Uganda yesterday agreed with Kenya to develop the oil pipeline to Lamu Port, dropping an earlier option of using Mombasa or Dar es Salaam which is a longer route and more expensive.
In a memorandum of understanding read by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Sam Kutesa, after the meeting between Presidents Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the pipeline would be extended to Rwanda.
“It was agreed that we develop two oil pipelines, one pipeline that currently exists and brings products from Mombsa to Eldoret should be extended to Kampala and Rwanda. That pipeline will be configured such that it has to have a reverse mechanism so that when we have our own finished products, it can pump those products backwards,” read the memorandum.
“Another pipeline will be constructed and will be for evacuation of crude oil when it starts flowing and this again will be done between Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya, ending up at the port of Lamu,”
Mr Kutesa also said the three countries have agreed to mobilise resources to construct a railway line from Kenya through Uganda to Rwanda.
‘It was agreed to revamp the existing railway network and also construct a standard gauge railway line in Kenya and Uganda and also extend it to Rwanda,” he said.
This, according to President Museveni, would reduce transport costs of goods from Mombasa to Uganda and Rwanda.
When asked why Tanzania and Burundi, the other two members of the community, had not attended the meeting, President Museveni said : “Even if you are two or three, you still talk about EAC issues.”
The specific tasks
Each country was given specific tasks to follow up and achieve the proposed economic projects.
Rwanda is supposed to fast track the implementation of one East African Identity Card and single tourism visa.
Uganda will spearhead the construction of the railway and the oil pipeline refinery while Kenya will oversee the construction of the oil pipeline.
Mr Kutesa said the three heads of state agreed to meet every two months to assess the progress of the massive economic proposals.
When asked whether he would go to the International Criminal Court for trial, President Kenyatta said he was not in Kampala to discuss the issue.
President Museveni also refused to comment on the visit of President Barrack Obama to Africa.
“Obama was not part of our programme,” he said.