8 November 2017

East Africa: Multi-Modal Transport Systems the Way for EA

opinion

Arusha — East African states may now focus on the development of interconnected multimodal transport systems because they are seen to be cost effective.

The system connects road,rail,pipelines,inland waterways, airports and seaports.

Experts say their interconnectivity often lead in the reduction of transport costs and improved movement of factors of production.

The information comes on the heels of the joint East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health to be held in Kampala on November 29th.

A dispatch from the Arusha-based secretariat yesterday said the regional leaders are expected to address the development of quality, reliable,sustainable and resilient infrastructure and quicker delivery of the same.

These would include regional and trans-border infrastructure that will support economic development "with a focus on affordable and equitable transportation access to all".

This will be the fourth Retreat on Infrastructure Financing to be organized by the EAC.Two of them took place in Kigali,Rwanda in June 2008 and in Nairobi in November 2012.

With its numerous inland water bodies, railway network dating back to the colonial days and the now upgraded roads, multimodal transport systems have been the cheapest way to connect easily within EA.

Only last week, EAC announced a $ 500 million pledge by the World Bank n to support of the transport programme within Lake Tanganyika,one of the largest water bodies connecting various countries.

The multi-million dollar programme is intended to provide intermodal linkages between the three regional economic blocs of EAC, Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Comesa.

The 32,900 square kilometre Lake Tanganyika, the second largest in Africa, is shared by Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Investment in infrastructure projects continues to receive the utmost political attention by the EAC leaders", said the EAC secretary general Liberat Mfumukeko during the soft launching of the programme in Bujumbura.

He added that the transport programme would be intermodal in nature.

"The Community is fully committed to putting in place an integrated transport system with the Lake Tanganyika Transport Programme as part of the system",he said.

With regard to the health sector, the Heads of State Retreat will seek to build consensus on regional health sector investment priorities for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Other focal areas will be on how to mobilize investments for the identified health sector priorities; as well as revitalize regional partnerships and linkages for improved health outcomes in the EAC Partner States.

The Joint Retreat will be preceded by separate Infrastructure and Health sector Investors' and Development Partners'/Donor's roundtables scheduled for 28th November 2017 at the same venue.

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