In a bid to ameliorate the trade environment between Uganda and the Democratic Republic Of Congo, the former has submitted plans to spend 200 billion shillings ($53.6 million) on three roads in mineral-rich eastern DRC.
This plan was revealed by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday while submitting the funding proposal to parliament. This was done by Kenneth Mugambe, the ministry’s budget director. No details on how the money will be raised were shared with parliament.
Last month, Uganda’s cabinet last month approved the plan to build the roads, which total 223 kilometers (139 miles). Most of the roads in this region (Eastern DRC) are in disarray, on the back of armed rebel conflicts in recent years. Trade with Congo accounted for $162 million in 2019, according to Bloomberg.
Uganda’s submission would cover 20% of the project value while the other would be met by the DRC, in a one-of-a-kind deal.
“There is always a first time for everything. This is a joint project between the two countries and there is a very good reason for that,” said Uganda’s Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala in September when the plan was first unveiled.
This sees Uganda go through their commitment to improving investment and cooperation with the Democratic Republic of Congo amid a standoff with Rwanda.
Rwanda’s government closed a busy border point shared between themselves and Uganda and went ahead to advise their citizens against traveling to Uganda, saying they wouldn’t be safe in Uganda.
Rwandan authorities also accused Uganda’s government of backing rebels opposed to President Paul Kagame. Ugandan officials in turn accused Rwandan state agents of operating unlawfully in Uganda, including in alleged abductions of citizens wanted back home.