..
FULL SPEECH BY MUSEVENI AT OPENING OF THE RETREAT