The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the East Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP) whose aim is to increase trade and boost the financial sector in the region by 2022.
According to the bank, the strategy is focused on accelerating infrastructure development across the region in an effort to increase output from one of the fastest growing zones on the continent which is characterized by low-level industrialization, poor infrastructure and power shortages.
“Most Eastern African countries depend on agricultural and mineral products for their exports. But most of these products are of low-level sophistication and low value added. This is why this Strategy Paper is key to boosting industrialization and intra-regional trade,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Deputy Director General, East Africa during her presentation to the Bank’s Board in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The approval, according to Nwabufo will allow the Bank to support key economic sectors like regional energy and transport, which will support Eastern Africa’s overall transformation.
Moono Mupotola, the bank’s Director for Regional Integration; who was also at the board meeting, welcomed the approval of the strategy paper which will focus on five key areas: powering, feeding, industrializing and integrating Africa as well as improving the quality of life in the continent.
The Strategy will guide the bank’s regional operations in 13 countries, namely Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The paper which was developed in consultation with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Eastern Africa aligned with key REC strategies for the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Intergovernmental Agenda on Development (IGAD) will cost an estimated Ksh. 333,135,000,000 (US$3.3 billion) to achieve.