The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and her Ethiopian counterpart, Hon Tagesse Chafo have called for improved transport infrastructure across the African continent to improve trade and ease movement of persons.
The two speakers said there is need to improve the existing road, rail and air transport network and pledged that Uganda and Ethiopia can take the lead in this development since the cooperation between the two countries is strong.
This commitment was made in meeting between Kadaga and the Speaker of the Ethiopian House of Representatives at Parliament .
Hon Tagesse Chafo is leading a 60 man delegation composed to the business community, diplomats and culture. They are in Uganda for a five day visit.
Kadaga (L) meeting hon Tagesse (R) where they discussed issues of bilateral cooperation
Speaker Kadaga said that the biggest problem is the difficulty of travelling within Africa saying the infrastructure is either non-existent or poor. She added that there are no roads and railways linking the different countries and also the stringent immigrations laws that limit travel of persons on the continent.
“The dream of our forefathers in the African union was to link Africa; but we still have issues of visas; you cannot go to another African country unless you have a visa,” Kadaga said adding that, ‘you may have to fly to Europe in order to come to another country in Africa. I think those are the areas we need to work on’.
The Speaker thanked the Ethiopian government for training the pilots of the newly revamped Uganda Airlines saying this will provide and build capacity in the quest for better air travel in the region.
Kadaga also appreciated the frequency of Ethiopian airlines into Entebbe airport which is at five flights a day.
Hon Tagesse Chafo said that the transport sector is very important and the focus should be on the transport network in the Eastern Africa region adding that this will improve trade.
“The network from Uganda, Kenya (Mombasa), Ethiopia and South Sudan; this corridor is very important. The transport infrastructure is very important. That is our main focus,” Tagesse Chafo said.
He added that Ethiopia is open to providing more training to Ugandan pilots in addition to the six who are currently training in the Ethiopian aviation school.
The two speakers also agreed to further cooperation in the oil and energy sector which the countries are currently pursuing. Uganda will soon start producing oil while Ethiopia is building the largest hydroelectric Dam in Africa.
They also pledged to cooperate on the exploitation and development of solar energy which they say is an alternative to the other sources.
“We are constructing the Great Renaissance Dam and I know there are agreements between your minister of energy and our minister. According to the agreements, we can make arrangements to share the energy also,” Tagesse Chafo added.
Speaker Kadaga also pledged support in the areas of solar energy saying, ‘we will be happy to share knowledge and experiences on solar energy and also wind. But the focus will be on solar’.