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East African bloc secures grant for infrastructure development

By David Musyoka NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The East African bloc has secured 3.5 million U.S. dollars grant from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), to finance the agency’s Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP).

The project, to be completed in 38 months, seeks to establish regional infrastructure development priorities for the IGAD region, comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, eight-nation members of the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD).

A statement from the AfDB said the project will enhance regional physical and economic integration, thus promoting trade, movement of goods and persons and poverty reduction among the countries.

“It will define priority regional infrastructure transport, energy, ICT and transboundary water projects for investment, to spur a broader positive socio-economic development impact,” it said.

The lender said the projects would include physical and economic integration; job creation; enhanced opportunities for women, particularly in easing cross-border trade as well as increased business opportunities.

“For IGAD, which lacks a regional infrastructure Master Plan and a prioritized consensual infrastructure development programme, the Bank’s intervention in this regard responds to a defined priority need of the governments which will serve to consolidate and enhance regional integration,” the statement said.

The project will result in improved access to infrastructure services; and generally improved the quality of life of the majority of the population in the IGAD region.

The IRIMP is one of the deliverables which aims at creating a Free Trade Area (FTA) in the region approved in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010.

AfDB said the governments, people, institutions, and economies of the eight IGAD member States will benefit directly from the project.

“Specifically, businesses, traders, households, investors as well as development partners and international bilateral and multilateral agencies will also benefit from well-planned coordinated regional infrastructure projects and services that would enhance more efficient movement trade and economic development,” it said.

The African lender said the investment is expected to spur huge investment mobilization and financing attracted by well-prepared and bankable infrastructure projects.



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