President Museveni Rooting For A Railroad Linking Uganda To Ethiopia
On a state visit to Ethiopia, the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Uganda. The MoU is geared towards boosting cooperation between the two countries in matters touching on: Health, Energy, Transport and the establishment of Capital City Cooperation.
President Museveni pointed out the strong existing relationship between the two countries; terming it as both historical and geographical. He further went to suggest the construction of a railroad linking Uganda to Ethiopia via South Sudan. He emphasized the need for the railroad saying that the current existing links between the two countries was through the Ethiopian Airlines which ought to be exploited to increase trade between them.
Currently, Uganda is working on an $8 billion, Standard Gauge Railway linking it to its regional partners in the East African Community (EAC). Even though the project has been marred by allegations of corruption and other legal battles, should the Standard Gauge Railway be successfully completed, it will boost trade in the EAC.
If or when such a railroad linking Uganda and Ethiopia be constructed, not only will bilateral trade between the countries be boosted, but also the tourism sector is expected to be revamped.
“The tourism sector needs to be strengthened in the region. This will lead to a lot of progress among all the countries in the region. Uganda and Ethiopia are gold mines for tourism. The Eastern African Regions is endowed with snow-capped mountains and other historical sites that have the potential to attract tourists,” said President Museveni.
In the meantime, he suggested that Ethiopia and Uganda could pick out commodities that could be traded between the countries and are easily transportable by air. Other good for trade that don’t fit this category, will be shipped by sea through Djibouti on to the Kenyan Port of Mombasa. He further rolled out the ‘Welcome Matt’ to Ethiopian entrepreneurs interested in investing in Uganda.
President Museveni also said that collectively, the African countries have the potential of generating up to 360,000 megawatts of electricity. Pointing out that Ethiopia alone has the biggest predicted potential of generating electricity.
His host the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn said that Uganda’s President visit further strengthened Ethiopia and Uganda’s relationship.
“Our two countries have had brotherly relations and we belong to the Nile Basin and Great Rift Valley.”
Desalegn expressed Ethiopia’s appreciation of Uganda’s role in allowing for the sharing of the River Nile water resources. He however pointed out that poor infrastructure has greatly hampered formulation of development strategies within the region. He was, however, optimistic that once the hydropower station being constructed in Ethiopia was finished, Uganda will be among the beneficiaries.
Desaleng also saluted Uganda on its efforts to bring peace in South Sudan. The press raised a question touching on this issue; asking President Museveni when he plans to withdraw Ugandan troops from South Sudan.
“We did not go to South Sudan looking for jobs. The people of South Sudan and Uganda are brothers,” answered President Museveni.
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