Arusha, Tanzania– The EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the EAC Partner States and International Development Partners are in the final preparations for the Joint EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development scheduled for 21st -22nd February, 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, in Kampala, Uganda.
The joint Heads of State Retreat themed “Deepening and widening regional integration through Infrastructure and Health Sector Development in the EAC Partner States’’ is aimed at accelerating the attainment of the objectives of the EAC Development Strategy, African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals in the infrastructure and health sectors in the EAC.
The Heads of State will address infrastructure and health development and financing in East Africa. The Retreat will be followed by the 19th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State to be held in Kampala on 23rd February, 2018.
The Retreat is expected to give impetus to infrastructure and health development by way of harnessing political support for regional flagship projects, funding commitments, and Public-Private Partnerships arrangements.
The retreat will be preceded by the separate infrastructure and health sector investors’ and donors’ round-tables on 21st February 2018. Also to be held prior to the Retreat will be Ministerial Session of the 36th Meeting of the Council of Ministers and the Ministerial Session of the 35th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Council.
The separate donor round tables will be held at ministerial level and will review progress of implementation of previously prioritized infrastructure projects and deliberate on investment opportunities and funds mobilization strategies for quicker delivery of prioritized regional infrastructure and health projects.
The Retreat Programme includes an International Infrastructure and Health Sector Exhibition that will run from 21st to 22nd February, 2018. The Exhibition will provide a platform for players in the Infrastructure and Health sectors to showcase new products and services as well as exhibit the latest advances in research and innovation.
Focus areas of the retreat under the infrastructure sector
The joint retreat is being convened at a time when the region’s 10-year infrastructure priorities that were agreed upon during the 3rd Heads of State Retreat held on 29th November, 2014 in Nairobi have transitioned from the conception phase to the implementation phase.
The joint retreat will among other things review the status of implementation of the priority projects including relevant policy directives, mobilization of the required financing and implementation of the resolutions proposed to address the challenges observed at the 3rd Retreat.
The retreat will target key priority projects in railways, ports and inland waterways, energy and connecting roads prioritized to de-congest the cities and enhance logistics at the ports. Likewise, as agreed during the 3rd Retreat, the 4th Retreat is expected to receive a report on the projects and programmes of the civil aviation and airports sub sectors.
Further, the Heads of State will consider the strategies being developed to engage with the private sector in the development of these projects, the enhanced collaboration with the development partners (in particular African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA); the World Bank, the EU, JICA and TMEA among other development partners.
Focus areas of the retreat under the health sector
The Joint Retreat is being held at a time when the EAC Partner States are expanding the capacity for the delivery of high quality health services, training and research such as through the AfDB/Partner States’ financed regional centers of excellence (RCoE) for Kidney Diseases (Kenya); Heart Diseases (Tanzania); Cancer (Uganda); e-Health, Biomedical Engineering and Health Rehabilitation Sciences (Rwanda); and Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management (Rwanda).
With support from the Federal Republic of Germany (through the German Development Bank), the Partner States are also jointly operationalizing an EAC Regional Network of Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases (including rapid deployment of state of the art mobile diagnostic medical laboratories) to strengthen the region’s capacity to diagnose and respond to pathogens of biosafety level 3 and 4 nature and other infectious diseases, prone to cause cross-border epidemics.
The retreat will provide policy guidance on: the EAC’s agenda to eliminate HIV/AIDS and preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030; advance medical tourism; strengthen pandemic preparedness and response; enhance local manufacturing of medicines and health products, and; catalyze job creation through the health sector thereby ultimately expanding and consolidating health sector contribution to the socio-economic development of the region.
The retreat is expected to have about 700 participants including local and international exhibitors. Ministers, Permanent/Principal Secretaries and Senior Officials from government institutions and agencies; high-level guests from the international community including AU, Heads of State from the Tripartite (COMESA, EAC and SADC), ECOWAS, IGAD and sub-regional organizations are expected to attend.
Also expected are multi-lateral and bi-lateral development partners, international financial institutions, corridor management agencies, local and international investors/private sector, Universities, and civil society and EAC Organs and Institutions.
Exhibitors will include Pharmaceutical and Medical Technologies Manufactures and Dealers; Health Insurance Providers; Regional Centres of Excellence for Healthcare; Network of Reference Laboratories; Traditional/alternative Medicine Producers, Infrastructure Contractors (Ports, Railways, Airlines, Oil and Gas); Investment Banks; Telecommunication Companies; Civil Society Organizations; among others.
The registration fees for participation in the international health and infrastructure exhibitions is categorized as follows:
· Platinum = US$ 3,000 for 2 days
· Gold = US$ 2,000 for 2 days
· Silver = US$ 1,000 for 2 days