East African member states are expected to benefit from at least $8.77 billion worth of investments out of $32.8 billion drawn at the Africa Investment Forum. This is according to the President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi A. Adesina, who said that over 500 project sponsors, investors, deal brokers and government representatives had taken part in the three day event. In EAC, the deals range from transport, healthcare, energy, and agriculture among other sectors. In particular, the largest deal inked during the forum is the $3.3 billion railway corridor that will run from Dar es Salaam through Bujumbura to Kinshasa in DR Congo, with an extension to Kigali, which will be done as a public-private partnership project. Adesina said that there is lot of political support and goodwill for the project. “This is all part of improving the regional integration, and also accelerating the Africa Free Trade Area. It is going to drive down the cost of moving things,” He added. Other deals closed during the forum are an unspecified amount that will facilitate vaccines production in Kenya and agricultural investment to improve East Africa’s food security, especially wheat and grain production. In West Africa, a four to six lane highway corridor connecting four countries, that will cost $15.6 billion, got the largest share of all the investment deals. The highway will run from Lagos in Nigeria, through Lorne in Togo and Accra in Ghana, to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire. It is expected to “support 75 percent of the trade in the West African region, reduce transport cost by 48 percent, increase inter- and intra-regional trade volume by 15 to 25 percent, and impact the lives of over 500 million people,” Dr Adesina said. Meanwhile, West Africa will get $16.92 billion investment expenditure, 47 percent of the total amount of deals inked at the forum. Central African countries will get $4.27 billion, Southern Africa ($5.44 billion), and North Africa ($804 million). Across the continent, the energy sector will get the largest share of investments, worth $19.44 billion. A report released by the AfDB on Monday indicates that the funds include expansion of renewable energy sources, development of liquefied natural gas infrastructure, and to develop electric vehicles manufacturing infrastructure. Women-led businesses Women-led businesses will receive a boost of $4.94 billion in investments from the forum, out of which $1 billion will be used to set up a women’s advisory facility by the AfDB. The plan, Adelina said, is to remove obstacles in the ways of businesses of women, citing that their (women), should never remain small.