19 July 2013

Ethiopia: World Bank Supporting Development of Great Lakes Countries

A ministerial meeting of Great Lakes Countries is going on in Addis Ababa to look at regional approaches to development in those states. The meeting is initiated by World Bank Group in support of the February 24, 2013 "Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region."

The ministerial meeting happening in Addis Ababa on 18-19 July, 2013 at the headquarters of African Union brings together ministers and senior officials from the Great Lakes region.

Already the World Bank pledges US$ 1 billion to regional development projects to help deliver dividends of peace and stability in that region. United Nations Chairperson Ban Ki Moon and President of World Bank Jim Kim visited the region this year to prop up peace and development there.

The World Bank Group proposed, in cooperation with AU, UN, EU, African Development Bank, and European Investment Bank, early development projects that can easily go to implementation with the blessing of states in the region.

The projects have three pillars; vulnerability and resilience, economic opportunity and integration and regional and national governance pillars. The three pillars are expected to manage projects of agriculture, hydropower, state institutions capacity building, issues of boarder efficiency, one stop boarder service and inter-regional train way.

The intention of the World Bank Group and other stakeholders is that the region deserves to give peace a chance to considerably develop itself through regional development approach. The proposed document offers specific projects that can turn into action with the will of the regional states.

The World Bank foresees challenges in the form of issues like country level ownership and mitigation measures.

The hope is such projects and political willingness to do so has the potential to make DRC stable while it opens up new business opportunities for countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The meeting would be important to reflect on regional approaches to development priorities, sharing information on current and planned regional initiatives as well as identifying opportunities for further coordination and collaboration.

By Zeryihun Kassa

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