CAPE TOWN: Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, has expressed Uganda’s willingness to foster trade ties with the Democratic Republic of Congo, noting that this would help in limiting the conflict in the eastern part of DRC.
Nankabirwa made these remarks during a courtesy visit to the exhibition booth of her DRC counterpart, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi, at the Invest in Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday.
Nankabirwa said Uganda is constructing a power transmission line and a road to eastern DR Congo, both of which are expected to deepen trade ties between the two countries.
“We plan to build a transmission line, and this is in the spirit of the East African Power Pool. We are also building a road, which should improve trade between the two countries,” she said.
Uganda plans to export excess power from the Nkenda substation in Kasese through a 220kV transmission line to eastern DRC. The East African Power Pool is a programme that promotes the sharing of electricity infrastructure among the regional countries as part of a strategy to achieve universal access to electricity.
Kalambayi, who spoke through a French translator, thanked Nankabirwa for the visit, and said she planned to come to Uganda soon. She also asked about Uganda’s mining industry and a brief about the government’s legislation.
Nankabirwa, who was flanked by Permanent Secretary Irene Bateebe, said government was in the process of creating a National Mining Company that would manage the state’s interests in some of the projects.
Already, Uganda has locked in a condition for the state mining company to take up to 15% in the recently-licensed Makuutu rare earths project.
DRC is one Africa’s major mining producers. The country boasts of one of the largest deposits of cobalt and copper in the world.