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EAC Partner States to maintain high budgetary allocation for infrastructure development

EAC Partner States to maintain high budgetary allocation for infrastructure development
Photo credit: The New Times

23 Feb 2018

East African Community Partner States will maintain high budgetary allocations geared towards financing infrastructure development within their national borders.

Hon. Monica Azuba Ntege, Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport and Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers for Transport, Communications and Metereology, said that the ongoing infrastructure development projects were meant to interlink the Partner States and create a strong Common Market in the region with sights on the Tripartite Grand Free Trade Area.

Hon. Ntege said that the development of efficient, interlinked and modern infrastructure and energy systems will positively impact on trade, movement of persons, industrialization, value chains, employment, investments that would prepare the regional economies for socio-economic take-off.

Hon. Ntege was speaking during the opening session of the Infrastructure Roundtable on Day One of the EAC Heads of State Joint Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda.

Hon. Ntege disclosed that in their previous three Retreats focusing on Infrastructure Development and Financing the Heads of State had prioritized for implementation a total of 72 projects, split into 286 sub-projects over a 10-year period, ending in 2025.

“The projects span roads, railways, maritime ports, inland waterways, electrical power generation and transmission, and oil and gas infrastructure,” she said.

The Minister said that upon the full implementation of the prioritized projects, the region will among other things have improved 7600 km of road surface, laid 4000 km of standard gauge railways, and increased the combined installed capacity of electrical power generation from 4245 MW to 6734 MW.

“We also hope to have constructed 3000 km of oil pipeline and an oil refinery, and (v) enhanced the performances of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam seaports and opened up new maritime and inland ports,” she said.

On road safety, Hon. Ntege said that East Africa had worrying statistics in terms of road fatalities as compared to the Africa and the rest of the world.

“According to the WHO, the average rate of global road fatalities in 2015 was 17 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants. In Europe, this figure was 9.2 while in Africa it was 26.5 and current trends show that it is rising every year. For example, compared with the 2.9 road fatality rate of the United Kingdom, the countries in East Africa have rates higher than even the African average, with Tanzania at 32.9, Rwanda at 32.1, Kenya at 29.1 and Uganda at 27.4. This means that concerted efforts need to be made both on the physical and non-physical causative factors,” she said.

“It is reassuring to note that on the side of user behaviour, the EAC has recently developed standardized curricula for the training of commercial drivers which aims at instilling virtues like courtesy, speed perception and environmental awareness skills,” she added.

The Minister, however, said that Partner States should do more to instill and sustain proper behavioural competencies on all road users, including even law enforcement personnel, adding that percentage of accidents could be attributed to poor pavement and geometric road conditions and these should be addressed through infrastructure upgrading.

Hon. Ntege urged the EAC Secretariat to expedite the adoption of harmonized standards for road design and construction, by all the Partner States as directed by the Council and provide separations between motor cycles and vehicles.

“Resources should be mobilized to support the Partner States in the area of road safety to stem the tide of unnecessary deaths on our roads and reduce pressure on our hospital bed capacities now occupied by a large number of accident injury patients,” said Hon. Ndege.

In his remarks, the EAC Deputy Secretary General for Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote, said that infrastructure development was recognized as the prime mover of socio-economic development in the region and would therefore continue to receive the highest level of political support from EAC Heads of State.

Eng. Mlote said the Joint Retreat would assess the progress of implementation of previously prioritized projects and consider and approve new infrastructure projects for joint/coordinated development.

“Therefore, this roundtable avails EAC Partner States an opportunity to showcase to our development partners and potential investors the major investment opportunities in infrastructure spanning railways, ports, roads, inland waterways, energy and civil aviation sectors,” said Eng. Mlote. 

A separate EAC Roundtable on investing in Health Infrastructure, systems, services and research was held at the same venue.

The two-day Joint Retreat was held under the theme Deepening and Widening Regional Integration through Infrastructure and Health Sector Development in the EAC Partner States. ​


Joint EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development

Communiqué

1. The East African Community Heads of State, their Excellencies President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan, President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1st Vice President His Exellency Gaston Sindimwo Representing President Pierre Nkurunziza of the Republic of Burundi, Hon. Musoni James, Minister of Infrastructure Representing President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, held the Joint EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development on 22nd February, 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.

