TWO agreements, namely the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), and Project Development Agreement (PDA), which will facilitate the construction and upgrade of 223 kilometres of roads linking Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been signed by the governments of the two nations.
The IGA was signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Chrisrophe Lutundula Apala, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of DRC, while the PDA was signed by Alexis Gisaro Muvunyi, the Minister of Infrastructure and Public Works of DRC and Bageya Waiswa, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transport of Uganda.
The project, the cost of which is estimated at $334.5 million, covers the Mpondwe/Kasindi- Beni road (80 Kilometres), the Bunagana- Rutshuru- Goma Road (89 kilometres), and the integration of the Beni-Butembo Axis (54 Kilometres).
It will be co-financed by the governments of Uganda and the DRC. Uganda’s contribution, which accounts for 20 percent of the total budget, was approved by the country’s parliament last year.
Boost to trade between the two countries
The signing of these agreements follows the state visit to Uganda by Felix Antionè Tshisekedi the president of the DRC in November last year when he and his Ugandan counterpart emphasised the importance of developing cross-border infrastructure which is essential to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The East African country exports to the Central African country sugar, rice, beer, wheat flour, cookies, and cosmetics amongst others while the DRC exports iron, pearls, mineral fuels, wood, charcoal, rubber, and others to Uganda.
However, despite the lucrative business opportunities between the two nations, trade has been hampered by the poor road network.