By Aloysious Kasoma

Cabinet has approved a move that will see both governments jointly build 223km of road network inside the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Minister for Works and Transport General Katumba Wamala said that the development will boost trade relations and security between the two countries.

Yesterday, Members of Parliament on Budget Committee have strongly opposed a plan by the Government of Uganda to spend Shs254bn on the construction of roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Minister told the Committee that Shs200bn is earmarked for Uganda’s contribution to construction of 223km of roads in the DRC
following a bilateral agreement between Uganda and the DRC to implement strategic infrastructure projects.

According to the understanding, Uganda will contribute 20% of the roads project. The total project cost is $334.5m, thus putting
Uganda’s contribution to $66.9m approximately Shs254bn. “Cabinet approved the construction and upgrading of the national road from Kasindi section at the border to Beni(80km) and the integration of the Beni-Butembo axis(54km) to the national road and the Bunagana (border) to Ruchuru- Goma road (89km) on grounds that the project will benefit the government and people of Uganda through
economic interconnectivity,” Ofwono Opondo the government spokesperson
said recently.

According to the government spokesperson, the move to construct the 223 kilometre road network will help improve mobility and ease business between the two neighbouring countries as well as improved
people to people interconnectivity of the two countries.
“The road network would provide improved security in the eastern DRC and increased trade and investment,” Opondo said.

DRC is one of Uganda’s biggest trading partner with a number of the country’s exports ending up to Kinshasa. In November 2019, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed agreements to work on key road networks within 24 months, connecting the two countries to ease business. However, security concerns on the
routes remain key for business.

Museveni said the road network will ease movement of goods and other services between the two countries “so, when you produce, you supply goods, you supply services. But you also create jobs for the youth.”
The President added that the market factor is equally crucial noting that the Ugandan population of 42 million and that of the DRC of 80 million is not enough. He cited China as a country that has a guaranteed market of 1.3 billion people and yet Child is still
struggling for markets in other countries.

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