In June 2013, the first infrastructure Summit of the Presidents of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda held in Uganda put in place mechanisms for fast tracking the development of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) system linking Rwanda and Uganda to the port of Mombasa to enable faster socio-economic transformation of the East and Central Africa Economies.
These led to the signing of the Tripartite Agreement for the development and operation of a Standard Gauge Railway between Mombasa-Kampala-Kigali with a branch lines to Kisumu (Kenya) and Pakwach/Gul-Nimule (Uganda) between the Republics of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda in August 2013. The Republic of South Sudan acceded to the agreement in May 2014 extending the line to Juba.
To enable development and operationalisation of a Seamless Railway network from Mombasa to Kigali and Juba, the Summit of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects vide the 3rd Joint Communiqué directed the Partner States to develop a Standard Gauge Railway Protocol for the development and operations of the Standard Gauge Railways. The Protocol was signed by Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda in May 2014.
The overall objective is to jointly develop and operate a modern, fast, reliable, efficient and high capacity railway transport system as a seamless single railway operation among the Parties with the specific objectives of:
- Expediting economic growth and development of the Parties by reducing the cost of doing business and increase the region's competitiveness;
- Enhancing spatial development along the SGR corridor;
- Enhancing efficient and cost effective movement of freight and passengers in the region to accelerate trade and services; and
- Sustaining development of other transport infrastructure and adopt new technologies to enhance economic development.
The provisions of the Protocol apply to any activity undertaken in cooperation by the parties to achieve the objectives and therefore parties agreed to;
- Ensure harmonization of policy, legal and institutional framework for SGR
- Adopt a common logical framework of project management
- Adopt agreed common SGR standards
- Cooperate and coordinate in human resource capacity building strategies
- Cooperate and coordinate in joint mobilization of financial resources
- Ensure sufficient budgetary allocations and funding mechanisms including exploring the establishment of a Railway development fund
- Undertake joint implementation of any matter related to SGR inter parties
- Undertake joint monitoring and evaluation meetings
- The signing of the agreement on the development of the Mombasa-Kampala-Kigali/Juba Standard Gauge Railway
- The signing and ratification of the Standard Gauge Railway protocol by Partner States
- Commencement of construction for the Mombasa –Nairobi Section.