Experts from Africa’s major economic blocs say there is urgent need to build up transport corridors and infrastructure projects for future social-economic development for the East Africa Community (EAC) and Horn of Africa regions.
Speaking at the end of meeting in Nairobi on Friday, the experts urged the East and Horn of Africa regions to expand the carrying capacity of the regions' transport infrastructure to bolster economic growth in the regions.
The experts are from the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Officials of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also attended the meeting.
They noted that traffic volumes were expected to increase substantially on the Northern, Central, Lamu and Djibouti corridors; by about eight times over two decades along the Central Corridor.
The experts also noted that coordination and support at a regional level was critical for cross-border or multi-country projects. East Africa has two transport corridors; the Northern and Central corridors.
The Northern Corridor - one of Africa's most strategic commercial and humanitarian routes - stretches more than 1,500km, linking the port of Mombasa in Kenya to the Great Lakes countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This corridor also has links to northern Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
The Central Corridor is shared between Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC.
Currently, most infrastructure projects are implemented at national level-however, participants at the meeting said, adding that coordination and support at a regional level was critical for cross-border or multi-country projects.
The meeting noted that traffic volumes were expected to increase substantially on the Northern, Central, Lamu and Djibouti corridors – by about eight times over two decades along the Central Corridor.
In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the experts said the region’s transport networks are key arteries supporting agricultural development and enhancing food security.
Development partners and the private sector agreed to prioritise actions aimed at supporting the Corridors Programme and are already investing $8.7 billion in committed and pipeline projects, according to statement.
“The conference recognised the urgency and importance of immediate action given projected trade and economic growth in the region will overwhelm current Northern and Central Corridor infrastructure within five years if action is not taken," the experts said in their statement.