President William Ruto responds to Paul Kagame by telling him that there is no question as far as Kenya is concerned of stigmatizing Rwanda but the war which affects the 12 eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is hampering the interests of Kenya which are valued at more or less 10 billion US dollars per year!
Indeed, the interests of Kenya through the ports of Mombassa, through which pass all imports and exports from the 12 eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo bring in more than 10 billion US dollars per year!
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday, September 24, 2022, the President of Kenya, William Ruto, claimed that his government would deploy Kenya Defense Force (KDF) troops to the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). ) to ease the conflict in the region.
William Ruto said there was a need to stabilize the region since all East African Community (EAC) countries are mutually dependent on each other, refuting claims that he was subjecting Kenyan soldiers to a new war after the aftermath of AMISOM in Somalia.
“The conflict in Somalia is a Kenyan conflict, as a whole. The challenges in eastern DRC are Kenyan challenges.
Eastern DRC is served by the port of Mombasa, 50% of all imports pass through our country, we have a commercial relationship, we are neighbours…
“These are not responsibilities we can run away from…peace in the DRC, peace in Somalia, equals peace in Kenya,” remarked the Kenyan Head of State.
The Kenyan Head of State said that just as the United Nations (UN) has deployed its forces to help mediate peace and fight the M23 rebels, Kenya is part of the Community of East Africa (EAC) will also contribute to help the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He noted that each country in the EAC, of which the DRC is currently a part, had unanimously decided to add to the required 12,000 soldiers who would help the UN to end the conflict.
“It’s our neighborhood, we have no choice. We wish it could be done by someone else, but if we don’t get involved it will get worse,” Ruto said.
Regarding Rwanda’s support for the M23 rebels, William Ruto believes that it is not a question of blaming anyone, but rather a question of how to achieve a ceasefire.
He said he had held talks with the heads of state of the DRC and Rwanda and they agreed to find common ground for peace.
“President Paul Kagame has been candid that they have nothing to do with M23. There are others who think otherwise.
Presidents Felix Tshisekedi and Kagame are committed to ensuring that we solve the problem as a region and that is why all our countries are providing troops to stabilize this region,” he said.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is a lot of public ignorance about the economic realities of this country at the level of individuals who live in the 14 provinces of the center and the western part and who believe that Congo is only Kinshasa!
Mombasa is the first port in East Africa, and the fifth container port in Africa
Twenty-five (25%) of the goods transiting through Mombasa are routed to several eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, representing in value several billion US dollars!
The competitiveness of the port of Mombasa is enhanced by the SGR railway line which connects Mombasa to the inland container depot in Nairobi.
The acquisition of modern equipment, the improvement of documentation and customs clearance processes, as well as the automation of container handling processes have led to a real improvement in the waiting time during which containers are stored at the terminal at the time of ship unloading (3.4 days in 2018 compared to 3.8 days in 2017).
Through the “LAPSSET” Corridor Program, the largest and most ambitious infrastructure project in East Africa, the Kenyan government aims to develop a transport corridor between the port of Lamu – 32 planned mooring – and the border with Ethiopia (Moyale) and South Sudan (Lokichogio).
Finally, the Kenyan authorities have announced the development and modernization of the port of Shimoni, on the maritime border between Kenya and Tanzania, a multi-purpose berth that will integrate fishing and the handling of other goods. This project will be carried out within the framework of a public-private partnership (PPP).
As for Tanzania, its strategic position gives access to six landlocked provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The port of Dar es Salaam is a major economic asset for Tanzania and the region.
35% of the total throughput of the port of Dar es Salaam is destined for landlocked countries, including Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
Projections suggest that port volumes could more than double, from 14 million tonnes currently to 38 million tonnes by 2030.
The World Bank is committed to financing the project: “Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project”, for a total amount of 421.00 million USD.
The objective of the World Bank project is to improve the efficiency of the port of Dar es Salaam and to strengthen its competitiveness in the interest of public and private actors, by reducing commercial and intermediary costs for companies.
Master Beylard David PhD
Attorneys at Law