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WB President Touts EAC Integration

Regional integration, like the East African Community, is the best option that developing countries could use to jointly mobilise resources to face trade and development challenges in the global market.


World Bank President Robert Zoellick said while addressing African journalists through video conference from Addis Ababa where he was attending an African Union Summit that cargo transportation, power supply and information communication and technology linkages can help the EAC beat off global challenges.

Regional blocs such as East African Community, ECOWAS and COMESA are good for markets but also to pull resources together such as electricity from Kenya can be supplied to other countries in the region," Mr Zoellick said.

Reiterating his earlier statement before African leaders in Addis Ababa, Zoellick stressed that regional integration will also allow countries to share water, security while allowing its people to move freely.

Among the several blocs which the 53 AU member countries belong to include Economic Community for West African States, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and Southern Africa Development Community.

The former United States Trade Representative pointed out that regional integration is a driver of economic growth and urged governments to put in place a conducive environment for the private sector to operate.

"Regional economic groups in Africa are expanding their roles in areas as diverse as security and trade liberalization," Zoellick said.

Expressing hope that the worst with global recession is over, the World Bank president pointed out that the world has a tough task ahead to repair the damage caused by the worst recession since the 1930s depression.

The Bank through IDA approved a supplemental credit of US$170 million to help Tanzania mitigate the impact of the financial and economic crisis. Growth had declined, in particular in sectors such as textiles, tourism, and cash crops that support exports and the rural population.

IDA also approved an Accelerated Food Security Programme under the Global Food Crisis Response Programme that will provide US$220 million to support three complementary operations.

By: Finnigan Wa SIMBEYE

Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)