Sunday May 11 2014

EAC leaders sign railway agreement


President Museveni yesterday praised China for spearheading economic development in Africa as the regional states signed a big railway deal.
Mr Museveni made the remarks after the signing of the standard gauge railway agreement between the East African Community member states and the People’s Republic of China at State House Nairobi.

The member states were Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, while China was represented by the country’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
According to a statement from State House in Kampala, Mr Museveni thanked the Chinese government for supporting Africa since 1949. He said the Chinese government started standing with Africa during the anti-colonial times.

“The (Chinese) also established the Tazara railway and supported many individuals and projects in Uganda. For example, they taught farmers in the production of rice in Uganda,” read the statement.

Mr Museveni said China’s involvement in trade projects is of mutual gain and he thanked the Chinese government for their solidarity in Africa for the last 60 years.

President Museveni, who spoke on behalf of the visiting delegations, said East Africa needs the railway, electricity and other collaborations in areas such as trade with the government of China in order to support each other for better economic development. He also thanked Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for inviting all East African leaders to witness the ceremony.

The Chinese prime minister said the project demonstrates that there is Equal Corporation and mutual benefit between the East African countries and African Countries, adding that the project is based on quality and mutual benefit.

He said the standard gauge railway project is the beginning master plan which will link seven countries of East Africa to promote easy transport.
President Kenyatta said the cost of transporting goods and movement of people across borders will fall sharply as a result of the construction of the railway, adding that the project is a good step towards East Africa’s integration.
Mr Kenyatta appealed to the partner states to treat each other equally, with mutual trust for development.