E. Africa seeks $78 billion to fund infrastructure projects

The East African Community (EAC) needs $78 billion in the next ten years to fund more than 200 infrastructure projects in the five member states.

The key projects to be funded include the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), hydropower, oil and gas projects across the region, which together are to cost $62.2 billion.

Leaders from the EAC member states including Tanzania’s president John Magufului, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir were hosted by Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at the regional bloc’s Joint Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development.

The leaders agreed that the revenue will be internally and externally raised through borrowing and public private partnerships.

‘‘We owe it to ourselves and the future generations to ensure that this region has efficient, interlinked and interoperable infrastructure to enable our people to increase their prosperity through the exchange of goods and services,’‘ Museveni said in his opening remarks.

The numbers

Plan for 10 years

$78 billion needed to fund infrastructure projects

$62.2 billion to fund SGR, hydropower, oil and gas projects

17 infrastructure projects approved

9 health priority areas listed

7,000 kilometers of roads to be upgraded

Salva Kiir ask East African leaders for help

The South Sudan president also used the occasion to blame the United States government for the recent collapse of peace talks in Addis Ababa.

‘‘As we were trying to implement the 2015 peace agreement, we were surprised by the sanctions announced by the American president. How do you slap us with an arms embargo when the people we are talking to are getting arms?’‘ Kiir lamented.

South Sudan is the newest member of the regional bloc that includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Kiir asked his counterparts to help end the civil war that has rocked his country since 2013.

Health Priority Areas

The East African leaders also listed key health priority areas to be targeted in the next 10 years.

They include;

Strengthen national medical laboratories and regional rapid response mechanism

Increase surveillance to prevent diseases like malaria, Tuberclosis, HIV/Aids and non-communicable diseases

Increase access to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines, vaccines and other health technologies

Increase safe and affordable health care

Establish strong primary health care systems

Establish insurance coverage in all partner states

Increase domestic financing to the health sectors

The EAC Council of Ministers, which is the policy organ of the community, was directed to mobilise resources to support the implementation of the health sector investment priority projects.
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