The East Africa Community has called upon the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide more support to the bloc to be able to implement different regional integration projects.
The deputy EAC secretary general in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Dr Enos S. Bukuku, echoed the plea over the weekend during a two-day meeting with the Bank’s officials. The meeting aimed at assessing the implementation of the projects that are funded by the bank.
In a statement from the EAC Secretariat, Bukuku said though various projects under implementation were being funded by the continental bank, more financial and technical support was still needed in different sectors.
AfDB finances projects in road transport, customs, energy, civil aviation, ICT, education, gender and community development, environment and natural resources.
“More support is still required in areas of infrastructure development, trade facilitation, policy harmonisation as well as deepening regional and continental integration,” he said in a statement.
Baboucarr Sarr, a lead policy expert at AfDB, commended the EAC for making commendable strides towards deeper integration, through creation of a larger, more integrated and diversified single market.
He told the meeting that the Bank’s current portfolio in EAC consists of 126 ongoing projects with a total commitment value of $ 4.1bn.
About 70 per cent ($2.9bn) of this has been allocated to infrastructure, of which 34 per cent ($1bn) is for in energy, 45 per cent ($ 1.3bn) transport, and 15 per cent ($0.61bn) in water.
The other 30 per cent, according to him, has been allocated to agriculture, social sector, finance and multi-sector.
In May this year, Dr Donald Kaberuka, the AfDB president visited some of the regional projects funded by the Bank in Rwanda including Nemba One Stop Border Post that is shared by Rwanda and Burundi in Bugesera District.
In an interview with The New Times, Kaberuka said the Bank had prioritised such projects to facilitate trade in the region.
“From UK to France, you do not see people lining up at immigration offices. We need to do the same on every African border post to facilitate free movement of people,” he said.
The One Stop Border Post ensures that travelers crossing the border have their documents checked on one side of the border to ensure they spend minimal time at the borders.
“We are trying to promote this kind of infrastructure across the continent in order to cut down the cost of doing business,” Kaberuka said.
AfDB invested $45 million to establish the Nemba One-Stop Border post including the construction of 20kms highway from Mayange Sector in Bugesera that connects to Kirundo on the Burundian side.
Movement of people and goods have been eased after the completion of Nemba One Stop Border post with customs clearance now done in five minutes since both customs and immigration officials from the two countries are now operating under the same roof.