"East African Community is looking to attract the private sector to invest through a Diaspora fund. Co-funding of joint infrastructure projects aims at ensuring they are completed on time to improve the business climate in the region," Philip Wambugu, the director of infrastructure at the EAC secretariat, said.
He noted that infrastructure, especially poor roads, is hurting the business community calling for urgent intervention to reduce the cost of trading.
"The Heads of State have directed us to see how the private sector, especially those in the Diaspora, can come on board. That's why we are setting up the fund through which East Africans abroad can contribute to the development of regional infrastructure projects such as roads and the proposed railway line," Wambugu explained.
Delays in allocating funds to develop infrastructure by member states as per the EAC Master Plan has been a big challenge, he added.
"The region's infrastructure master plan cannot be implemented fully if member states do not provide the necessary funding. Some projects have not yet taken off because members have to first harmonise their budgets with respective national priorities," he noted.
EAC is planning to construct a regional railway line, from Mombasa to Bujumbura in Burundi via Kampala and Kigali, and an oil pipeline to serve the landlocked countries, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and also the eastern part of the DR Congo. Another railway line is expected to be built to link Tanga-Musoma-Kampala-Juba, through Serengeti National Park.