Uganda and Kenya have agreed to work together and avail funding for the building of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which has stalled on the side of Uganda over lack of funds.
In a joint statement issued on Friday, Uganda’s Works Minister Gen Katumba Wamala, and Kenya’s Roads minister Kipchumba Murkomen said they will work together to extend SGR from Naivasha in Kenya to Malaba border. From there, Uganda will extend SGR from Malaba to Kampala.
“In the agreement, Uganda has committed to ensure that SGR is extended to the border with Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC Congo as soon as possible to further improve viability and attractiveness for financing of the SGR along the Northern Corridor,” Mr Murkomen said.
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan – launched the construction of SGR in 2014 as part of the Northern Corridor infrastructure project. While Kenya constructed its part from Mombasa to Nairobi, the extension to Malaba border did not take off. The side of Uganda has also not taken off ever since due to funding gaps for which $2.2 billion (about Shs8 trillion) is required.
The two leaders said their countries commit to undertake the SGR extension project as a regional project under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative. The leaders also agreed to build dry ports and industrial parks along the rail routes to improve the viability and attractiveness of the project.
In May this year, the Uganda government got funding from a commercial bank and contracted a Turkish company to carry out the SGR construction.
The Turkish company will construct a 273-kilometre (170-mile) SGR from Malaba to Kampala.
Currently, the government is compensating people and also relocating them from the areas where the railway is to be passing so that the contractors are not delayed when works start.
Uganda is also rehabilitating the metre gauge railway between Malaba and Kampala City.