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World Bank pledges $1.2 bln for infrastructure projects in East Africa

01 December 2014, 08:18

Nairobi - The World Bank said on Saturday it will loan East African nations $1.2 billion to improve inland waterways and ports in Kenya and Tanzania, as part of efforts to boost integration in the region.

The bank said the funds will be used to revive inland waterways on Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria and improve handling capacity and efficiency in the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports.

The five-nation East African Community, which also comprises Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and has a combined $110 billion economy, is working to package cross-border infrastructure plans to make them more attractive to potential financiers.

Oil and gas discoveries in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have turned the region into an exploration hotspot.

"The World Bank Group’s investments and support to reforms anticipate the boom of extractives in the region and will facilitate easier movement of people, goods and capital," the bank said in a statement issued at an EAC meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. It said the funding was to help the bloc's investment plans over the next three to seven years.

The European Union's representative at the meeting, Filiberto Sebregondi, said the EU was ready to support projects worth up to 600 million euros ($750 million).

The bloc said in a 2015-2025 strategy paper presented at the meeting that it needs at least $68 billion, and possibly up to $100 billion, over the next decade to develop roads, ports, railways, transmission lines and oil and gas infrastructure.

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- Reuters


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