AfDB turns East Africa into continent’s food basket

 

Monday March 25, 2019

By Joe Lihundi

Tranquility News Reporter, Arusha

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to extend its support to the East African Community (EAC) to agricultural and industrial sectors, it has been revealed.

The EAC Secretary General, Mr Liberat Mfumukeko, said the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had invited the bloc to present bankable projects to the bank’s coordinated Investment Forum slated for November this year in South Africa.

“Dr Adesina promised to support the projects when I met him in Abidjan on February 15, 2019,” Mr Mfumukeko explained.

The EAC Secretary General said he had also requested for further support to infrastructure and health projects and establishment of an AfDB coordination unit based at the seat of the bloc in Arusha.

Mr Mfumukeko pleaded with the visiting AfDB Director General for Eastern Africa, Mr Gabriel Negatu, to consider supporting the requested projects.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Director General for Eastern Africa, Mr Gabriel Negatu (Centre), discusses with the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Mr Liberat Mfumukeko (Right) and the EAS Deputy Secretary General for Planning and Infrastructure, Mr stephen Mlote, at the headquarters of the bloc recently.

Mr Negatu said, in turn, that the EAC was the AfDB strong partner and that the Secretary General’s requests coincided with the bank’s five priority areas, including Feed, Industrialise and Integrate Africa.

“We’ve had a fruitful reception and discussion, we’re now looking at the region as a bread basket for the rest of Africa after supporting infrastructure to connect countries in the bloc,” he said.

The discussion hinged on building capacity in agriculture and industry and to ensure labour could easily move from one country to another.

“We’ve reviewed the portfolio we have and realised we do not have a single project experiencing difficulties as was the case about a year ago,” he said.

In October last year, the EAC submitted projects proposal worth $5 billion out of which $2.5 billion were considered by the bank through its approved Regional Integration Strategy for Eastern Africa (RISP 2018 – 2022).

The funds will go towards enhancing regional transport connectivity, energy infrastructure, ICT connectivity and management of trans-boundary water resources.

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Tanzania’s John Magufuli, jointly launch the construction of Sakina-Tengeru Road in Arusha, which is part of the multinational Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Road, in March 2016. The presidents believed with a population of 160 million, the East African Community Common Market will benefit the citizens when they rise above colonial administrative boundaries to trade together. PHOTOS | AGENCIES

The funds will also support projects aimed at accelerating implementation of the EAC single market, trade development — including tackling of non-tariff barriers – – and in putting in place policy frameworks for industrialisation and promoting the bloc as a single investment destination.

The implementation of the EAC projects under RISP includes the construction of the 301-kilometre multinational Nyananazi-Kasulu-Manyoni Road in Tanzania and 78-kilometre Rumonge-Rutunga-Bujumbura Road in Burundi.

Others are the multinational Masaka-Mutukula Road in Uganda and the Mutukula-Kyaka-Kasulo road in Tanzania as well as Malindi-Mombasa-Lunga Lunga-Tanga-Bagamoyo Road.

AfDB has also prioritised a number of energy projects under RIPS, including Masaka in Uganda-Mwanza in Tanzania transmission line, Kigali-Bujumbura oil products pipeline feasibility study and Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline products study.

The bank also earmarked $1.65 million for various interventions aimed at developing or improving water supply and sanitation services.

Beneficiares include towns of Ngozi, Muyinga and Kayanza in Burundi, Keroka, Kericho and Isebania in Kenya, Kayonza, Nyagatare and Nyanza in Rwanda, Geita, Sengerema and Nansio in Tanzania and mayunge, buwama, Kayabwe, Bukakata, Lembu and Ntungamo in Uganda.

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