Katuna, 23 December 2011
President Kagame has said that the reconstruction of the Mbarara-Kigali road shows shared commitment to development of regional countries and what can be achieved when leaders, neighbours, and development partners work in tandem and in concert to further the interest of their peoples. President Kagame was speaking in Katuna, Uganda, during the ceremony to officially launch the reconstruction of the Mbarara-Kigali road, funded by a grant from the European Union. President Kagame and President Museveni of the Republic of Uganda officially launched the cross-border project.
“Let me remind all of us that this corridor has always existed and been significant in the lives of our people. Nationals of our countries have travelled this road for ages, owing to the natural social and economic ties between them – long before there was a road of this type. Even at that time they understood the necessity for greater communication and trade. Today our economies are larger and highly integrated, requiring a modern highway that effectively links the EAC together, and to the wider world market. This project will no doubt contribute to our people’s wellbeing and overall economic growth. In Rwanda’s case it also fits well in the priorities identified in the context of our Economic and Poverty Reduction Strategy.”
See more pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulkagame/sets/72157628538167143/
Listen to Speech: http://paulkagame.tv/podcast/?p=episode&name=2011-12-23_kagame.mp3
President Kagame noted that once completed, the road would not only ease communication and trade between people in the region, but also reduce delays and overall transportation costs, thereby attracting more investors, tourists and other visitors to the region.
President Kagame underscored the need for safety, maintenance and ownership of the new road;
“This road and, indeed, many others should not turn out to be safety hazards. They should instead enhance the safety of motorists, the traveling public and the communities that live alongside them. Having a good road network is one thing; ensuring that it is properly maintained is another. Our development partners cannot fund the rehabilitation of this network and also provide money for its maintenance. We have the means and the capacity to keep our roads in a good shape so that they also benefit future generations.”
President Museveni also emphasized the need for proper maintenance of the road once completed, so that it can last longer and increase productivity of the East African people:
“I thank the European Union for keeping their promise. This is significant win for Rwanda and Uganda and indeed the entire region. This new road will be bigger, and designed to last longer because it will allow more axle load. This road is for production and people should maximize it by increasing production.”
Ambassador Dr. Roberto Ridolfi, head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda said:
“This is recognition of the joint efforts by the two nations together with EAC and COMESA to set up a unique and unprecedented example in the direction of a future closer integration of the African continent. This two-in-one project that is being launched today presents a unique demonstration of the real meaning of economic and political integration for the benefit of the people.”
The Rwanda Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva and Eng. James Byandala, the Uganda Minister of Works and Transport pointed out that the reconstruction of the Mbarara-Kigali road which is a section of the Northern Corridor would not only reduce costs of transport and commodities but also enhance trade and communication in the region.