The World Bank has said it will provide $1.2 billion to support infrastructure development and improve the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) states.
It will also through private sector affiliates – International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – provide additional resources for regional infrastructure through market-driven private sector financing and guarantees.
The financing will contribute to the EAC states’ planned investments in the next three to seven years. This support is additional to large ongoing individual country programmes.
“We are partnering with the EAC Governments, other development partners and the private sector to invest in regional infrastructure and to help deepen policy integration and reduce barriers to trade in the EAC,” said World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda Philippe Dongier. He was speaking during the EAC Heads of State summit on Infrastructure in Nairobi.
The retreat was officially opened by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. Participants included Heads of States’ representatives, ministers, chief executives of development banks and regional economic communities, and private sector leaders.
Mr Dongier said World Bank is preparing investments to revive the region’s inland waterways on Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the two main EAC ports on the Indian ocean: Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya.
“We will also invest in specific transport links to better connect landlocked countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan) to the Northern and Central corridors, this way improving these countries’ access to the ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam,” he added.
While opening the council of ministers’ meeting, Ruto warned member states against getting bogged down in “petty jealousies” among themselves and instead look at the benefits of full integration.
He said mega EAC projects across individual countries borders are the way to go. He also warned against “fragmented markets”, saying they will not take any country anywhere.
The retreat on Infrastructure Development and Finance focused on policies and reforms necessary to strengthen regional integration through enhanced efficiency of infrastructure investment and financing.
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