This week the IGAD Secretariat received the African Development Bank (AfDB) mission which was appraising the objectives and logistics for the development of the IGAD Regional Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP) project. The IRIMP is expected to facilitate the implementation of the Horn of Africa Initiative (HOAI) that aims to enhance regional infrastructure development in the sectors of transport, ICT, energy and trans-boundary water resources. The master plan will establish the strategic framework for IGAD regional infrastructure development.
The IRIMP Project is based on the need to harmonize and promote regional integration. The key objective for IRIMP is to establish regional infrastructure development that will enhance regional physical and economic integration through trade, free movement of goods and persons and poverty reduction amongst IGAD Member States. Regional Integration has been part of Africa’s strategy for economic transformation and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) including IGAD, are the building blocks that will enhance continental integration.
IGAD Secretariat had submitted a request to the AfDB in June 2013 to support the preparation of the IRIMP. The Bank responded positively to this request for support. IRIMP is one of the deliverables set out under “IGAD Minimum Integration Plan/Roadmap” as part of the “Roadmap towards creating a Free Trade Area (FTA) in the IGAD Region” approved by IGAD Member States in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010 and the wider “Horn of Arica Initiative (HOAI).”
The mission which took place on 25-28 April 2016 at the Secretariat’s Conference hall commenced with a Kick-off Meeting which was presided over by the officer-in-charge Mr. Abdullahi Busuri. On behalf of the Executive Secretary, Mr. Busuri welcomed the AfDB mission and commended their support to the region and expressed his optimism that the mission will be successful and ultimately lead to the development of the infrastructure master plan.
On his part, the head of the AfDB mission, Mr. Mtchera Johannes Chirwa expressed his thankfulness for the great welcoming gesture extended by the IGAD Secretariat staff, and also cited their already experiencing comfort in Djibouti attributed to the warm hospitality given by the Secretariat. He informed the meeting that the AfDB is expanding its presence and support to the Secretariat and IGAD Member States in financing critical activities including infrastructure development. He singled out the ongoing construction of Nairobi-Addis Ababa highway, Trade Facilitation studies of Kampala-Juba-Addis Ababa-Djibouti corridor, detailed design studies of Kapoeta-Raad-Boma road connecting South Sudan and Ethiopia, and also support to the IDDRSI programme. More projects and activities are in the pipeline for AfDB support. He closed his statement by expressing his optimism for productive discussions between IGAD and AfDB culminating in successful completion of the mission.
After three fruitful days of discussions between IGAD and AfDB the aide memoire was signed on 27th April 2016 at the IGAD Secretariat. According to the memoire the AfDB will fund the project at a cost of UA 2,638,258 (about USD 3.8 million). The project will be structured into two components: (i) Component 1- Regional Infrastructure Masterplan & Financing Strategy, and (ii) Component 2- Project Management & Capacity Building.
The aide memoire is expected to be approved by the AfDB Senior Management in May 2016. The Project Appraisal Document (PAR) will also be finalized and internally processed by the Bank by end of 2016, then submitted for approval by the Bank’s Board not later than September 2016, paving way for the immediate implementation of the project.