PUBLISHED ON December 8th, 2014

World Bank to boost EAC farming with $1.2b

NAIROBI, Kenya – The World Bank recently agreed to boost agriculture in East African with $1.2 billion.

This support is additional to large ongoing individual country programs.

Besides paying for better infrastructure, the projects being funded are expected to improve the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) states.

Philippe Dongier, the World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, said: “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.”

He was speaking during the EAC Heads of State retreat in Nairobi.

He said: “We are 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.”

He added: “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 he said will improve access to the ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam.

The private sector needs to support the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and MIGA (the guarantor).

The World Bank Group will 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.

The Nairobi retreat on Infrastructure Development and Finance focused on policies and reforms necessary to strengthen regional integration through enhanced efficiency of infrastructure investment and financing.

Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said: “Working with private sector partners, IFC is already investing more than $1billion annually in Sub-Saharan African infrastructure.”

This he said will spur economic growth and improve living standards. IFC intends to do more to support ports, power, rail, transport, and other key infrastructure projects in the EAC in the years ahead.”

The World Bank Group’s investments and support to reforms anticipate the boom of extractives in the region and will facilitate easier movement of people, goods and capital. The Bank Group will continue to support the EAC efforts in removing barriers to agriculture trade and selected services. This will deliver real benefits to farmers, traders, youth and women in the region.

The retreat was officially opened by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.

Participants included the EAC Heads of State or their representatives, ministers, CEOs of development banks and regional economic communities, high commissioners, ambassadors and private sector leaders.

World Bank Group portfolio in the EAC .

The Bank Group is also using its knowledge resources and experience to assist the EAC member countries in analytical work and policy reforms that are critical to unleashing the region’s growth potential and increasing its global competitiveness.

Source: East African Business Week

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