The Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit was held on 6th June, 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. The Summit was preceded by the senior/ technical officials and ministerial meetings which took place on 3rd and 5th June, 2015 respectively.
Also invited to the meeting were representatives of the private sector from the region, a critical sector that partners states seek to form partnership with to undertake some of the projects under public-private partnerships (PPP) arrangements.
The summit noted the remarkable progress achieved in the implementation of the turn key projects identified for fast-tracking integration and unlocking critical sectors of the regional economies. Notable among the flagship projects that have registered tremendous strides are the construction of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, implementation of Single Customs Territory, operationalisation of the One Network Area, the launch of the Joint Intelligence Centre, the operationalisation EATV regime, the waiver of work permit requirement for citizens of Northern Corridor member states, joint promotion of the regions as a single tourist destination, signing of agreements to facilitate free movement of professional labour and services, oil refinery development among others.
During the summit, partner states agreed to adopt the draft regional data sharing framework for National ID and SIM card, curb incidences of damaging the fibre optic infrastructure and establish regional ICT chamber for NCIP. It was further agreed to encourage private sector participation in the ICT sector, monitor closely the implementation of the power interconnectivity project in order to avoid delays in power trade.
The summit directed ministries of Finance/National Treasury to avail funds for land acquisition for projects whose feasibility studies have been completed as well as secure funds for actual project implementation. Partner states were requested to expedite capacity gap analysis and develop regional trading platforms for commodities exchange.
Regarding the skills audit for NCIP projects, partner states agreed to expedite the procurement of a consultant to undertake skills audit for the Standard Gauge Railway and form a consortium comprising universities from the region to carry out skills audit for other NCIP projects.
During the summit the following Agreements/ MOUs were concluded:
• Agreement on Total Liberalisation of Free Movement of Labour
• Agreement total Liberalisation of Free Movement of Services
• Memorandum of Understanding on Foreign Policy Coordination and
• Memorandum of Understanding on Cyber Security.
The Summit was appraised on the challenges facing the national carriers (Kenya Airways and Rwandair) occasioned by stiff competition from highly subsidised airlines from outside the region and directed sector ministers to strategically address the issues and expedite the establishment of the Northern Corridor Airspace Bloc.
The summit witnessed the launch of the Northern Corridor website (www.nciprojects.org) and web portal.
The summit reiterated the resolve to continue working together to widen and deepen the integration through fast- tracking of the infrastructure projects. To this end, the summit recommended formation of the Northern Corridor Initiative Authority to spearhead activities of the Northern Corridor.