The 3rd East African Community (EAC) Investment Conference kicked-off yesterday with participants calling for a robust remedy to the region’s poor infrastructure network.
The four-day conference taking place in Kampala, Uganda, is being held under the theme; ‘EAC Common Market: The preferred investment destination for expanded opportunities’.
In his keynote address, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, said that transport and electricity are East Africa’s most pressing problems.
While suggesting a strong public-private sector partnership in addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, Museveni advised East Africans to strive to compete with developed nations like China and not competing with themselves.
He said that although there are other sectors in the region like Information Communication Technology (ICT) that need support, transport and electricity need to be given attention because they take longer while being worked on.
“The cost of electricity in East Africa is now five times more expensive than in China,” Museveni told hundreds policymakers, business leaders and international investors.
The EAC Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Diodurus Kamara, requested participants to address the region’s inadequate infrastructure, adding that this is a hindrance to an improved business climate in the region.
He called upon financial institutions to devise means of incorporating private equity financing for the region’s development and investment.
Kamara, who is also Tanzania’s Minister of East African Affairs, said that apart from Burundi, all the other four partner states have ratified the Common Market Protocol.
“I can announce in advance that Burundi will ratify the protocol on schedule,” he said.
Officials said that the ongoing regional development programs have a combined investment cost of $74billion.
These include; the EAC road network project, the railway master plan, the power master plan and Lake Victoria Development program.
The conference is organized by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with regional investment promotion agencies, the East African Business Council and the Ugandan Government.