Regional Integration :AfDB Unveils Strategy for Central Africa
The general framework requiring some FCFA 2,400 billion over the period 2019-2025 will help to increase integration in the sub-region from 2 per cent to 6 per cent.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has officially made public its Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP-CA) to cover Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea. The paper which proposes a general framework of operations in Central Africa over the period 2019-2025 was unveiled in Yaounde, Monday September 16, 2019. The presentation ceremony was co-presided by Cameroon’s Minister of Economy Planning and Regional Development cum AfDB Governor in Cameroon, Alamine Ousmane Mey and the Director General of the AfDB Central Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office, Dr Ousmane Dore.
According to Youssouf Kone, Regional Integration Coordinator at the AfDB Central Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office, the RISP-CA is consistent with the Bank’s 10-year strategy which makes regional integration one of the institution’s five strategic priorities – the others of which are Feed Africa, Light Up and Power Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. He said implementing RISPCA will require circa FCFA 2,400 billion which will be pumped into some 30 projects over the seven-year period. The funds will be sourced from partners as well as the Bank.
Going by the RISP-CA, an estimated 88 per cent of the circa FCFA 2,400 billion planned funding will be channeled to reinforcing regional infrastructure in energy, transport, and information and communication technology, while 12 per cent has been earmarked for developing intra- regional trade and building institutional capacity in regional economic communities. The AfDB also plans specific operations in the likes of strengthening resilience to food insecurity, promoting the socioeconomic reintegration of vulnerable groups, and conserve ecosystems in the Congo Basin. The RISP-CA is expected to achieve eight principal outcomes, amongst them: to better quality of transport and greater access to regional markets; improved access to reliable and affordable energy for the population and the private sector; better-connected transport infrastructure; denser terrestrial interconnections and national fiber-optic backbones; and more decent employment and sustainable economic opportunities.
Dr Ousmane Dore called on all actors to come on board so as to valourise the potentials of the resource- rich Congo Basin. He said though the level of integration in Central Africa is below the continental average of 14 per cent, the success of the RISP-CA will help drive increase integration in the sub-region from 2 per cent to 6 per cent