Roundup: Progress made in Djibouti-Kampala transport corridor

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ADDIS ABABA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- East African countries under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Thursday finalized development studies for the Djibouti-Addis Ababa-Juba-Kampala regional economic and infrastructure integration corridor.

The corridor, also known as the Djibouti-Kampala corridor, mainly envisaged to create a regional economic and infrastructure corridor by interconnecting four East African countries that are Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.

The East African bloc IGAD, which promotes infrastructure and economic integration among its member countries, on Thursday concluded a high-level meeting that marked the completion of the transport facilitation and road upgrading studies for the ambitious corridor.

The two-day meeting from May 15 to 16 that was held to finalize the development of studies for the corridor, also witnessed the signing of an agreement among the four East African countries toward the success of the project, IGAD said in a statement on Thursday.

"The four IGAD member countries pledged to finalize the associated documents within the next few months, and to intensify efforts to ensure the success of the project," an IGAD statement read.

The project mainly aspires to interconnect the three land-locked East African countries with ports in the Red Sea nation Djibouti, it was noted.

Feasibility study of the regional corridor was funded by the African Development Bank, and conducted by the Africon Consulting firm - a regional consulting firm based in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.

The transport corridor, covering all the way from Ugandan capital Kampala to Djibouti, is said to enhance regional connectivity, reduce transport costs, improve access to local, regional and international markets as well as boost regional trade.

The corridor is also expected to promote tourism among the four countries, foster regional cooperation and integration, and improve socioeconomic opportunities of the Horn of Africa.

According to IGAD, "the soft part, the feasibility study of the project has been successfully concluded. The participants are looking into the hard part of it, which is the implementation part."

"The study strongly recommends the implementation of the Corridor after carefully analyzing components of the project, and found that its components are technically and economically feasible as they scored high economic indicators," IGAD said.

IGAD's Executive Secretary, Mahboub Maalim, who called on the four IGAD member countries to embark on the implementation phase of the corridor, also commended the completion of the feasibility study as a "timely delivery of a quality product."

"One of the main outcomes of our meeting was the agreement on the way forward with the signature of a memorandum of understanding towards implementation," the executive secretary said.

Maalim also stressed IGAD and its member countries' ambition toward regional and continental infrastructure and economic integration.

According to Maalim, a recent report from the UN Economic Commission for Africa has "ranked IGAD as first in Africa in terms infrastructural contribution to regional integration."

Director of Transport and Infrastructure Development at the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport, Fekadu Shumet, noted the significance of the corridor and commended IGAD's efforts towards the success of project. Enditem

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