EAC Secretariat, AfDB discuss deepening regional integration
An African Development Bank mission led by Dr. Marcellin Ndong Ntah, Lead Economist and comprising Mr. Patrick Kanyimbo, Regional Integration Coordinator at the Bank’s East African Regional Hub (RDGE) in Nairobi have visited the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Engineer Honourable Mlote, Deputy Secretary General, responsible for Planning and Infrastructure hosted the mission, while technical deliberations were chaired by Eng. Dr. Kamugisha Kazaura, Director of Infrastructure.
Discussions during the two-days of the mission focused on strategic priorities and corresponding indicative operational program to accelerate EAC’s integration agenda.
These strategic and operational priorities and operations will be articulated in the Bank’s programming document, namely the Regional Integration Strategy for East Africa (EA-RISP) 2018-22, which is expected to be approved by the Bank’s Board in 2018.
The Mission explained that the EA-RISP seeks to operationalize the Bank’s Integrate Africa corporate strategy (2018-25) approved in May this year, and support the implementation of the EAC 5th Development Strategy (2017-21).
Consultations on the new RISP started last year when the Secretariat presented a number of projects in November 2017 for consideration and support under the RISP. This mission therefore served to discuss Bank’s feedback on the proposed projects and further consult on the RISP prior to its approval by the Bank.
In his remarks, Eng. Steven Mlote, EAC Deputy Secretary General (DSG), Planning and Infrastructure thanked the AfDB for honouring the EAC’s invitation and thanked the Bank for its ongoing support on a number of projects managed by the Secretariat.
He informed the AfDB team that a number of on-going projects are progressing well and promised that those lagging behind will be fast tracked.
In this regard, the DSG noted that EAC is looking forward to the approval of projects proposed to the Bank for funding under the new RISP, which will help operationalize the EAC 5th Development Strategy (2017-21).
Many of these projects have high-level political commitment and specifically the infrastructure projects have been endorsed by the EAC Heads of State during their Retreat held in Kampala, Uganda in February 2018, where the Bank and other development partners were called upon to collaborate with the EAC Secretariat to mobilize resources for implementation.
In this regard, Dr. Ndong Ntah highlighted that the prioritized projects are fully aligned with the 5th EAC Development Strategy (2017-21) and aim at addressing the region’s pervasive developmental challenge, namely the slow pace of economic transformation. He explained that the strategic thrust of the RISP is articulated around two pillars, namely regional infrastructure development for economic transformation and strengthening the policy and institutional frameworks for market integration, investment and value chains development.
Accordingly and as per the Bank’s High-5s Agenda, the agreed Bank-supported projects will focus on improving regional infrastructure connectivity to improve the business environment and accelerate transformation.
In the transport sector the agreed projects range will focus on cross-border highways and bridging missing links on priority transport corridors, and developing multi-modal transport systems including inland waterways, air and railways.
In the energy sector, priority projects cover electricity generation, transmission lines to facilitate cross-border electricity trade, and promotion of clean cooking solutions.
A number of project preparation activities have also been prioritized to increase the stock of bankable regional projects to crowd in investment, including from the private sector and non-traditional investors such as pension funds.
To finance the RISP, the Bank will deploy its full range of instruments including its concessional resources from the African Development Fund (ADF), the dedicated ADF Regional Operations Envelope, its non-concessional African Development Bank window, trust funds and explore innovative financing mechanisms to complement the Bank’s statutory resources.
The Mission shared information on some of the steps taken by the Bank to unlock innovative financing, (such as Africa50, and Africa Investment Forum), and measures taken by the Bank’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to ensure accelerated delivery of Bank-funded projects.
In conclusion, the two Parties were satisfied with the agreed projects and in the cordial atmosphere in which the discussions were heard, underscoring African character of these key developmental institutions.