EAC Investment Sectors
The EAC priority investor sectors/ areas include agriculture and agribusiness; infrastructure; manufacturing; energy; mining and metals; oil and gas; tourism; education, research and innovation; and health.
Agriculture and agribusiness:
Agriculture is still the backbone of the EAC economy and is the number one employment sector. The sector also contributes greatly to GDP growth. Agriculture remains central to the industrialization of the EAC as it provides markets for industrial products and raw materials for industries, especially the agro-processing sector. The region has millions of hectares of arable land suitable for agricultural mechanisation and irrigation. The investment opportunities include commercial farming, deep-sea fishing, agro-processing, value addition in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and forestry products.
Infrastructure is one of the most critical enablers of successful regional integration, taking into account its importance in facilitating activities such as trade, agriculture, tourism, and the movement of labour and other resources. Thus, the EAC recognises that regional infrastructure interventions are key to attracting investment into the region, improving competitiveness, and promoting trade. The sector has the following sub-sectors: Roads; Railways; Aviation; Communications and Inland waterways. The infrastructure and support services sub-sector covers roads, railways, civil aviation, maritime transport and ports, multi-modal transport, freight administration and management. The EAC operates 5 modes of transport systems consisting of road, rail, maritime, air transport and oil pipeline. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities exist in intra-EAC road and railway networks as well in Airports and Port projects
Manufacturing is a key sector in EAC’s economic development, both in its contribution to the regional output and exports, and for job creation. Emphasis in the EAC Partner States is on setting key targets and specific goals to steer industrial growth including the development of Special Economic Zones, Export Processing Zones, industrial parks and clusters, and niche products. There are a wide range of direct and joint-investment opportunities in this sector, including agro-processing, garments, the assembly of automotive components and electronics, plastics, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals and engineering products for domestic and export markets. Also, the region offers abundant natural resources which provide plenty of raw materials for the manufacturing industries such as cotton for garment and textile industries, sisal for canvassing, iron for steel, as well as various minerals and gemstones.
EAC is endowed with diverse energy sources including hydro, biomass, natural gas, coal, geothermal, solar and wind power and uranium, much of which is untapped. Investment opportunities exist in generation of energy from biogas, hydrocarbons (natural gas, oil, and coal), uranium and renewable resources; generation of energy from solar, wind; extraction of biofuels; and geothermal exploration and development.
Mining and metals:
Mining has placed EAC in the higher ranks of African economies in terms of attracting FDIs. EAC is endowed with a variety of industrial minerals and precious metals as well as gemstones.
Oil and Gas:
South Sudan has huge oil deposits and huge quantities of oil were recently discovered in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Oil exploration is ongoing in the EAC Partner States. In Tanzania, there have been several gas discoveries on the coastal shore of the Indian Ocean at Songo songo, Mnazi bay, and Mkuranga in the Coast Region. These discoveries are catalysts of natural gas developments in Tanzania. The EAC region is becoming an oil and gas hub that is presenting a lot of investment opportunities and attracting a lot of FDIs. Most opportunities are in exploration and extraction.
Tourism is one of EAC’s most important industries and has strong linkages with transport, food production, retail, and entertainment. EAC is still one of the most popular tourist destinations and has many investment opportunities in the tourism sector. The investment opportunities include the establishment of resort cities; branding of premium parks; construction of internationally branded hotels; Development of high-quality Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) tourist facilities and conference tourism facilities; and health and sports tourism.
Education, Research, and Innovation:
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the EAC have never been ranked among the top 300 HEIs globally. EAC achieving its social and economic development objectives is largely dependent upon its most valuable resource – its people. Yet the research and innovation output is still low and needs to be improved if the region is to graduate to lower middle income status. The investment opportunities in this sector are in establishment of specialised education, research and innovation institutions to address specific regional human capital requirements and research and innovation needs of the region. Regional innovation ecosystems are grossly lacking and need to be established in partnership with the private sector.
The EAC Heads of State considered and approved the following health investment priorities in the health sector:
- expansion of access to specialized health care and cross border health services;
- strengthening the network of medical reference laboratories and the regional rapid response mechanism to protect the region from health security threats including pandemics, bio-terrorism and common agents;
- expansion of capacity to produce skilled and professional work force for health in the region based on harmonized regional training and practice standards and guidelines;
- increase access to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines, vaccines, and other health technologies focusing on prevalent diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV/Aids, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other high burden conditions;
- upgrading of health infrastructure and equipment in priority national and sub national health facilities / hospitals;
- establishment of strong primary and community health services as a basis for health promotion and diseases prevention and control;
- expansion of health insurance coverage and social health protection;
- improvement of quality of healthcare, health sector efficiency and health statistics; and
- strengthening of health research and development.