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World Bank pumps $1.2 billion to EAC

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The World Bank has committed $1.2 billion to aid in infrastructural development and improve the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) member states.

Through its affiliates The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and International Finance Centre (IFC), the financier will also 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 and ongoing individual country programmes according to Philippe Dongier, World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.

“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 Mr Dongier during the EAC Heads of State retreat in Nairobi.

“Our investment is meant 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.”

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.

“Working with private sector partners, IFC is already investing more than $1.0 billion annually in Sub-Saharan African infrastructure to spur economic growth and improve living standards,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“IFC intends to do more to support ports, power, rail, transport, and other key infrastructure projects in the East African Community 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 has been keen on investing in areas that aid in removing barriers to agriculture trade and selected services. This is expected to deliver real benefits to farmers, traders, youth and women in the region.

The Bank 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 in trade and investment.

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