Northern Corridor initiative resumes meetings
Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Northern Corridor Integration Project (NCIP) initiative are convening in Nairobi, Kenya today.
The ministerial meeting will make way for a Heads of State Summit slated for tomorrow.
The body has not held summit level sittings since April 2016, which had led to concerns on whether the initiative is still alive.
The slowdown in regards to regular meetings and consultation had been previously explained as due to the busy election calendar of member countries in 2017.
At the onset, Heads of State Summits would be held quarterly.
The sessions opened over the weekend with a two-day meeting of technical officials which made way for a ministerial meeting today.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe confirmed that the initiative has resumed meetings.
He admitted that the over duration without meetings had held back a number of projects and initiatives such as infrastructure projects in energy and logistics.
“It has been a while since there was a Northern Corridor Initiative meeting. This has affected the follow up and progress on a number of regional initiatives such as infrastructure projects in railway and energy,” he said.
At the summit, Rwanda will be represented by several ministers; one for Trade and Industry, Defence as well as that of Infrastructure.
He said that the government is optimistic that the meeting will help pick up pace of delayed projects and integration efforts.
The initiative was borne when Presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) first met in Uganda on June 2013, to discuss how to co-operate and speed up development in the region.
There are 16 projects being coordinated under NCIP, with each of the three founder countries initially allocated a set of projects to coordinate.
Projects coordinated by Rwanda are: immigration, tourism, trade, labour and services; the single customs territory; defence cooperation; peace and security cooperation; and air space management.
South Sudan has since graduated from observer status to an active member of the initiative.