Member countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) need a common commitment in implementing their regional development projects, delegates in the group’s reconstruction and development cluster meeting completed in Kigali last week urged.
The participants were in the Novotel Hotel for a four-day meeting to talk about regional development projects to be undertaken in order to attain and ensure sustainable peace, security, stability, and development in the Great Lakes Region.
The projects range from building Information Technology (IT), energy, and transport infrastructure, to food security and good governance mechanisms.
According to ICGLR’s Deputy Executive Secretary and Senior Programme Officer, Charles Kapekele Chileya, experts from member countries of the ICGLR are currently conducting studies on these projects to come up with financial proposals for the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other financiers.
He urged delegates at the conference to work hand in hand in order for the projects to succeed.
“We need more collaboration from one another as we head for the implementation of these projects…the more we stand as one, the more likely we shall win,” he told the participants in the meeting as he made his closing remarks.
His call to the delegates was shared by Patrick Bugembe who is the Director of the Eastern Africa Sub-regional Office of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa.
“This is a good start,” he said of the delegates’ 15 projects to be implemented in the region, adding,“Your strong partnership will be key to the implementation of these projects.”
Ambassador Richard Sezibera, the head of Rwanda’s Coordination Mechanism of the ICGLR, said that regional countries were almost in good shape to start implementing their development undertakings.
“We have the ideas, we have the projects, we have the roadmap, we have a fund with an account number, all we need now is the money in order to start implementing these projects,” he told the participants.
“Honouring pledges would translate the commitment of GLR Heads of State into reality, for the good of all people,” he urged.
He also urged that with only $1.6 million pledges honoured, the challenge remains in mobilising member countries and development partners to continue making their contributions to the fund.
The reconstruction and development cluster of the ICGLR will be financed under the group’s Special Fund for Reconstruction and Development (SFRD) that will be hosted and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The fund was established by Heads of State and Government of the Great Lakes Region and its financing is ensured by mandatory contributions by member States and voluntary contributions of Cooperating and Development Partners.
According to Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the ICGLR Secretary General, AfDB will also audit the expenditures of the financed projects and submit audit accounts to the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee.
The meeting was attended by regional experts, diplomats, and ICGLR national coordinators among other delegates.