Africa: AfDB Pledges Support for East Africa

Arusha — The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to support agri-industrialisation in the East African Community (EAC) bloc.

The continental financing agency will also support the Community in setting up its capacity and coordination unit at the EAC headquarters in Arusha.

The agreement was made in Abidjan, the AfDB headquarters, early this week between bank's president Dr Akinwumi Adesina and EAC secretary general Liberat Mfumukeko.

"AfDB will provide more support to agriculture and industry and especially agri-business," said a statement from the EAC secretariat yesterday.

Dr Adesina noted that upgraded infrastructure was a crucial link with agriculture development and industrialisation and that it was a timely investment to the EAC.

On the establishment of a special desk for AfDB at the EAC headquarters, the bank's chief said it was due to its growing portfolio in the region.

"AfDB portfolio has grown (within the EAC region) and therefore the need for more coordination, strategic and analytical capacity," he said.

AfDB and the African Development Fund (ADF) last year approved $2.5 billion for the implementation of new and ongoing priority infrastructure projects in the EAC region.

The funds will go towards enhancing regional transport connectivity, regional energy infrastructure and regional ICT connectivity, among others.

Speaking in Abidjan, EAC secretary general acknowledged "the great support" provided by the bank, especially in infrastructure and financial sectors.

He noted that the 286 infrastructure development projects approved by the EAC leaders early last year estimated to cost a hefty $78 billion to be implemented in the next ten years.

Mr Mfumukeko added that the Community was seeking funds for implementation of its fifth Development Strategy which would require $985 million in the next five years.

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