The East African Community is definitely drawing a lot of attention from the international players, a clear indication that the bloc is headed to the right direction.
The EAC is home to 150 million citizens, of which 22% is urban population. As one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world, the EAC is widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in various key spheres for their mutual benefit.
The recent activity has been seen from Germany which committed a grant of over USD 35 million (EUR 31,5 million) to the East African Community (EAC) to further support the regional organisation in the areas of health, regional economic integration and education.
Germany’s commitment includes USD 14.5 million (EUR 13 million) for the continuation of the joint financial cooperation programme under the “Regional Network of Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases” and EUR 3 million for the technical cooperation programme “Pandemic preparedness in the EAC Region”, thereby supporting the EAC’s efforts in fighting communicable diseases and strengthening the EAC’s capacities in dealing with pandemics.
Delivering the Secretary General’s New Year Address 2019 to the staff of the EAC Organs and Institutions, Amb. Mfumukeko informed the staff that in 2018, the EAC set a record in resource mobilization. He disclosed to the staff that Over USD 100 million was mobilized from various Development Partners to support various projects and programmes in the Community.
In addition, the EAC and USAID signed a USD 20.5 million agreement for energy projects. This is in addition to the more than USD 200 million mobilized from USAID in the past two and a half years, added Amb Mfumukeko.
Furthermore, the Secretary General disclosed to the staff that the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Development Fund (ADF) approved USD 2.5 Billion for the implementation of new and ongoing priority infrastructure projects in the EAC region.
In 21st March,last year, The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, called on development partners to support the EAC region in the implementation of bankable priority energy projects.
Mr Bazivamo said this today during a roundtable meeting with the development partners on the sidelines of the ongoing Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.
“This is a call for strong commitment to ensure that energy is available, accessible and the people of EAC enjoy it”, said Hon. Bazivamo.
“We need to to ensure energy is efficient and affordable to the citizens, and if we are to facilitate industrialization in the region, we need to elevate energy to a (human) Right for the people of the region,” he added.
The Deputy Secretary General noted that there is need to come up with revolutionary concepts and approaches to implement projects that focus on enhancing access to energy. “It is important that we think of new ways to fast track the implementation of the various policies and strategies already developed,” he said.
Last year in December, Ireland launched a new partnership worth €1 million (Tsh 2.6 billion) with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to facilitate increased trade for Tanzania.
The partnership was launched by Ambassador Paul Sherlock and John Ulanga, Country Director, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Tanzania at TMEA’s offices in Dar Es Salaam.
This year has seen yet another partnership between TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and the AfroChampions Initiative (ACI).
The two have also signed a partnership agreement committing to provide support to governments and the private sector in realising the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. The agreement was signed by Frank Matsaert, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) CEO and Ali Mufuruki, Regional Chair, AfroChampions Initiative (ACI).
Both organisations have a common interest in building partnerships that promote economic integration as a strategic growth driver for the African continent. The areas of mutual agreement in the partnership include private sector engagement, strategic advocacy with governments and the private sector and improving access to information.
According to the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Libérat Mfumukeko, the USD 10.7 million (EUR 9.5 million) from Germany is committed to the continuation of the technical cooperation programme “Support to the EAC Integration Process” which supports the EAC in increasing intra-regional trade through value addition in productive sectors, better market access, improved customs processes and harmonized standards. USD 1.1 million (EUR 1 million) were committed for the ongoing programme “Strengthening of a Regional Quality Infrastructure” that focusses on reliable quality control mechanisms and services for products in selected sectors that are traded in the EAC region and exported abroad.
USD 5.5 million (EUR 5 million) are dedicated for the continuation of the “EAC Scholarship Programme” which supports East African Master students and is implemented in cooperation with the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA).
The German Ambassador underlined: “Germany remains a strong supporter of the EAC and the organisations’ efforts to enhance regional integration in its different facets. Strengthening economic integration, supporting the EAC in addressing key health and education challenges are at the core of our joint cooperation. Regarding our health cooperation, we believe it is vital to support the secretariat and the EAC Partner States to be better positioned when it comes to epidemics and pandemics.
According to the EAC Secretary General, Germany and the EAC have historically had strong and cordial relations since the founding of the EAC almost 20 years ago. For the last 20 years, German development cooperation has supported the EAC to the tune of USD 350M including the new commitments signed today.
“It is my sincere hope and trust that the EAC cooperation with Germany will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals.” He said.