Communique from Finance Ministers Roundtable

We, the Finance Ministers of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, met virtually today, 31st
March 2021, during the World Bank Group/IMF Spring Meetings, to take forward our efforts to
foster economic integration under the Horn of Africa (HoA) Initiative. At today’s Roundtable, we
welcomed the continued participation of Sudan as an observer and of IGAD. We welcomed
Sudan’s progress in re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions, and agreed to
quickly consider including Sudan as a regular member of the HoA Initiative and to consider how
IGAD’s knowledge can be utilized to advance the Initiative. We would like to acknowledge the
support and commitment of our development partners — the African Development Bank, the
European Union, and the World Bank Group — in helping advance the Horn of Africa Initiative.

Our region shares a lot in common and we reiterate our strong commitment to economic
integration and regional cooperation in the Horn. Through our bilateral channels and intergovernmental organizations like the African Union and IGAD, we will continue to strengthen our
political and diplomatic dialogue for our common good and the betterment of our people. In
parallel, we see a strong need for continuing our cooperation to, ensure economic recovery from
the adverse impact of the Covid19 pandemic, address the effects of climate and other shocks on food
security and accelerate regional trade in goods and services. The HoA Initiative provides a
platform for our governments to support the dialogue and cooperation in these matters and to
secure critical financing to back our efforts. We, as Finance Ministers, are committed to
continuing to lead the important work of the HoA Initiative.

We reiterate the call from the World Health Organization, Africa Centre for Disease Control and
Prevention and others to accelerate the supply of Covid19 vaccines for African countries. This is
a top priority for all our countries and for ensuring economic recovery and helping the Horn to
build back better. Without timely distribution of the vaccines, our efforts to fully realize the
benefits of deepening integration will be delayed. We thus note the commitment of various
development partners to help finance the vaccines and their delivery through ongoing and parallel
country efforts.

The HoA Initiative has so far mobilized over $3.3bn from the three development partners to
finance critical regional priorities in transport connectivity, energy trade, digital economy, trade
facilitation, agropastoralism, locust control, and building resilience. We appreciate that these
projects are likely to be approved and ready for implementation during the next year. Over the
coming months, we also propose to reach out to other partners and the private sector to join
efforts to finance the remainder of the $15bn HoA Initiative priority financing package developed
in October 2019. Subject to the resumption of normal travel, we will aim to organize a head of the state
event later in the year to seek the guidance of our leaders in taking forward the next phase of
economic integration priorities under the HoA Initiative.

At our last meeting in October 2020, we recognized that investment in infrastructure and other
physical assets is a necessary requirement for deepening integration. We, however, recognize
that this will not be sufficient. Today, we discussed the need for policy actions to accompany
physical investments in order to expand regional markets and provide benefits at scale. The
importance of accelerating project preparation activities including feasibility and design work for
infrastructure projects was also underlined. We welcomed the main outcomes from the two
technical workshops on digital and energy held during March. We have asked our teams to
further consult and present to us by the end-June a set of initial policy actions on trade facilitation
and addressing Non-Tariff Barriers during the recovery period and helping us take forward the
AfCFTA agenda.

We thank Minister Ilyas Dawaleh for effectively leading the HoA Initiative over the past year and
have requested him to continue with the chairmanship till towards year’s end. The Chair will
continue to be supported by an adequately staffed Secretariat to be financed under the newly
established HoA Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The proposal of the Chair to also support Focal Points
will be considered in due course.

Regional integration and the HoA Initiative are integral components of the recovery from the
current crisis, which is necessary to build the markets and jobs for the future that will help our
people thrive. As Ministers, we move forward together to strengthen connectivity in the Horn;
build the trade and markets necessary for inclusive, resilient, and sustainable growth; continue to
strengthen the human capital in the face of the COVID crisis; reinforce resilience to climate
and other shocks. The urgency to advance is stronger than ever and we will continue to work
with each other and with all partners to advance this important agenda. To this effect, we will
also consider scheduling HoA Ministerial Meetings on the basis of a predictable quarterly
timetable.

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