The IGAD region comprises of eight Member States, namely Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
The IGAD in the Horn of Africa was created in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), which had been founded ten years earlier to mitigate the effects of the recurring severe droughts and other natural disasters that resulted in widespread famine, ecological degradation and economic hardship in the region. The transformation to IGAD was geared towards enhancing cooperation in three priority areas: food security and environmental protection; economic cooperation, regional integration, and social development; and peace and security.
The 11th IGAD Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in 2006 recognised the importance of infrastructure projects as a vehicle for integrating the region and as a necessary catalyst of economic growth and development of IGAD Member States. In 1995, the leaders had agreed to expand cooperation in areas of infrastructure building, particularly for communications, energy, transport by land, air and sea and harmonisation, coordination and joint development of the region’s maritime, air and land transport to maximise the flow of goods and services.
The 2010 comprehensive roadmap for the IGAD Minimum Integration Plan geared towards creating a Free Trade Area (FTA) in the IGAD region recommended for developing an IGAD Regional Infrastructure Master Plan (IRIMP). The master plan was cited as a crucial ingredient in the achievement of the FTA. The preparation of IRIMP was completed in December 2020 and boasted of a holistic regional infrastructure investment approach. The IRIMP defines priority regional infrastructure in transport, energy, ICT and transboundary water projects for investment.
The IRIMP constitutes an approved regional infrastructure development blueprint for IGAD and will guide the selection and implementation of regional infrastructure projects at the level of feasibility assessments, preparation for bankability and investment. It also constitutes the basis for IGAD Member States’ commitment to a shared infrastructure development programme, in the form of a Declaration whose implementation is reviewed regularly.
The master plan identified priority infrastructure that range from simple projects that involve two Member States (MS) to complex ones that involve several or all MSs. In keeping with overall regional objectives, such infrastructure is targeted towards achieving strategic goals of poverty alleviation and regional integration. The IRIMP, once implemented, will enhance regional economic integration, thus promoting trade, movement of goods and persons and poverty reduction amongst its Member States.
The implementation of IRIMP is expected to:
· Facilitate easy connectivity within the region;
· Stimulate regional economic growth and thereby contribute to poverty reduction, and;
· Reduce isolation and promote regional integration and stability.