DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania and Uganda have signed yet another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the supply of electricity to villages along the Uganda-Tanzania border.

The signing ceremony which was held in Bukoba, Kagera Region at the weekend, comes just four days before President John Magufuli and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, lay a foundation stone for the construction of the East African crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania.

The two leaders are expected to lay a foundation stone for the project in Tanga on Saturday. The rural electrification MoU was signed between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, and Uganda's Minister for Energy, Mr Simon D'Ujanga.

Dr Mahiga signed on behalf of the Minister for Energy and Minerals. In the main agreement, the two countries put pen to paper on the implementation of a project for electricity supply to Nangoma village, located at the Uganda-Tanzania border and other villages around the area on the Tanzanian side.

According to the Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Dr Medard Kalemani, who witnessed the signing ceremony, the Rural Energy Agency (REA-Tanzania) would fund the 33 kilovolt electricity at a cost of US dollars 36,923.06.

Similarly, he added, Uganda's Rural Electrification Agency (REA-Uganda) would foot the bill for the construction of 7.5 kilometres of another 33 kilovolt from the border to Bukwali, Gamuli, Bushungulu, Nangoma, Omurushenye, Mizinda and Lukunyu villages at a cost of US dollars 724,239.06.

The meeting of ministers was preceded by another meeting of Permanent Secretaries from different ministries from both countries held on July 28, in Bukoba as well.

Last year, Uganda chose the Tanzanian route to export its crude oil amid competition from Kenya, which also wanted to clinch the deal to transport oil to yet to be constructed Lamu Port in North-Eastern Kenya.

President Museveni made the decision to construct the pipeline through Tanzania during the 13th Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) summit in Kampala, which was also attended by Presidents Paul Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta of Rwanda and Kenya, respectively.

The envisaged pipeline through Tanzania will be of benefit not only to Uganda and Tanzania, but also other countries in the region such as Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).