EA ministers approve $4m Northern Corridor budget

Sunday July 23 2023

Trucks with transit goods from the Mombasa Port get stuck in a jam at Bonje area in Mombasa County, Kenya on April 18, 2023. PHOTO | NMG


Northern Corridor Council of Ministers has approved $4.35 million budget for the next fiscal year, some $1.18 million less than it did in the past fiscal year.

The executive committee has also approved an entity that seeks to address non-physical barriers to trade to enable the Northern Corridor to compete with the Central Corridor.

The entity, Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA), is expected to streamline customs procedures, reduce bureaucracy, and harmonise trade policies and regulations.

In a joint communique after the 35th meeting of the Northern Corridor Council of Ministers in Kigali, the council also delved into how to improve intermodal transport in the Northern Corridor region and the need to work on joint railway projects.

The ministers commended Kenya and Uganda for the renewed interest in railway infrastructure development including rehabilitation of the meter gauge railway.

Read: Kenya, Uganda source funds to revive SGR project


“The secretariat should continue bringing together all the six member states to promote rail and inland waterways transport to ease the pressure on the road network and work towards enhancing a seamless movement of goods along the corridor and reiterated the need to fast-track and operationalise the use of oil jetties on Lake Victoria in the transfer of oil products,” said the ministers.

In May, Kenya and Uganda begun seeking an alternative financier for the standard gauge railway to connect Naivasha and Kampala via Malaba.

Kampala to Mombasa

Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport confirmed ongoing sourcing for alternative financing from Europe, but he did not name the funders Uganda was wooing.

But the new development means construction of the 273-km line is back on, connecting Kampala to Mombasa via Kenya’s own standard gauge railway.

Read: East Africa railways link plans off track

The meeting was attended by all East African ministers including Rwanda’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure and chair of the council Patricie Uwase, Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport Edward Katumba, Madut Biar Yel (South Sudan), Kipchumba Murkomen (Kenya), Marck Ekila (DRC)and Burundi’s assistant minister for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism Kanene Claude.

The ministers called for fast-tracking of the promotion of inland waterways transport to support intermodal linkage and advocate for cross-border trade.

They further directed the Secretariat to come up with strategies to improve private sector participation in Corridor development and infrastructure projects, including supporting development of Roadside Stations and Special Economic Zones.