Kenya and Uganda have signed various bilateral agreements to boost the economies of the two countries and sustain the status as the biggest trade partners in East Africa.
The agreements centred on infrastructure, transportation, oil and gas, electricity, job creation, and security.
Addressing the Ugandan Parliament on Monday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that among the projects being undertaken by the two countries include an oil pipeline, the Standard Gauge Railway line among others.
Uhuru urged Ugandan investors to explore business opportunities in Kenya which has reduced trade barriers by close to 60 percent.
KBC reports that the official figures from the ministry of trade put the total trade between the two countries in 2014 stood at 88 billion shillings, with Kenyan exports to Uganda standing at 70 billion shillings.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who is on a three day state visit to Uganda told the Ugandan parliament that Kenya is will to address existing trade barriers to deepen ties with her neighbors.
The two countries are undertaking major infrastructural projects with the highlight being the standard gauge railway which is set to link Uganda and Rwanda to Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in his address to the Uganda legislators noted that President Kenyatta had helped ease the movement of goods from 18 days to a record 3 days taken by cargo.
He pointed out that the completion of the standard gauge railway will help cut down on cost and time taken in ferrying cargo with a record 4hrs from Kenya to Kampala.
On his part President Kenyatta said the integration exercise was centered on prosperity and his visit would help in generating trade treaties that will see development of an oil industry, Pipeline and generation of power between the two countries aimed at spurring regional economic growth.
Uhuru has encouraged Youth in the region to factor in their knowledge in creating entrepreneurial jobs that will help the region compete with the international community.
After inspecting a guard of honour at State House Entebbe, President Kenyatta and his host President Yoweri Museveni held one-on-one talks focusing largely on growing investments and trade, as well as the building of an oil pipeline from the Ugandan oil town of Hoima, through Lokichar to Lamu.
The leaders agreed that subject to financing arrangements and Kenya guaranteeing security, the pipeline project should stand without further delay. Kenyan exports to Uganda stand at just above $700 million compared to imports worth $180 million.
At the bilateral talks also at State House Entebbe, President Kenyatta stressed that for East Africans to achieve prosperity Kenya and Uganda need to together work in partnership.
“Kenya and Uganda are joined at the hip, we are brothers and sisters who need one another and the main purpose of our visit is to strengthen the already good partnership that exists between our countries and our two people,” said President Kenyatta.
“We are stronger when we work together, we are stronger when we do things together and I think Kenya has already taken up that spirit.” He added.
President Kenyatta pointed out that Kenya cannot be stable and prosperous if its neighbours are facing challenges and that the two countries need to work closely with each other in sorting out challenges facing other countries within the region.
“Be it South Sudan, Somalia or Burundi, we have always taken a common position and a common stand in recognition that we need that stability to achieve the objectives that we have set for our people,” said the President.
On his part, host President Yoweri Museveni said the two countries have continuously worked closely to ensure regional security and more so in tackling terrorism.
He commended President Kenyatta for being proactive in ensuring that whatever agreements are reached between the two nations implementation is done promptly.
“We are very, very happy with the actions of His Excellency especially when he came to government It used take 18 days to transport goods from Mombasa to Uganda, it is now taking three days,” President Museveni said.
“Now, with the railway which we are planning, it will take just one day so that the people of the interior of Africa are not disadvantaged with their geography, “said President Museveni.
President Kenyatta is accompanied by a delegation heavy in the economic cluster, which includes Cabinet Secretaries Amb. Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Henry Rotich (National Treasury), Amb. Raychelle Omamo (Defence) and James Macharia (Health and Acting CS for Infrastructure).
Principal Secretaries Eng Joseph Njoroge for Energy and Petroleum and Sicily Kariuki of Agriculture are also in Uganda.
On Sunday, President Kenyatta addressed the Ugandan business community and Kenya’s diaspora.
Kenyatta’s visit to Uganda comes a week after the two leaders met at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa at the US-chaired meeting on the situation in South Sudan.