Recently, the Ugandan Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb Patrick Mugoya, made a field visit to the new Nile Bridge Project in Jinja to assess the ongoing Nile Bridge projects and programs between the Uganda and Japan.
The initiative is in line with the mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foster International Political and Economic Cooperation as well as resource mobilization. The team was received at the site office in Mpumudde by the Deputy Resident Engineer, Prof. Jackson A. Mwakali, the site engineer from UNRA, Morris Odoch, and the contractors The Zenitaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering & Construction Corp.
They were briefed about the objectives and progress of the project. Prof. Mwakali said that the bridge aims to contribute to regional economic growth, ensure safety of the Northern Corridor Route Transportation system and enhance tourism.
Prof. Mwakali explained: “Besides being 525m long, the bridge will have a Pocket Park for better viewing by tourists and a Road resting station (Michino-Eki) will be provided with a structure containing a mini-supermarket, restaurant, room for a bridge maintenance team, security house and an exhibition center.”
Amb. Mugoya thanked the Embassy of the Republic of Japan for organizing the site visit stressing that resource mobilization, increase of Ugandan content, technical skills and knowledge transfer are only possible through the fostering of close bilateral relations. He recalled that the JICA through which project funds are accessed, used to operate from an office in Nairobi but due to diplomatic engagement had opened up an office in Uganda.
Director for Regional and International Economic Cooperation, Amb. Isaac Sebulime said that the MoFA is currently engaged in finding investments that offer value for money under the Commercial Diplomacy Initiative.
He said that the MoFA considers the Bridge as one of the great milestones in Japan-Uganda Cooperation because of its contribution to social-economic development.
“The new bridge will ensure that the cost of doing business in Uganda is lowered both through higher speed limits which ensure perishables are transported faster and its aesthetic value which boost external tourism but more importantly, domestic tourism which is more economically dependable,” Amb. Arthur Kafeero, Ag. Director of Regional and Political Cooperation explained.
“A bridge whose design and structural lifespan is 120 years symbolizes another 120 years of friendship,” he added.
The team was given a tour of the bridge construction site by Eng. Morris Odrua Odoch, UNRA bridge and structures engineer, including visits to the pylon structures, abutment structures, box girder they noted that it is only a few weeks to near completion.