Arusha — Railways, ports and inland waterways will be key priority projects to be discussed during the coming East African Community (EAC) leaders' retreat in Kampala, Uganda next month.
When they meet on February 22 the Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure will also seek ways to mobilize the required financing to construct bypass roads that will decongest the cities and enhance port logistics.
Further, the regional leaders will consider new strategies to engage with the private sector and multi-lateral agencies such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) in financing the infrastructure projects.
"The EAC Heads of State retreats on infrastructure development and financing aim at supporting infrastructure development to facilitate regional integration", the EAC ecretariat said in a statement.
Todate, three high level retreats on infrastructure development for the EAC bloc have been held so far; in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Through the retreats, several projects in transport, energy, civil aviation have been identified for development at the regional level and resources mobilized for implementation.
An official of the EAC Secretariat said the traditional retreat on infrastructure development will this time around be held alongside with that of health financing and development. These, he added, would also run concurrently with the first EAC Summit on Investment in Health and Health Sector investors and Donor Round Table and International Exhibition.
"This will be the biggest ever event of the EAC Heads of State on matters of health," he told The Citizen, noting that the region was currently undergoing a major public health transformation.
Given the logistical reasons and limited time for the heads of state to address numerous yet equally heavy itmes on the agenda, the EAC Secretariat and the partner states have agreed to combine the events.