SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA,
2ND INFRASTRUCTURE SUMMIT OF EAC HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT,MOMBASA, 28 TH AUGUST, 2013
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome Your Excellencies and your distinguished delegations toKenya’s Port City of Mombasa. We are greatly honoured to host the second Infrastructure Summit. I want to begin by commending each one of you for the diligence with which you ensured that the tasks assigned to you at the inaugural June Summit hosted by President Museveni were accomplished.
The commitment that has so far been demonstrated is as a result of our collective desire to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people. Since it is our stated commitment to accelerate integration through enhanced movement of people, goods and services across our borders, it is my hope that the symbolism of hosting the summit at the Gateway to Eastern and Central Africa will not be lost.
The Port of Mombasa is our common resource. That is made abundantly clear by looking at the data on movement of goods into and out of the port. Some 30% of the 22 million tons of cargo handled in 2012 was destined for transit. As our economies grow, the demand for more efficient transport and communications has never been greater. And we are here because we are alive to that.
We are here to strengthen our coordination in the work we are doing together. We are here because we know that the one thing that can slow down our improving performance is inadequate infrastructure. We know that no country in the world has been able to maintain 7 per cent growth and above on a sustainable basis unless it dealt with infrastructure bottlenecks. We are here because we know that together, we can and we will get the work done. Without expanded infrastructure, the demands of maturing economies on existing facilities present a growing logistical challenge which loads unnecessary costs to taxpayers and consumers.
I am gratified that Your Excellencies share a common vision to catalyse the momentum of regional growth through deliberate actions to anticipate challenges. Our prosperity and security increasingly feature mutual opportunities as well as challenges. The imperative to integrate has never been greater. The readiness with which Your Excellencies have risen to challenges of our time is gratifying and bodes well for the region’s prospects.
At the Uganda Summit, several key matters were extensively discussed. Among them were the development of rail infrastructure in the region, the development of two oil pipelines,enhanced energy production and distribution, implementation of a Single Tourist Visa regime and the strengthening of the Single Customs Territory. Just as the imperative to integrate has been inevitable, the realisation that the scope of this project is dictated by unavoidable dynamics impelled us to welcome Burundi and South-Sudan into these discussions.
Your Excellencies, it is now clear that the key to managing regional challenges is the quick and clear realisation that we share one common destiny, and that working together on as many issues as possible offers superior opportunities to realise our aspirations. After Kampala, there have been seven meetings at various levels during which aspects of the Kampala Communique were clarified, developed and implemented. I am delighted to observe the solid progress made and the level of commitment that each partner State has invested towards the realisation of the resolutions.
Your Excellencies, My Government was assigned the task of spearheading the Action Point on Enhancement of Electricity Generation and Distribution as well as the development of two regional pipelines to carry finished products between Eldoret-Kampala-Kigali and crude between Uganda-Kenya-South Sudan. I am happy to report as follows. Regarding the first Point, we have generated a report presenting several possibilities on regional energy generation and distribution. This report contains proposals on the best means of exploiting electricity resources within each partner State, including such alternatives as nuclear, geo-thermal and other forms of renewable energy. I urge Your Excellencies to consider the recommendations in the context of moving our region towards energy self-sufficiency.
In connection with the development of the oil pipelines, we are happy to report that the first phase of developing the Eldoret-Kampala-Kigali pipeline is on course, with the initial portion currently undergoing bid evaluation while the terms of reference for the feasibility study in relation to the second portion are now complete. We look forward to further discussions on the second phase of the pipeline project. Our ministers have deliberated in commendable detail the procurement and financing options for the Kampala-Kigali segment.
I urge Your Excellencies to consider the model that offers the best returns for the region, saves implementation time without compromising competitiveness or required standards. I have noted with great appreciation the steps taken in implementing the Single Customs Territory. In particular, I applaud member states' revenue authorities for interfacing their customs systems. The result is a seamless flow of information required to ease cargo clearance at first port of entry and payment of port charges. Equally important is the authorities' ongoing dialogue to streamline the evolved processes in order to cover loopholes and prevent losses arising from abuse.
Excellencies, the task we have embarked on is enormous. But I hope you will agree with me that heavy work is mitigated by steady progress. As long as our unity is bearing fruit, we will remain inspired to move forward boldly and quickly. As we review the status of the other decisions taken in Kampala, I want to assure Your Excellencies of Kenya's unstinting commitment to see them through. It will become necessary from time to time to set new objectives, and I am confident that this will only make our common vision easier to achieve. As I conclude, allow me to thank you all once again for being here, ready to work, and wish you fruitful deliberations.
Let me also urge you to tour this city, which is steeped in history.
Thank you very much and God bless you