PUBLISHED ON December 2nd, 2014

EAC endorses infrastructure investment blueprint

A proposed 10-year investment strategy for priority infrastructure projects in the East Africa Community to tackle the existing gaps received backing during the just-concluded EAC Heads of State Retreat on infrastructure development and financing.

The summit, convened over the weekend in Nairobi, Kenya, endorsed the blueprint and directed the Council (of Ministers) to mobilise resources for implementation.

Held under the theme, “Supporting the implementation of the Common Market through the development of efficient infrastructure networks and intermodal transport systems in the EAC,” the summit was chaired by Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto.

Rwanda’s delegation was led by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi.

The infrastructure projects, which include railway, energy, ports and harbours, and information and communications technology, among others, are expected to cost at least $100 billion, according to a communiqué from the EAC Secretariat.

The endorsement comes at a time when the region is in negotiations with development partners, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank as well as individual countries, particularly China and India, in efforts to raise the required resources.

At the retreat, several development partners pledged to support specific infrastructure projects.

Major pledges:

During the summit, the World Bank pledged $1.2 billion toward infrastructure development and improved competitiveness of EAC region, while Trademark East Africa pledged $350 million to support regional infrastructure for ports, one stop border points and road connectivity.

The summit further called for the fast-tracking of the development of regional capacities to support the implementation of priority infrastructure projects and programmes.

“The summit directed the Council to engage bilateral and multilateral cooperating partners to mobilise technical and financial support for project preparations and implementation,” the statement, released after the summit reads in part.

The Council was also urged to hold annual briefing roundtable for infrastructure investors and financiers focusing on mobilising the requisite resources over the next 10 years for the implementation of the priority infrastructure projects and programmes and also highlight investment opportunities.

The summit also called for the consideration of the establishment of regional centres of excellence for infrastructure and transport skills development in order to enhance regional capacities in roads, railways, ports, oil and gas, power generation and transmission and contract negotiations and management.

The retreat was supposed to precede the 16th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State due yesterday, but the latter postponed at the last minute.

Source: New Times

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