Infrastructure & Utilities

    Power supply and energy: Power generation in the region is largely hydro- based. In 2019, 14.8 US cents is the average cost for one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity for East African domestic and industrial consumers. Hydro-power as an energy source is excelling in the region but suffers from a lack of distribution infrastructure. Kenya has managed to lower energy costs to consumers due to long-term investments in developing its geothermal energy production. This stable source of renewable energy gives Kenyan consumers more consistent access to electricity. The EAC countries have high solar energy potential. A significant debate involves land use for solar versus use of land for agricultural or mining purposes. Biomass energy is another option that is explored.

    Water and sanitation: One basic goal of the EAC Governments is to ensure access to safe drinking water within a reasonable distance for their citizens. Public water supply is available to the majority of the population in urban areas throughout the EAC region. However, domestic and industrial waste management has remained a serious environmental challenge in most urban areas in the EAC Partner States. 

    Telecommunications: The telecommunications sector is liberalised in all the Partner States. The communications infrastructure is modernised to meet business needs in the region. There is sufficient coverage of mobile network across the EAC. Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda are in a One-Area-Network that has enabled easy communication across the EAC Partner States where the roaming costs have been harmonised and calls across these Partner States are treated as local calls. Tanzania and Burundi are in the process of joining the One-Area-Network. The telecommunications sector in each Partner State is regulated by a government agency established by an Act of Parliament or a Presidential decree. However, South Sudan currently has no telecommunications regulator.

    Table 2.3: Telecommunication regulators in the EAC Partner states

    Country Agency Website
    Burundi Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications http://arct.gov.bi
    Kenya Communications Authority of Kenya https://ca.go.ke
    Rwanda Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) http://www.rura.rw/
    Uganda Uganda Communications Commission https://www.ucc.co.ug
    Tanzania Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority https://www.tcra.go.tz

    The Road network: There are two transit corridors that facilitate import and export activities in the EAC and neighbouring countries:

    • The Northern Corridor (1,700 km long) commencing from the port of Mombasa and serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.
    • The Central Corridor (1,300 km long) begins at the port of Dar-es-Salaam and serves Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Eastern DRC.

    There are also five major transport corridors in the EAC, i.e.

    • Mombasa - Malaba - Kigali - Bujumbura
    • Dar es Salaam - Rusumo with branches to Kigali, Bujumbura and Masaka
    • Biharamulo - Sirari - Lodwar - Lokichogio
    • Nyakanazi - Kasulu - Tunduma with a branch to Bujumbura
    • Tunduma - Dodoma - Namanga - Isiolo - Moyale

    These main transport corridors are in good condition, and with the Road Fund boards and Road Agencies established in Partner States, these transport corridors remain a priority for maintenance. The majority of feeder roads in each Partner State are also well maintained to support business at both national and regional levels.

    Air transport: EAC has ten (10) international airports. There are other airports and airstrips spread across the EAC Partner States. With the exception of Burundi and South Sudan, the rest of the partner states have national airlines.

    Table 2.4: International Airports and National Carriers within the EAC

    S/N Country International Airport (s) National Airline Other Carriers
    1 Burundi Melchior NDADAYE International Airport (Bujumbura International Airport)    
    2 Kenya Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Mombasa International Airport (MIA)      Eldoret International Airport in Kenya Kenya Airways  
    3 Rwanda Kigali International Airport Rwanda Air  
    4 South Sudan Juba International Airport    
    5 Tanzania Dar es Salaam International Airport (DIA)  Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA)      Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (Zanzibar International Airport) Air Tanzania Precision Air
    6 Uganda Entebbe International Airport Uganda Airlines  

     Several airlines fly into and out of these international airports within the EAC. It is very easy to travel by air within EAC Partner States and beyond.

    Railways: 
    The railway system is more developed in Kenya and Tanzania with the recent construction of standard gauge railway (SGR) in both countries in a phased manner. Some SGR routes are still under construction and others are planned for construction. The leaders of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda signed a tripartite agreement for the development and operation of the SGR between Mombasa-Kampala-Kigali, with branch lines to Kisumu (Kenya) and Pakwach/Gul-Nimule (Uganda). Convinced of the benefits of the high-speed train, South Sudan also acceded to the agreement in May 2014 to extend the line to Juba. Despite the delays in execution of the project due to funding challenges, the railway project is set to increase the region’s competitiveness and lower the cost of doing business.

    Water ways and ports: 
    Despite the existence of large water masses, especially the freshwater lakes, in the region, waterways remain underutilized. The key water way services are on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa.  The services include cargo freight and passenger transport services on Lake Victoria (linking Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda), Lake Tanganyika (linking Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia), and Lake Nyasa (linking Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique).  Seaports in the region consist of the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga in Tanzania whereas Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda are landlocked. The ports have been modernised including dredging to handle world-class freighters. This has led to increased cargo handling. The two major ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa serve not only the EAC but also other landlocked countries, including Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.