EAC Presidents to boost private sector
President Yoweri Museveni and his counterparts, Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), have pledged to engage the private sector on key projects of the Northern Corridor.
The Presidents made the commitment at the Heads of State dinner organised hosted by the President of Uganda Chamber of Mining & Petroleum Dr. Elly Karuhanga for the private sector from the three countries at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Friday.
They met at the 10th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit Saturday to discuss development projects.
The Northern Corridor is the transport link connecting Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Kenya. President Kagame revealed that all the leaders had political will to drive regional integration and development projects but said political will must be matched with action.
“We cannot be faulted as leaders of East Africa or the northern corridor for lack of political will. I think there is plenty of political will,” Kagame said.
“With political will, there are a number of things we need to look at: do we need to plan, have a sense of urgency or do we want to execute without wasting time?” Kagame said the region must deal with bureaucracy that is prevalent in not only government but also the private sector, in order to fast-track development projects.
The Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiative is designed to generate sustainable political will necessary to fast track the implementation of the projects identified.
The heads of state dinner was convened to highlight the opportunities for the private sector to participate in the northern corridor integration projects.
President Kenyatta said the three heads of state of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya had lived to their target of meeting every two months to review progress on the northern corridor.
He said the governments should create an enabling environment and facilitate the private sector to undertake development projects, instead of struggling to do them with limited resources.
“We are not short of capital, yet every day, as governments, we struggle to raise capital, with the belief that government must do every project,” Kenyatta said.
“We have our own pension funds and schemes that we put into useless projects. We do not lack capital. What we need is to facilitate the private sector to get capital for the projects.”
Museveni promised that the private sector would be involved as partners in discussions about the development projects in the region.
“Since we are pursuing strategies of private-sector growth, the private sector must be involved in the discussions. These are the people who are creating wealth,” Museveni said.
He, however, argued that private investment in projects like electricity and the railway were not tenable and may sabotage economic development by raising costs to make profit.