East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 11th April, 2018: The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko has held discussions with officials from the Federal Republic of Germany’s Ministries for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Foreign Affairs, and KfW Development Bank on regional priorities for collaboration for the next three (3) years and signed a five (5) million Euros agreement to support the scholarship programme for East African students.
BMZ delegation was led by Hon. Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary; Germany Foreign Ministry delegation was led by Amb. Georg Schmidt, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel; and KFW delegation was led by Dr. Klaus Müller, KFW Director Eastern Africa, DR Congo, and African Union.
Amb. Mfumukeko informed his hosts that the main purpose of his visit to the three Institutions to appreciate the support of the Federal Republic of Germany is giving to the EAC integration agenda. He reiterated that for almost two decades, the Federal Republic of Germany has been supporting EAC through financial as well as technical cooperation and that so far Germany's contribution to the EAC amounts was almost Euro 285 million.
The Federal Republic of Germany has been supporting the EAC in Health and Pharmaceutical Sectors; Trade and Customs; Gender and Education; Monetary harmonization, Institutional Capacity Strengthening and EAC Partnership Fund.
During the meetings, the Secretary General highlighted the EAC priorities for the next 5-year years as spelt out in the 5th EAC Development Strategy, which was launched by the EAC Heads of State in February 2018. These include, among others, consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods, including agricultural and other widely consumed products; infrastructure development; further liberalization of free movement of labor across the Partner States; and enhancement of regional industrial development through investment in key priority sectors, skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development.
Others 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 institutional transformation at the regional and Partner State levels.
In addition to the areas that the Federal Republic is currently supporting, the Secretary General requested Germany to consider support the sectors of Agriculture, Industrial development especially Agro-processing, and ICT as part of institutional transformation.
In regard to support to agriculture. Dr. Klaus Müller, the KFW Director Eastern Africa, DR Congo, and African Union, urged the EAC to explore a mechanism of using the well-established East African Development Bank to channel some support to the smallholder farmers.
The possibility of channeling funds through commercial banks with specifics/favorable terms and conditions geared towards promoting companies acting in that sector was also discussed. KFW indicated that it was already supporting Agriculture initiatives at bilateral level but always channels the support through Development Banks.
The German officials agreed to explore different ways to support the EAC Agriculture at regional level, as well as ICT. Indeed ICT enhancement will enhance transparency and value for money in the regional bloc.
On industrial development, it was agreed that Germany and EAC shall collaborate for technology transfer, experience sharing and possibility of doing business to enable direct access to markets for EAC companies. KFW and EAC also discussed how the immunization programme with GAVI could be shaped up in the next 3 years.
On the scholarship programme, KFW recommended that the EAC should mobilize additional funds to support the propgramme from the Partner States contribution but also from other donors.
The Scholarship Programme will be implemented in cooperation with the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and KFW. The objective of this programme is to promote EAC’s regional integration agenda by supporting higher education students and their role in fostering awareness for the East African integration process, creating social change as well as economic growth.
Under Component A “Scholarships”, the Project offers financial support for academically skilled but disadvantaged master students with the main focus on Mathematic, Informatics, Science, Technology (MINT) or Business Science and women are especially encourage to join MINT-courses.
The students shall also become acquainted with another country of the EAC through a semester or full studies abroad, based on individual preferences. Comparable to the European Erasmus Programme, a higher degree of regional identity shall be promoted. At the Universities mentors will be selected in order to support the students during the master programme. The project shall finance the first three cohorts of master students of approx.157 students over their full study time of 2 years.
Component C will support capacity building within EAC and Partner States, and will be implemented by the EAC Secretariat.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hon. Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary reiterated the continued support by the Federal Republic of Germany to the education sector in the EAC. She said that her government was contented with the support to EAC to deepen the integration process, asserting that “for successful regional integration and development, young generation matters a lot, therefore the scholarship programme is very key”.
Also present at the meetings were Mr. Niels Breyer, Head of East African Division BMZ; George Rademacher, Deputy Head of East African Division BMZ; Mr. Ralph Timmermann, BMZ Head of Division East Africa, Horn of Africa, Sudan and South Sudan; and Mrs Arlina Elmiger, KFW Head of Division Health and Education.
The 1st EAC Development Partners Consultative Forum kicked off at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania today.
The EAC called the forum purposely to share with Development Partners the 5th EAC Development Strategy and priorities for the Financial Year 2018/2019.
Speaking when he officially opened the forum, EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said that the EAC had significantly strengthened its financial systems and procedures.
Amb. Mfumukeko disclosed that the Community had largely attained most of its objectives under the 4th Development Strategy, its implementation had suffered from inadequate financial resources.
“Development Partners’ contribution to the EAC Budget for the last five years remained almost constant for financial years 2012/13 and 2013/14, increased in 2014/15 and started decreasing in 2015/16 and significantly went down in 2016/17,” said the SG.
The SG said that despite the challenges, the Community had registered a number of achievements including the establishment of an interim Projects Coordination Unit to improve the management of donor-funded projects in the EAC.
The SG further said that the EAC had already recruited a Fund Manager for the Partnership Fund who has since reported for work, adding that this would enhance the management of the Fund and increase its efficiency.
“The Partnership Fund is a very special vehicle for EAC in terms of coordinating Development Partner support. It has continuously played a pivotal and catalytic role in supporting activities geared towards accelerating the Community’s agenda since its inception 10 years ago,” he said.
The 5th Development Strategy has seven key Priority Areas including: the consolidation of the Single Customs Territory to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods, particularly agricultural and other widely consumed products; infrastructure development; enhancing free movement of all factors of production as envisaged in the Common Market Protocol, and; enhancement of regional industrial development.
Other priority areas are: improvement of agricultural productivity, value addition and facilitation of movement of agricultural goods to enhance food security; promotion of regional peace, security and good governance, and; Institutional transformation at the regional and Partner States levels.
On the upcoming presidential election in the Republic of Kenya, Amb. Mfumukeko urged the Kenyan electorate to uphold the country’s pride as a regional leader by conducting their election peacefully on 26th October, 2017.
In his remarks, Danish Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC Einar Jensen said that Partner States would eventually take full control of funding the Community and urged them to remit their contributions to the EAC in time.
Amb. Jensen, who is also the Chair of the Partnership Fund, observed that funding levels to the EAC had been on the decline over the years, adding that this was not healthy for the Community’s financial situation.
“There is need for immediate intervention to address this situation. The Development Partners remain optimistic that together with steady, persistent effort, with strong principled commitments and hope, we will resist the challenges and emerge as stronger and truly collaborative partners,” said the Danish envoy.
Amb. Jensen said that misalignment between the EAC Medium Term Expenditure Framework and activities/projects approved by the donors have increasingly posed challenges in implementation of annual work plans, including notorious delays in approving the annual plans,” he said, adding that this has at times led to poor performance and a series of negative impacts.
He said that the potential of EAC as a region lay in the possibility of making it a truly single market, free from barriers, unnecessary tariffs, mutual understanding, predictable business environment in addition to peace and stability.
“It is out of such space the Partner States will do business and grow businesses, and create value and companies that will last and that will help to build a great future for the region. The Development Partners are determined to be that partner to accelerate the next era of East African growth for all East Africans,” said Amb. Jensen.
“The EAC is expected to be a real stimulant of growth and enrichment of the EAC people. We would like to see the EAC as a booming, growing, thriving market, where we can do business and where you have a young population that is surging. We are your partners in making this a reality,” he added.
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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.