MEDIA BRIEFING BY CABINET SECRETARY, TREASURY & ECONOMIC PLANNING, HON PROF NJUNGUNA NDUNGU AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE 15TH MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLE HELD AT THE RADISSON BLU HOTEL, NAIROBI ON MARCH 8TH, 2023
I welcome the Media to this press briefing called to update you on the Horn of Africa Initiative. We the Ministers of Finance of the countries under the Horn of Africa Initiative have successfully concluded the 15th Ministerial Roundtable here today in Nairobi. The Meeting was chaired by the CS, Treasury and Economic Planning, Republic of Kenya, and attended by Ministers of Finance from Djibouti, Ethiopia (Virtually), the Federal Republic of Somalia, and the Republic of South Sudan. Eritrea was represented here by its Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya.
The Ministers were joined by Representatives of the African Development Bank, the European Union (Virtually through video), and the World Bank. We are very grateful to our Development Partners who were not only represented at the Roundtable today but continue to affirm their support in addition to the already committed resources. We are also pleased to be joined by other Partners; notably; IGAD, and representatives from the UK and Japan, who participated as Observers
1.0 BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE HORN OF AFRICA INITIATIVE
The Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) is a country-led regional initiative launched in October 2019 to promote regional economic integration as a way to foster peace, stability, and sustainable development in the region.
The countries committed to driving the Initiative with the support of the African Development Bank, the European Union, and the World Bank.
HoAI provides an open forum for regions at Finance Ministers Levels to discuss and agree on collective actions to promote economic integration. It is anchored on a solid development package along 4 pillars:
- Improving regional infrastructure connectivity (transport corridors, energy, and digital integration);
- Promoting trade and economic integration (trade, growth, and regional value chains);
- Building resilience (climate change and related shocks, including droughts, floods, the locust crisis, and conflict in the region’s borderland areas) and
- Strengthening human capital development (boosts skills and improves access to social services for the people of the Horn of Africa).
The Vision of HoAI is to work together to build a prosperous, integrated, and peaceful Horn of Africa. Its founding principles among others are based on:
- National ownership and regional integration
- Focussed on regional priorities while strengthening synergies with a national effort
- Political commitments, policy alignment, and implementation
The Initiative calls for USD 15 Billion over the next decade, for supporting the development of the 4 pillars. So far, it has mobilized USD 7.2 Billion of concessional financing for projects under the priority pillars
This morning at the Roundtable, we revisited the progress of the HoAI, took note of the existing challenges, and explored new areas of engagement, all of which shall be contained in the Communique to be released in due course. In summary, I wish to highlight the following areas of our deliberations:
2.0 SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS
- The deliberations focused on Digital Convergence and Policy Harmonization and on Innovative Pathways under HoAI that revolve around Livestock Resilience and Trade Facilitation. These exchanges not only served for us to update each other on progress but also formed a basis to dialogue on mobilizing private sector investments, including the financing options in the value chains.
On Digitization, the HoAI is keen to optimize modalities around strengthening policy and regulatory harmonization, cyber security, and attendant matters. Further discussions are expected during the two parallel knowledge-sharing sessions this afternoon with broader audiences in attendance. Members of the Press are duly invited to cover the afternoon sessions as well.
- Other salient discussions this morning included-enhancement of Private Sector Engagement including embracing broader engagements under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and other specific opportunities under HoAI and PPPs in the formulation of policies and complementing investments.
- We have also discussed the modalities of how to mobilize more resources, given the evolving internal and external situation in the Horn with additional countries joining and notably the Republic of South Sudan.
- I wish to state that the HoAI has in subsequent meetings discussed efforts to manage the ongoing drought and food insecurity in the Horn, including building long-term resilience. The matter remains of great and top concern to us.
Finally, the Republic of Kenya has formally handed over the Chair of the Initiative in line with the principle of rotation to Ethiopia. I wish to thank you all for the collaboration and support rendered to me (and to my predecessor), Hon Amb Ukur Yatani during the period the Chair was under the Republic of Kenya.
I wish to thank all my colleagues, the Finance Ministers from the Horn of Africa countries as well as the Development Partners for their attendance and active participation. I wish you all the best in the endeavor to build a prosperous, integrated, and peaceful Horn of Africa.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Questions from the media within the Horn of Africa framework and on the discussions if any can be handled here.