World Bank promises US$1billion to Great Lakes Region

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World Bank promises US$1billion to Great Lakes Region

On the first day of an historic joint United Nations/World Bank Group mission to the Great Lakes region, the World Bank Group announced $1 billion in proposed new funding to help countries in the region.

The funding will provide better health and education services, generate more cross-border trade, and fund hydroelectricity projects in support of the Great Lakes peace agreement that was signed by 11 countries in February, this year.

The announcement was made ahead of the World Bank Group’s President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who is currently traveling with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on a three-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda,

Kim said that a secure and developed Great Lakes region was vital to Africa’s efforts to dramatically reduce extreme poverty and create prosperity for millions who have had little economic opportunity.

“We made extraordinary efforts to secure an additional $1 billion in funding because we believe this can be a major contributor to a lasting peace in the Great Lakes region,” Kim said.

“This funding will help revitalize economic development, create jobs, and improve the lives of people who have suffered for far too long. Now the leaders of the Great Lakes region, by restarting economic activity and improving livelihoods in border areas, can boost confidence, build economies, and give new opportunities for millions of people.”

Kim said the new regional pledge, in zero-interest financing from the International Development Association (IDA), will support two major regional development priorities: recovery of livelihoods to reduce the vulnerability of people living in the Great Lakes whose communities have suffered greatly during conflict in the region; and revitalizing and expanding cross-border economic activity to spur greater opportunity and integration in the areas of agriculture, energy, transport and regional trade.

The World Bank’s proposed additional funding includes roughly $100 million for supporting agriculture and rural livelihoods for internally displaced people and refugees in the region; $340 million to support the 80 megawatt Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project for Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania; $150 million for the rehabilitation of the Ruzizi I and II hydroelectric projects and financing for Ruzizi III, supplying electricity for Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC; $165 million toward building roads in DRC’s North and South Kivu and Province Orientale; $180 million for improving infrastructure and border management along the Rwanda-DRC border; and additional millions of dollars for public health laboratories, fisheries, and trade facilitation programs among others.

 

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Based in New York, Patrick is a Wall Street Broker and Financial Pundit. He works as a Foreign Consultant for Rwanda Eye. His insights on the current economic trends and its impact on Rwanda and Africa, makes him an invaluable asset to Rwanda Eye.

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