East African countries in $8b investment plan

East African states will jointly benefit from at least $8.77 billion worth of investments in transport, healthcare, energy, and agriculture among other sectors, from deals made at the 2021 African Investment Forum concluded on Thursday.

The three-day event was organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with other finance organisations including Africa Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank and African Finance Corporation among others, yielded a total of $36.2 billion from 43 investment deals for the entire continent, 37.5 percent short of the expected $58 billion.

For East Africa, the largest deal inked during the forum is the $3.3 billion railway corridor that will run from Dar es Salaam through Bujumbura to Kinshasa in DR Congo, with an extension to Kigali, which will be done as a public-private partnership project.

“There is a lot of political support and goodwill for this, I can’t wait to see this railway,” said Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president and chair of the forum that was attended by 11 heads of states, including Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi.

“This is all part of improving the regional integration, and also accelerating the Africa Free Trade Area. It is going to drive down the cost of moving things,” Dr Adesina added.

Other deals closed during the forum are an unspecified amount that will facilitate vaccines production in Kenya and agricultural investment to improve East Africa’s food security, especially wheat and grain production.

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