Kenya-Uganda-Rwanda pipeline 'to strengthen East African economy'

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam KutesaUgandan foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa. (Image source: Commonwealth Secretariat/Flickr)Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have formed an agreement to construct an oil pipeline connecting the three countries in an effort to strengthen regional co-operation and reduce energy costs

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwandan President Paul Kagame met in Uganda on 25 June 2013 to sign an agreement to extend the pipeline construction project, which formerly only ran from Kenya to Uganda, to Rwanda.

Ugandan minister of foreign affairs Sam Kutesa said, “The first pipeline is the extension of the current one that brings oil products from Mombasa to Eldoret in Kenya to Kampala (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda). The pipeline will be configured to also have a reverse mechanism so that when we have our own finished products it can pump those products backwards.”

A second pipeline will be constructed to carry crude oil from Kampala to Lamu, Kutesa added.

The agreement did not include details of timescale or construction cost, however the Kenya-Uganda pipeline project was estimated to cost US$302mn.

According to outgoing permanent secretary of energy Patrick Nyoike, Kenya and Uganda have been seeking a contractor to construct the 320km pipeline following the termination of their contract with Tamoil East Africa in September 2012 due to delays.

The agreement comes at a crucial time when Uganda and Kenya have discovered commercially viable oil deposits and the project will help improve economic ties between the neighbouring countries, Nyoike said.

“The pipeline will eradicate the current tanker transportation and subsequently reduce the price of oil for consumers,” he commented.

Besides improving transport time, the pipeline will also reduce frequent road accidents involving tankers crossing borders, said Kenya’s cabinet secretary for East African affairs Phyllis Kandie.

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