Workshop on transport corridor development opens in Dar Es Salaam
A two-day workshop to review the East Africa Corridor Diagnostic Study (CDS) opened today at the Mlimani City Conference Center in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Mrs Sihanga Nkinga opened the workshop on behalf of Tanzania's Minister of Transport Hon. Omari Nundu.
Stakeholders from the EAC and beyond are expected to provide their inputs on the proposed integrated Action Plan for the development as well as improvement of the region's Northern and Central corridors. The workshop also aims to promote broad ownership of the CDS proposals.
In his opening statement, Hon. Nundu remarked that inadequate infrastructure is “an issue that constitutes the biggest concern for our region” and thus commended efforts by the EAC and development partners to address these challenges. He urged the workshop participants to come up with concrete recommendations to guide regional responses that would facilitate transportation of goods and in turn spur trade.
The Minister informed participants that the United Republic of Tanzania was committed to playing its part in improving regional infrastructure, observing that over the last ten years the country had built up to 570km of roads that have improved linkages with the landlocked Partner States of Rwanda and Burundi. In addition, Hon. Nundu said there were a number of initiatives at various levels of inception or implementation in the road, rail and water transport sectors.
Meanwhile the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Mr. Alloys Mutabingwa, said the high cost of transport is one of the serious challenges slowing development and that it was for this reason that development partners have partnered with the collaborating sub regions (of EAC, COMESA and SADC) to address the question of high costs of transport along various corridors.
He cited the ongoing implementation of the North South Corridor that begins from the port of Dar es Salaam and ends at the port of Durban linking seven countries in the EAC, COMESA and SADC blocs as an example of a promising regional response to the existing transportation challenges.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General added that the EAC is moving to reduce high transaction costs at border posts, which studies have shown contribute about 40% of the trade logistics costs, by transforming the existing inefficient two stop border posts into one stop border posts.
Mr Mutabingwa reported that the EAC is close to concluding a One Stop Border Post (OSBP) law to fully operationalize this project. The border posts at Malaba between Kenya and Uganda and at Nemba between Rwanda and Burundi are set to benefit from the OSBP concept.
The CDS proposes various priority infrastructure projects that include enhancing the handling capacities of the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, revival of railways infrastructure, rehabilitation of lake ports and upgrading of Northern and Central corridor road infrastructure in all five EAC Partner States and up to Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Priority operational projects include improving efficiency in customs clearances, Information Technology systems and harmonizing transport policies among others. The priority infrastructure and operational interventions have been costed at a combined $2.4 billion dollars.
Stakeholders attending the workshop include technocrats from the EAC, COMESA, SADC and IGAD regional blocs, development partners, representatives of government ministries and agencies, representatives from the private sector including manufacturers, transporters, freight forwarders and shipping agents.
This article was originally posted on East Africa Business Communities