Tanzania and Uganda have signed an agreement to build a 1,445 kilometer pipeline that will link the two countries.
The documents for the realization of the 3.5 billion dollars (2.7 million euros) project were signed on Sunday by Presidents John Magufuli of Tanzania and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
The future pipeline will connect the Ugandan oil fields to the Tanzanian port of Tanga.
The start date for construction of what is expected to become East Africa’s first major pipeline has not yet been announced.
Significant oil reserves were discovered in Uganda in 2006.
But the exploitation and production of the minerals has been delayed in part by the lack of infrastructure and the existence of an export pipeline.
However, the construction of the future pipeline could have a huge cost on some Ugandan communities.
A joint report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Oxfam says more than 12,000 families are at risk of losing their land and livelihoods.
According to environmentalists, ecosystems along the route of the future pipeline are threatened by drilling in Uganda’s nature reserves.
The French oil giant Total is studying with the Chinese CNOOC and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania ways to limit the risks.
About 80% of the pipeline will pass through Tanzania and the project is expected to create more than 18,000 jobs for Tanzanians, according to government spokesman Hassan Abassi.