The New Times (Kigali)

23 March 2011

East Africa: World Bank Promises More Support for EAC Integration

The World Bank Group has pledged additional support towards the integration of the East African Community (EAC).

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Alloys Mutabingwa was in Washington, DC where he attended a series of meetings, with officials from the World Bank and the US Treasury Department.

According to a statement, the meetings focused on determining areas of co-operation and support for regional Integration.

"The main focus was on common market priority areas and the related pipe-line projects and programmes of the EAC requiring support from development partners," said Mutabingwa

He added that during the visit, a detailed operational needs assessment was conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the EAC Financial Sector Regionalization and Development Project (FSRDP).

At the meeting, the two parties pondered the importance of developing a Trade Finance Facility (TFF).

The newly proposed facility is intended to enhance access to bank credit, especially by the youth and women entrepreneurs.

They also agreed to prioritize the setting up of an EAC commodities exchange market.

The World Bank promised to support the development of EAC Public-Private Sector Partnership Framework and the on-going negotiations on the Monetary Union.

Mutabingwa also paid a courtesy call on the Assistant Secretary to the Treasury, Marisa Logo, who appreciated the achievements made so far in implementing the various US supported EAC integration projects and programmes.

Logo re-affirmed the US's commitment to support EAC integration and informed him about her plans to visit the EAC next month to identify new areas of intervention towards integration.

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