NEPAD and Egypt launch significant water project connecting North and East Africa

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The Government of Egypt and the NEPAD Agency have launched a special water transportation route stretching from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea.

The project was launched in Egypt’s capital Cairo under the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI), to interlink ten East and North African countries from Uganda via Lake Victoria to Egypt through the River Nile and the Mediterranean Sea.

PICI is a continental infrastructure initiative coordinated by the NEPAD Agency with the aim to accelerate the efficient and speedy implementation of cross-border infrastructure projects, through political leadership.

The navigational line will run through Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt connecting the Nile Basin countries with Egypt.

Speaking on behalf of NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki at the opening ceremony, Dr John Tambi, Transport Infrastructure Expert and Coordinator of PICI, said: “Our ability to effectively implement the PICI projects on a sustainable basis could in fact provide the blue print or model for effectively managing the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa, which is one of NEPAD and the African unions flagship projects.

PICI is part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which aims to accelerate the delivery of current and future regional and continental infrastructure projects in transport, energy, information communications and technology (ICT), and trans-boundary water.

Among the high level delegates to the launch were African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Mrs Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Dr Mohamed Baha'a El Din, and Deputy Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Mr Jesca Eriyo. The navigational line presents a significant milestone in improving alternative modes of transport to road by using water transportation systems for the improved movement of goods, passengers and intra-African trade. It is part of NEPAD’s long-term strategy to link the continent’s major production and consumption centres and major cities through the best hubs and routes in order to accelerate regional integration and open up land-locked countries.

The ceremony concluded with a Cairo Ministerial Declaration underscoring the need for political support for the effective implementation of the project.

Moving forward, NEPAD will coordinate a multi-stakeholder committee to effectively monitor, evaluate and manage its implementation status and the set-up of special training centres to build human and institutional capacities in the Nile river basin.