East African bloc mulls joint infrastructure projects to boost trade

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Cross Border Trade
Cross Border Trade

The East African Community (EAC) trading bloc plans to accelerate implementation of joint infrastructure projects and boost intra-regional trade, a Kenyan official said on Wednesday.

Kevit Desai, principal secretary of Kenya’s state department for EAC said at a briefing in Nairobi that transnational road, rail, electricity projects will facilitate the flow of goods within the economic bloc.

“Joint infrastructure projects will catalyze the creation of regional value chains which will amplify trade in raw materials and finished goods in the region,” Desai said.

EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Key joint infrastructure projects within the bloc include the northern transport corridor that runs from Kenya’s Mombasa port and extends to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Desai observed that cross-border infrastructure projects will reduce the cost of construction for each member state of the EAC thereby increasing the return on the investment.

He said the East African power pool which will connect all the national electricity grids in the economic bloc will also promote energy trade.

Desai added that intra-EAC trade is currently less than 20 percent of overall trade, meaning that the bulk of it is with countries outside the bloc.

He said that promotion of intra-EAC trade is also a priority because it will reduce the region’s dependence on commodity exports to the international markets.

According to Kenya’s state department for EAC, manufactured goods and agricultural produce are currently the most traded commodities among member states in the economic bloc. Enditem

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