An Experts' Seminar to assess the establishment of a Regional Development Bank (RDB) for IGAD was held on Saturday (July 26) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Ato Neway Gebre-ab, Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister and Executive Director of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), in a keynote address described the idea of establishing a Regional Development Bank for IGAD as an important and innovative idea.
He explained the rationale for such a bank included the fact that several IGAD member countries were landlocked and they faced a wide range of development challenges including climatic conditions and problems of security. He said intra-regional trade remained low, market access within IGAD was limited and integration with international markets was still weak. In addition, food security and environmental protection, peace and security, economic cooperation and integration were all key factors for cooperation.
A Regional Development Bank would speed up infrastructure development and cooperation and play a pivotal role in creating cohesion among the economic communities of the region. This would contribute greatly to ensuring regional and international peace and security through all inclusive and sustainable development.