EAST African Community (EAC) partner states are set to generate 7,480megawatts of electricity come 2022. The increase from the 1,083 megawatts that was generated by the six member states last year, will be realised through a $2.5 billion funding by the African Development Bank(AfDB) which is approved through the Regional Integration Strategy for Easter Africa (RISP 2018-2022).
“There has been an unprecedented level of resources mobilised that is geared towards the improvement of power generation among partner states,” EAC Secretary General Libérat Mfumukeko said here last week. According to Ambassador Mfumukeko, the funds will be channeled into enhancing regional transport connectivity, regional energy infrastructure, regional ICT connectivity and management of trans-boundary water resources.
The EAC boss said the regional bank had also prioritised a number of energy projects under RISP, namely the Masaka (Uganda)- Mwanza (Tanzania) transmission line; Kigali-Bujumbura oil products pipeline feasibility study; Uganda-Tanzania-oil-pipelineproducts study.
“The funds will also support projects aimed at accelerating implementation of the EAC single market, trade development, including tackling of non-tariff barriers, and putting in place policy frameworks for industrialisation and promotion of EAC as a single investment destination,” he explained.
The EAC secretary general, who was speaking after meeting the AfDB Director General for Eastern Africa Region Mr Gabriel Negatu, thanked the bank for accepting to support agriculture and industry in the region as well as some Heads of State approved infrastructure and Health projects. In his rejoinder, Mr Negatu pledged more support to agriculture and industrialisation in the EAC bloc.
Mr Negatu noted that investment in agriculture and industrialisation was crucial for the development of the region.He observed that EAC economies were currently dominated by agriculture, which is the core economic sector employing between 75 and 90 per cent of their respective populations.
“In order to exploit regional and international markets, the opportunity for industrial growth exists in locally producing inputs for use in the agricultural sector,” he suggested. The AfDB official said the agricultural sector provides a basis for improvement of livelihoods in both rural and urban populations.
“EAC is still the fastest growing region partly due to solving bottlenecks of communication by investing heavily in infrastructure; I would like to request all partner states to focus on the challenge of doing business in order to realise value integration process in the region,’’ he added.