The Secretary General of the East African Community Dr Richard Sezibera is impressed by the progress of road works linking Arusha and Rwanda via Rusumo border.
Dr Sezibera who recently undertook on-spot assessment of the status of the roads along the EAC Central Corridor Road Network Project said he was astounded by the efforts done with the Tanzanian government in upgrading to tarmac level almost the entire central parts of the country.
The Secretary General, made a surprise tour along the road covering almost 1,200 kilometers from Arusha to Rusumo border post via Babati, Singida, Nzega, Isaka and Nyakanazi, after which he commended the Tanzania Government for rehabilitating as well as maintaining the roads on the Central Corridor.
"I am amazed that we travelled on well-maintained tarmac roads all the way from Arusha to Rusumo border connecting the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda, apart from minor sections that are being worked on," noted Dr Sezibera.
En route to Rusumo, the Secretary General met Tanzania Revenue Authority officials at the Isaka TRA checkpoint, one of the three checkpoints on the Corridor, who briefed him that on average they receive 100 container trucks, about 40 fuel tankers and 35 saloon cars per day and they take between 5 to 10 minutes to clear each vehicle.
At the Rusumo border post, the Secretary General was informed that Tanzania and Rwanda had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for 15-hour operations that was being implemented by both.
The Secretary General toured the proposed site of the Rusumo One Stop Border Post where construction work has started. The One Stop Border Post will be located on the Rwandan side of the border.
The EAC is adopting the use of OSBPs as a trade facilitation concept to minimize delays at cross border points on major transport corridors in the region, often as a result of poor facilities, manual processes, lengthy and un-integrated procedures and poor traffic flow.
It entails combining two stops into one and consolidating functions in a single public facility for exiting one country and entering another. The effect is reduced travel time for passengers and freight vehicles.
Dr Sezibera urged the business community at the two borders to take advantage of the good roads to expand their businesses in the region. He reiterated that the EAC recognizes that regional infrastructure interventions were key to attracting investment into the region, improving competitiveness, and promoting trade.
The EAC has identified five main corridors within the Community measuring a total length of about 12,000 kilometers which constitute a strategic priority and require rehabilitation and upgrading to complete the Road Network in the Community.
Apart from the Dar es Salaam-Dodoma-Isaka-Mutukula-Masaka route, the other Corridors are; Mombasa -Malaba-Katuna Corridor; Biharamulo-Mwanza-Musoma-Sirari-Lodwar-Lokichiogio Corridor; Nyakanazi-Kasulu-Sumbawanga-Tunduma Corridor; and the Tunduma-Iringa-Dodoma-Arusha-Namanga-Moyale Corridor.
The East African region operates five modes of transport systems consisting of road, rail, maritime, air transport and oil pipeline.
The infrastructure and support services sub-sector covers roads, railways, civil aviation, maritime transport and ports, multi-modal transport, freight administration and management.
The transport system in Tanzania and Kenya, in addition to supporting national economic development, acts as a vital transit network for the neighboring landlocked countries of the Lake Victoria Basin region of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi Ethiopia, southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The East African Road Network Project (EARNP) project objective is to improve the efficiency of the regional road corridors by rehabilitating failed sections and upgrading gravel roads to bitumen standard. There are about 94 road links over five transit corridors that are under various stages of development.