THREE East African Community (EAC) member countries - Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania - have unanimously agreed to hasten inter-connectivity of National Fiber Networks and Infrastructure for the benefit of the citizens in respective countries.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT in Uganda, Mr Vincent Baggire, told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview in Bukoba on Wednesday that negotiations between sector ministries in the countries were being finalized to ensure that the exercise was completed within the set timeframe.
Mr Baggire, who led a threeman delegation to inspect the infrastructure in Kagera Region, expressed optimism for best results. The countries share common borders and infrastructure, including road networks.
“In some cases, road networks had already been connected. What now remains is interconnection of ICT between the three countries. We are looking forward that the exercise will be completed soon. These are final steps,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ms Maria Sasabo, echoed her colleague’s sentiments, noting that Uganda had already signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) while Tanzania would do so in the near future.
She noted that the permanent secretaries in the three countries had set a three-month deadline to ensure that the work was completed.
Emphasis would be laid on ensuring that after the ICT interconnectivity was completed, she said, adding that supervision would be effective, to ensure that in the event of a fault occurring in one country, it was fixed swiftly.
The PS stressed that the fifth phase government under President John Magufuli was committed to ensuring that most Tanzanians benefitted from its vast natural resources.
She noted that over 7,000 households in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi were set to benefit from 80 megawatts of electricity from the Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project along Kagera River.
Each partner state will have a share of 26.6MW to be connected to their national power grids. “ The project is also meant to strengthen the regional power interconnections between the three countries, which are also member states of the East African Community (EAC).
Apart from the 7,000 households to benefit through the local area development programme, there will be additional188 households surrounding the project, to benefit directly through the livelihood restoration programme,” she said.
Construction of the power generation plant is financed by the World Bank while the transmission lines that will connect the power plant to the national grids in the three countries will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Rusumo Power Plant is implemented by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) mandated by the three countries through the Rusumo Power Company Ltd (RPCL).
“After its completion, the project will enhance socio-economic growth, reinforce regional cooperation, partnership and peace within the Kagera River Basin countries. Construction of the power plant is expected to last three years, until 2020,” she remarked.