The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: EAC Leaders Unveil 10-Year Infrastructure Projects

The East African Community (EAC) has unveiled infrastructure projects earmarked for funding and development for the next 10 years.

Speaking during the event, Kenya's President Kibaki called on the region to invest in rail system and to preserve its road network.

Kibaki, who spoke during the second EAC Heads of State Summit Retreat on Infrastructure and Financing, also called for the fast tracking of the one-stop border posts to speed up flow of goods.

"Currently less than five per cent of cargo in East Africa is moved by rail. This puts a major strain on our roads and with volumes expected to triple in the next 15 years, the problem will become more pronounced," Kibaki who chaired the session said.

"It is therefore critical for us to invest heavily in rehabilitating and expanding our railway systems."

The five presidents settled on the standard gauge for rail systems in the region. Kibaki said lack of infrastructure is the biggest barrier to trade, industrialisation and economic development of the EAC and every penny should be invested in roads, rail, ports and energy.

"It is a fact that infrastructure is an enabler for growth and that is why a large proportion of resources will be invested in this sector."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who takes over the chairmanship of the EAC Heads of State Summit from Kibaki today (Friday) called for a railway line construction connecting Kampala to Juba.

"The branch line of railway from Kisumu to Pakwach should be extended to Juba. I want to be sure about it."

He also called for the construction of a road from Kasese linking it to DRC. Museveni also said any investment in the energy sector should take into account the cost of electricity to the consumer and called for the identification of best financing systems for energy projects.

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