Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are taking steps to ensure unfettered inter-movements between the two countries.
To this end, Uganda’s President, Yoweni Museveni, and his DRC’s counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, have laid the foundation stone to mark the start of the construction works of 223 kilometres roads linking them.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at Mpondwe / Kasindi border post.
This comes barely after the governments of both countries signed two agreements, the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), and Project Development Agreement (PDA), to facilitate the implementation of the said project the cost of which $334.5 million.
The project includes the construction and/or rehabilitation of the Mpondwe/Kasindi- Beni road (80 Kilometers), the Bunagana- Rutshuru- Goma Road (89 kilometers), and the integration of the Beni-Butembo Axis (54 Kilometers).
It is being implemented within the framework of a public-private partnership (PPP) in which the shares in the financing are distributed as follows: the Ugandan engineering company Deti Services Ltd (60%), the government Ugandan (20%), and the Congolese government (20%).
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony, President Museveni recalled that the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and those of the Republic of Uganda are linked and have existed as neighbors from time immemorial, and noted that the project will bring about a considerable socio-economic transformation of the lives of the inhabitants of the two nations.
On completion, this project could also double trade in Uganda, a country that makes about $532 million a year from trading with DRC where it exports goods such as plastics, clothing, and food products produced by domestic industries.
In DRC, the project is expected to improve inter-connectivity and security particularly in the eastern region, where reportedly a number of rebel groups operate from.