The East African Community (EAC) will establish new infrastructure, including roads and health centres in villages neighbouring all outlets connecting the bloc, as a way of addressing challenges faced by border communities.
The infrastructure which will also include rural electrification, procuring ambulances and establishing information centres are part of the project dubbed “empowering border communities through modernisation of shared markets.”
The project is in line with the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Gender and Community Development Framework and social development agenda, which aims at contributing to member states’ efforts in addressing poverty and unemployment, among others.
Other areas to be improved or established are water and sanitation facilities, hotels, schools, storage facilities, feeder and access roads.
The first meeting of experts from the bloc to identify the priority projects ended last week in Kigali where they also held discussions with the prospective beneficiaries at Gatuna border post.
Angelique Dusenge, the head of the social sector in the Ministry of East African Community said that the initiative is still at its early stage.
“There will be other meetings in other member countries to identify the areas of intervention in all countries and how they will be distributed,” Dusenge said.
Among the resolutions of the meeting was the establishment of a market on the Rwanda side of the Gatuna border post, support to SMEs in agricultural products, conducting special training for women in doing business and training on the formulation of projects and business plans.
Poor infrastructure especially in rural areas is a major barrier to both socio-economic development and investment in the EAC.