2. The Joint Retreat was also attended by several high-ranking participants including: Honourable Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries; Members of Parliament; Ambassadors and High Commissioners; Representatives of UN Agencies, the African Union Commission; Regional Economic Communities, Cooperating and Development Partners; the Private Sector; Civil Society; and EAC Organs and Institutions.

3. The Heads of State and Government met in a warm and cordial atmosphere.

4. The Heads of State received opening remarks from Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, Secretary General of the East African Community.

5. The Heads of State received addresses from Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of UNCTAD and Dr. Delanyo Dovlo, The Africa Regional Director for Health Systems and Services Cluster for the World Health Organization. Dr. Kituyi emphasized the importance of resilient infrastructure and energy systems in accelerating EAC’s industrialization drive, while Dr. Dovlo urged partner states to invest in.

6. The Heads of State received presentations on the outcomes of the Infrastructure and Health Sector Roundtables. The presentations noted the status of implementation of the Heads of State priority infrastructure projects, highlighting successes and challenges and outlined the health sector investment priorities.

6.1 On Infrastructure, the Heads of State:

  1. Received updates on the implementation of directives of the 3rd Retreat and the Priority Projects;

  2. Considered and approved new projects from the Republic of South Sudan;

  3. Considered and approved new projects including projects under civil aviation as directed during the 3rd Retreat;

  4. Considered and approved 17 flagship projects for championing at the Heads of State level; and

  5. Noted with concern the poor status of road safety in the Partner States and the urgent need for deliberate and concerted efforts to address the challenges;

6.2 On Health, the Heads of State considered and approved the following investment priorities:

  1. Expansion of access to specialized health care and cross border health services;

  2. Strengthening the network of medical reference laboratories and the regional rapid response mechanism to protect the region from health security threats including pandemics, bio-terrorism and common agents;

  3. Expansion of capacity to produce skilled and professional work force for health in the region based on harmonized regional training and practice standards and guidelines;

  4. Increase access to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines, vaccines, and other health technologies focusing on prevalent diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases (NDCs) and other high burden conditions;

  5. Upgrading of health infrastructure and equipment in priority national and sub national health facilities/hospitals;

  6. Establishment of strong primary and community health services as a basis for health promotion and diseases prevention and control;

  7. Expansion of health insurance coverage and social health protection;

  8. Improvement of quality of healthcare, health sector efficiency and health statistics; and

  9. Strengthening of health research and development

7. On Infrastructure, the Heads of State directed the Council to:

  1. Enhance capacity in infrastructure projects coordination, preparation and development at the national and regional levels to accelerate the realization of prioritized projects; 

  2. Mobilize resources required for implementation of new and ongoing priority infrastructure projects;

  3. Mainstream innovative financing options including leveraging private sector financing, to supplement available partner state budgetary allocations for implementation of infrastructure projects;

  4. Formalize regular and structured engagement coordinated by the secretariat between the partner states, development partners and investors to enhance the rollout of the heads of state priority infrastructure and energy projects;

  5. Establish regional frameworks to consistently and effectively address road safety challenges both at national and regional levels including but not limited to harmonization of road safety laws and regulations, enhancement of road safety data collection and management systems, driver training and post trauma management systems; and

  6. Inclusion in the Heads of State Priority Projects of soft  infrastructure components under information and communications technology systems.

8. On Health, the Heads of State directed the Council to:

  1. Mobilize resources to support implementation of the health sector investment priority projects;

  2. Strengthen the region’s capacity to effectively prepare and implement the priority projects;

  3. Develop comprehensive strategies to combat cross-border health challenges; and

  4. Convene Heads of State Retreats on Health every two years.

9. Their Excellencies, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan, President Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1st Vice President His Excellency Gaston Sindimwo Representing President Pierre Nkurunziza of the Republic of Burundi and Hon. James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure representing President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda thanked their host, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda, for the warm hospitality extended to them and their respective delegations during their stay in Kampala and the excellent facilitation of the Joint Retreat.

Done at Kampala, this 22nd day of February, 2018