, ENTEBBE, Uganda, Feb 22 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on the regional leadership to work closely in ensuring that bureaucratic red tape does not impede development targets.
President Kenyatta emphasized that governments officials should facilitate the private sector instead of curtailing its operations.
“I have a problem with some bureaucrats who frustrate investors by taking more time approving projects. Where we have partners willing to do projects lets facilitate them,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Thursday in Entebbe, Uganda, at the opening of the Joint Retreat of East Africa Community Heads of State.
The President underscored Public-Private Partnership as a key component of regional development.
He cited the example of Kenya where significant progress has been made in infrastructural development through the Public-Private Partnerships arrangements.
“Am a strong believer in the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) model. We must aspire to facilitate these partnerships to accomplish projects that will quickly transform the lives of the people,” President Kenyatta said.
The President called on the region to come up with innovative ways of financing projects that have greater social returns and direct impact on the lives of the people.
President Kenyatta also expressed the need for the East African Community to sell itself as one region with a population of 160 million people to attract more investors.
“We have made a lot of reference to India. However India succeeded because it sold itself as a market of over one billion people where it became a base for attractive investments,” said President Kenyatta.
All East African leaders present agreed on the need for partnering with the Private sector to achieve faster regional development.
Host President Yoweri Museveni said he fully supports the model of working with the private sector to implement projects aimed at boosting the economy and making life easier for the people.
“We don’t have to waste more time moving in circles. The private sector can help build infrastructure and also develop our medical sector,” he said.
President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania said there was need for Governments and the private sector to look for a win-win situation so as to avoid exploitation of the citizens after completion of projects.
“The costs of producing electricity in the United States of America is 0.02, in the United Kingdom is 0.05 while in Africa it is ten times higher thereby making it more expensive,” he said.
The Tanzanian leader said all stakeholders need to agree on the best way to implement projects even as the region gears towards industrialization.
On his part, South Sudan President Salva Kiir said although most African countries boast of abundant resources, it has become difficult to exploit them due to conflicts.
He said some of the donor countries are also an impediment to the growth of African countries, saying his country is now facing a conflict which was to be resolved but the arms embargo announced by the American Government has embolden the rebel groups.
“What I need from the EAC member states is to remain as a block and not allow to be bullied by those who want to cow us and take our resources,” President Kiir said.
Other speakers included the First-Vice President of Burundi Gaston Sindimwo and Rwandan Infrastructural Minister James Musoni who represented their leaders at the retreat.
They both supported calls to have innovative models of financing through the Public-Private Partnerships so as to implement projects geared to the improvement of the East Africa region.