Uganda’s envoy to Tanzania, Amb Richard Kabonero, has rooted for large-scale investment in regional infrastructure projects to stimulate trade, investment and tourism which he said would create unlimited economic opportunities for people of both countries.
“The joint efforts to achieve sustainable economic development must prioritize regional infrastructure projects and programs that will require an investment of approximately 80 billion U.S. dollars over the coming decade,” said Kabonero.
Uganda and Tanzania have been strengthening their bilaterals relations through trade and joint infrastructure projects.
Among the flagship infrastructure projects earmarked for coordinated development and implementation by Tanzania and Uganda are the Standard Gauge Railway, the construction of new container terminals at Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Mwanza, Port Bell and Bukasa Ports, and the expansion and construction of regional priority airports.
“We have also prioritized energy projects, including the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), power generation from the various sources of hydro, geothermal, gas and coal, as well as power transmission connecting our two countries and the Region’s power pools,” said Kabonero.
“The future of our people and region is bright,” he emphasised.
The envoy spoke during celebrations to mark 59 years of Uganda’s Independence held at Serena Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The event attracted dozens of Ugandans living in Tanzania, diplomats, government officials and the business community.
Kabonero admitted that while the Uganda and Tanzania partnership has continued to strengthen, trade and investment between the two countries is lower than what is potentially possible.
In August, Bank of Uganda and Uganda Bureau of Statistics reported that imports from Tanzania had capped a seven-month surge, replacing Kenya as Uganda’s biggest source of imports in the region.
Uganda’s imports from Tanzania were $149 million, followed by Kenya with $71.6 million.
“Tanzania and Uganda together with our EAC partners can expeditiously work on domesticating our airspace, consolidate one area network in communication, harmonize regulations on emerging technologies, protect our environment, allow free movement of goods and services and eliminate the remaining barriers to trade and Investment,” said Kabonero.
Tanzania and Uganda are planning the Oil and Gas Private Sector symposium on November 25 in Dar es Salaam to create more awareness about the business opportunities from the oil and gas industry.
“We at the Uganda Mission will continue to work tirelessly towards creating an enabling environment that will allow the private sector to share experiences, start business to business networks, identify opportunities and eliminate challenges to trade and investment and ultimately lead to greater integration of our region,” said Kabonero.
The event was spiced by the B52 bang group which kept guests entertained throughout the night.
Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, narrated how former President Julius Nyerere asked the British colonialists to delay Tanganyika’s independence till all East African countries gained independence.
“At a time when Tanzania was ready to get independence, Mwalimu Julius told the British, ‘can we delay so that our neighbours get it and we celebrate on the same day?’”
Amb Mulamula said Nyerere sacrificed Tanzania’s meagre resources to liberate African countries from colonialists and Uganda from the brutal reign of Idi Amin “which opened a new chapter with the people of Uganda.”
“We have had close bilateral relations. We share a lot in terms of history, demographic affinities and being members of EAC. We have to celebrate our relationship through regional integration. Our relations have been cemented by the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC). This has become the new norm of our commercial diplomacy,” said Mulamula.
She also reaffirmed Tanzania’s commitment to the construction of the The 1,445-kilometer pipeline that will transport crude oil south from Uganda for export at the Port of Tanga in Tanzania.
“The pipeline will be one of the longest heated pipelines in the world. We are making history together. The pipeline will be generating economic activities along the way. We urge the private sector to take interest in this project to employ people and improve their livelihoods,” she said.
Tanzania recently launched the Southern route (Central Corridor) from Dar es Salaam port to Port- bell via Mwanza through Rail-Lake-Rail Multimodal Transport.
Kabonero urged the business community to consider using this route as it significantly reduces the cost of doing business.
He also praised Tanzania for fast-tracking the designation of Uganda Airlines to operate scheduled international passenger and cargo services on the Entebbe-Dar es Salaam – Entebbe, Entebbe-Kilimanjaro-Entebbe and Entebbe-Zanzibar- Entebbe routes.
“We believe that this has eased travel within the Region and promoted tourism, trade and investment.”