Kenya, Uganda reaffirm trade, security commitment

President Kenyatta has urged EAC states to embrace progressive integration
President Kenyatta has urged EAC states to embrace progressive integration

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni have reaffirmed their commitment to foster trade and regional security between the two countries.

In a communiqué after President Kenyatta’s three-day State visit to Uganda on Monday, the leaders stressed the need for the East African region to put their efforts towards the success of integration which will benefit the whole region.

The two leaders agreed to deepen bilateral trade, free movement of people, goods, labour and services, including the elimination of all trade barriers.

President Museveni commended President Kenyatta for being focused and proactive in ensuring the implementation of initiatives aimed at bridging the trade imbalance between the two countries.

Currently, Kenya exports to Uganda are estimated at USD700 million compared to imports worth USD180 million.

The two Heads of State welcomed the establishment of the Uganda-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission as an important framework for deepening and expanding bilateral cooperation noting that developing oil infrastructure is key to the commercialisation of oil.

President Museveni said the protracted engagement with industry players on the importance of an oil refinery for Uganda had delayed commercialization of the country’s petroleum resources.

On development of a crude oil export pipeline, the leaders noted that development of a crude oil export pipeline needed to be implemented expeditiously, without further delay in commercialising the petroleum resources.

The pipeline will take the northern route from Hoima to Lokichar in Turkana County and onwards to Lamu.

On the refined products pipeline from Mombasa via Eldoret to Kampala, the Heads of State agreed to develop a reverse flow petroleum product pipeline capable of transporting imported petroleum products to Uganda and also from the refinery in Uganda to Kenya.

Security peace and stability

They expressed their optimism that the integration process will ultimately lead to realisation of the East African Political Federation.

President Kenyatta and President Museveni reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together with respective governments and other stakeholder in resolving outstanding political and security challenges in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi.

They expressed their concern on the continuing peace and security challenges in the region and in particular the emergence of extremism and terrorism.

The two leaders agreed to intensify joint efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

President Kenyatta who has been on a three day state visit toured the Cipla Chemical Industries, a pharmaceutical plant which specializes in the production of the latest Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and Anti-malaria (ACTs) medicines.

The President also addressed a Kenya-Uganda business forum where he witnessed the signing of an MoU between the Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Uganda Chamber of Commerce and Industry and met Kenyans residing in Uganda.

President Kenyatta was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Raychelle Omamo (Defence), Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and James Macharia (Health).

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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