SGR protocol gets Rwanda, Uganda nod

Saturday March 14 2015

Rwanda ratified the railway protocol on February 18, 2015 while Uganda did on March 4. Kenya, which has begun construction of the SGR, has not. PHOTO | FILE |

Uganda and Rwanda have ratified the Standard Gauge Railway Agreement in readiness for joint sourcing of funds from development partners.

Rwanda ratified the protocol on February 18 while Uganda did on March 4. Kenya, which has begun construction of the SGR, has not.

READ: Search for railway cash begins as Rwandan MPs give SGR nod

According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Michael Kamau, however, the document has been approved by Cabinet and is awaiting parliament’s nod. South Sudan’s protocol is awaiting Cabinet approval.

At the recent Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative Summit in Kigali, the heads of state asked Kenya and South Sudan to ratify the protocol before the next summit due next month.

READ: Kikwete in Kigali for Northern Corridor meet as states pledge speed


The SGR protocol allows the four Northern Corridor partners — Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan — to collaborate on mobilising finance, policies, project management, joint monitoring and evaluation of the project.

“There is urgency in ratifying the protocol by all the partners because they are expected to jointly approach development partners for financing soon after the feasibility study is complete,” said Joe Nyaga, the Kenyan co-ordinator for the projects.

The $3.8 billion flagship project will link the port of Mombasa to Nairobi and eventually extend to neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan, as well as Rwanda.

Kenya and Uganda have been implementing a 1.5 per cent levy on imports to raise funds for the project. The project on the Kenyan side is almost 90 per cent funded by China Exim Bank with the government contributing 10 per cent.

Construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi segment has commenced while feasibility studies on the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisumu and Nakuru-Malaba sections are expected to be completed in June.

To ensure that decisions are reached jointly, the protocol stipulates that the decision-making organ of the protocol shall be a joint ministerial committee that comprises the transport and infrastructure ministers from the partner states as well as a joint commission that will include the permanent/principal secretaries.

Amendments shall only be done with the approval of the heads of state.

The overall objective of the protocol is to jointly develop and operate a modern, fast, reliable, efficient and high-capacity railway transport system in the four countries and Great Lakes region.