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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

AfDB approves strategy spur development in East Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Friday it has approved a five-year regional strategy to accelerate transformation of Eastern Africa region.

The bank said the East Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP) lays out a roadmap for speeding up regional integration of 13 Eastern Africa countries with regional infrastructure development among the main pillars of the plan.

Nnenna Nwabufo, AfDB’s deputy director general for East Africa, said the strategy sets the framework for the Bank to support key economic sectors like regional energy and transport, which will underpin Eastern Africa’s transformation.

“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,” Nwabufo said in a statement, adding this is why the Strategy Paper is key to boosting industrialization and intra-regional trade.

She said the strategy will guide the bank’s regional operations in countries including Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda.

The strategy maps out the direction of the bank’s regional integration work in Eastern Africa over the next five years, said AfDB.

It said the main objectives are fast-tracking structural transformation, increasing trade and promoting financial sector integration and inclusion.

“The strategy is focused on two mutually reinforcing pillars namely regional infrastructure development for competitiveness and transformation, and strengthening of policy and institutional frameworks for market integration, growing investments and value chains development,” said the bank.

According to AfDB, Eastern Africa is the fastest growing region in Africa.

However, it said countries in the region are grappling with poor infrastructure including power shortages, low electricity connection rates and high cost of electricity for manufacturing enterprises.

The bank said it will work closely with regional member countries and institutions in following up on implementation progress.

             

 

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