The World Bank has announced a US$1.2 billion package to support infrastructure development and improve the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) states.
In addition, through IFC and MIGA, 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. This support is additional to large ongoing individual country programs.
“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 Philippe Dongier, World Bank Country Director for Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda, during the EAC Heads of State retreat in Nairobi. “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. 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 Group will continue to support the EAC efforts 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 retreat was officially opened by Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. Participants include the EAC Heads of State or their representatives, ministers, chief executives of development banks and regional economic communities, high commissioners, ambassadors and private sector leaders.
World Bank Group portfolio in the EAC
The World Bank is already supporting the EAC’s regional integration agenda with investments of $2.3 million in 17 regional projects in priority sectors. These include roads, railways, energy, information and communications technologies, finance, trade, health, agriculture, livestock development and health.
IFC presently has a portfolio of over $1 billion in EAC countries. Project support sectors include agribusiness, finance, infrastructure, manufacturing, services, and telecommunications. IFC’s infrastructure portfolio in East Africa includes investments in Kenya Power and Lighting, Thika Power and Gulf Power in Kenya; and the Bujagali Hydropower Project and Umeme in Uganda.
MIGA’s portfolio in the EAC includes 11 projects, amounting to a gross exposure of $550 million. MIGA’s support for the energy sector is particularly noteworthy and includes guarantees for the Gulf, Thika, Triumph, and OrPower 4 independent power producers in Kenya; KivuWatt Ltd. in Rwanda; and Bujagali and Umeme in Uganda.
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 in trade and investment.