Secretary General meets Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection in Nairobi
East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 01 September 2016:
The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko met with the Republic of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Phyllis Kandie, on 30th August 2016 in her office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Amb. Mfumukeko briefed the Cabinet Secretary on five possible areas of strategic focus for the Community in the next five years (during his tenure), which include among others; consolidation of the East African Community Customs Union with focus on expansion of the list of goods under the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods including agricultural and other widely consumed products.
Implementation of the Common Market, particularly enhanced efficiency in utilisation of natural resources and further liberalization of free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States; enhancement of regional industrial development through investment in key priority sectors, skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development are also the strategic priority areas being proposed by the Secretary General.
Others on the list include improvement of agricultural productivity, value addition and facilitation of movement of agricultural goods to enhance food security in the region; promotion of regional peace, security and good governance; and lastly institutional transformation to, among other objectives, inculcate ethical leadership and enhance integrity in the management of the Community’s resources.
The Secretary General updated the Cabinet Secretary on the progress being made in the implementation of the reforms he instituted in the EAC Organs and Institutions in May 2016 that target cost reduction in the EAC projects and programmes. Amb. Mfumukeko disclosed that the reforms, which target savings to the tune of US$ 6 million in the Financial Year 2016/2017, were already showing positive results in that for the first three months of implementation (May to August 2016), the first estimates point to savings of US $588,768 in travel expenditures.
The Secretary General also shared with Hon. Phyllis Kandie some of the challenges the EAC Secretariat is facing as a result of delayed budget contributions from the Partner States and the long delay in getting disbursement from African Union, which is impacting on some programmes including that of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) Project.
The Secretary General also updated Hon. Kandie on the state of preparations for the upcoming 34th Meeting of the Council of Ministers scheduled for 1st to 5th of September 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania, and the 17th Extra-ordinary Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community scheduled for 8th September 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Hon. Phyllis Kandie reiterated Kenya’s support to Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko’s leadership and his efforts geared towards implementing reforms that focus on cutting cost at the EAC Secretariat. She said all Partner States were going through austerity measures so the Secretariat is not an exception.
The Cabinet Secretary counseled the Secretary General on the need for firm leadership, saying “firm leadership and making tough and well informed decisions for the benefit of regional integration were part of your job requirements”.
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About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
East African Community
EAC Close, Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
United Republic of Tanzania
Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
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Email: eac [at] eachq.org