The East Africa Community (EAC) has urged its Diaspora to take part in development projects, mostly in the infrastructure sector across the region.
The director of infrastructure at the EAC secretariat, Philip Wambugu says that the region is looking to attract the private sector to invest through a Diaspora fund.
“The Heads of State have directed us to see how the private sector, especially those in the Diaspora, can come on board,” he said.
“Plans of setting up the fund through which East Africans abroad can contribute to the development of regional infrastructure projects such as roads and the proposed railway line are under way,” Wambugu added.
He noted that infrastructure, especially poor roads, is hurting the business community calling for urgent intervention to reduce the cost of trading.
“Co-funding of joint infrastructure projects aims at ensuring they are completed on time to improve the business climate in the region.”
In his observation, delays in allocating funds to develop infrastructure by member states as per the EAC Master Plan has been a big challenge.
He stated that region’s infrastructure master plan cannot be implemented fully if member states do not provide the necessary funding.
“Some projects have not yet taken off because members have to first harmonise their budgets with respective national priorities,” he reiterated.
EAC is planning to construct a regional railway line, from Mombasa to Bujumbura in Burundi via Kampala and Kigali, and an oil pipeline.
The initiative is expected to serve the landlocked countries including Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and also the eastern part of the DR Congo.
The region plans to build another railway line, which is expected to link Tanga-Musoma-Kampala-Juba, through Serengeti National Park.
Rwanda has setup a strategic framework that will see the Rwandan Diaspora integrated and harnessed in the national development process.