The East African Community needs $78 billion to fund its mega infrastructure projects touted to boost the region’s economic activity.
Of the amount, $62 billion would be used on railways, roads and energy projects in a bid to ease transportation and boost manufacturing.
The EAC heads of state and governments gathered in Kampala this week for the Infrastructure and Health Summit were Thursday told that only six per cent of the money, some $5 billion, had been raised.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the current chairman of the EAC, said the region could issue infrastructure bonds which he termed as “one of the interesting options.”
President Museveni said Uganda will revamp its metre gauge railway in the medium term as it awaits construction of the standard gauge line.
Construction of the SGR has been hit by funding delays.
In the region, only Kenya has completed its first phase of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR line, which Mr Museveni noted had reduced the cost of transport.
By 2025, EAC targets to have upgraded 7,600km roads, laid 4,000km SGR, and increased the combined installed capacity of electrical power generation from 4245MW to 6734MW.
In additional, the region hopes to construct 3,000km of oil pipeline and an oil refinery, and improve efficiencies at the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports.
On health, EAC plans to set up regional centre of excellence for higher medical education and research supported by the African Development Bank.
Mr Museveni urged drug manufacturers to set up shops in the region saying it was a worthwhile investment.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, John Magufuli of Tanzania and Salva Kiir of war-torn South Sudan attended the meeting. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza sent representatives.