The East African Development Bank (EADB) was established in 1967 with the remit to provide financial and other support to its member countries, which currently are Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. Burundi has applied to become a member state. It was re-established under its own charter in 1980 after the break-up of the East African Co-operation in 1977. The new charter opened up the Bank to a wider membership and allowed for the introduction of consulting and advisory services.
The EADB’s loan portfolio is spread widely, but more than 60% of its lending is to projects in health and education, hotels and tourism, construction and building, electricity and water, and agriculture, all of which are central to the current and future prosperity of the region and its people.
The concrete results of EADB’s lending can be seen all over the region.
Hotels that the EADB has supported include the five-star Sultan Sands Island Resort in Zanzibar and the Outspan Hotel in Nyeri, Kenya, part of the Aberdare Safari Hotels group.
EADB sees education as immensely important for the future of East Africa. The Bank has given long-term support to Sunshine Education’s school in Nairobi. Its long-term loan to Shajar Schools in Tanzania made it possible for more girls to get a secondary school education and created 137 jobs into the bargain.
School to university is a natural progression and the demand for tertiary education in East Africa keeps on growing. For its part, EADB made a long-term loan to the Africa Nazarene University near Nairobi and has also supported the Uganda Christian University outside Kampala. UCU is a good example of East Africa’s thirst for higher education – its student numbers have skyrocketed from 300 to more than 11,000 in its 15-year history. The Bank also financially supported the development of an IT infrastructure at Strathmore University in Nairobi which created 300 jobs.
Agriculture is a key sector in East Africa and one of its most important crops for hefty export earnings is tea. The EADB has lent more than USD 1 million to Kayonza Tea Factory, located about 400 kilometres south west of Kampala, which now has more than 5,000 farmers and 600 workers. The EADB has also supported the Igara Growers Tea Factory in western Uganda.
The health sector also has a growing demand in the region. The EADB took an equity stake in the Karen Hospital in Kenya, which has 102 beds, three operating theatres and employs more than 400 people.
Energy is also essential for Africa’s development, but the continent suffers from a yawning gap in its power needs. In 2010, Africa’s entire installed capacity of electricity was the same as that of Spain. Sub-Saharan Africa lives on less energy than Mexico. Yet the continent has huge natural and renewable energy resources in the form of wind and water. The EADB is one of the financial supporters of the Lake Turkana Wind Project in Kenya.
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