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Gov’t confirms plan to build 223km road network in DRC

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Gov’t confirms plan to build 223km road network in DRC

Katumba Wamala

The government has confirmed that it wants to fund the construction of a 223km road network inside another country -the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Minister of works Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala told journalists on Tuesday at Uganda Media Centre, Katumba said that his Ministry is seeking a supplementary budget from the Ministry of Finance over the same.

“We want to improve the connectivity within the two countries. There have been debates on why Uganda is improving infrastructure between the two countries. As a country we can’t operate and exist in isolation but with other countries. The improvement of infrastructure in DRC is a bi-lateral and regional obligation,” he said.

He added that the essence of the agreement between the two countries is to ensure that there is improved accessibility on both sides of the borders both to the public and also to enable trade.

“Uganda has been on the growth path and the export industry is improving. We need to help the manufactures to move their goods faster, we used to import everything, bread but now our industries are up and running, if you want to see what we are exporting visit port bell, ” Katumba noted

Katumba further revealed that when President Museveni and Tshisekedi met last year, they realized one of the impediments to smooth trade between Uganda and DRC is impassable road and decided to work on a joint infrastructural development project.

“By 2018 trade between us and DRC $ 532 million and has the potential to grow twice if the infrastructure is improved. However, it can take you about five days to move from Beni to Kasindi which is about 54kms yet it would take less than a day if the roads are good. This (construction of roads network) was a strategic decision between the two heads of trade that will promote both trade and relations,” he said

The joint infrastructural development project underscores the stable relations between Uganda and DR Congo which have been enjoyed over the last decades, albeit complicated by security tensions in the eastern Congo.

Katumba added that the Standard Gauge Railway is also another joint project between different countries in the region, noting that the road network in the DRC is also another project between the two countries.

“There is always a start. It may not have been there before but we are developing infrastructure together as regional states like it is done with the Standard Gauge Railway,” he said.

Cabinet recently approved the construction and upgrading of the national road from Kasindi section at the border to Beni (80km) and the integration of the Beni-Butembo axis (54km) to the national road and the Bunagana (border) to Ruchuru- Goma road (89km) but the move has since attracted condemnation from members of the public.

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