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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For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org
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.