India-EAC relations to be strengthened
Relations between India and the East African Community are set to be revitalised especially in the areas of trade, cultural exchange and development co-operation.
India’s High Commissioner to Tanzania and Representative to the EAC, Mr Sandeep Arya, said his country was keen on strengthening trade and cultural ties with the EAC, which date back several centuries.
Mr Arya said India already had bilateral projects in most of the EAC Partner States particularly health and agriculture, adding that they wanted to partner with the EAC to boost trade volumes and promoting industrial growth in East Africa.
Mr Arya said he would work closely with the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Indian Exim Bank in these initiatives, noting that these partnerships should for a start be between these two institutions and the East African Development Bank and the East African Business Council.
Mr Arya was speaking after presenting his credentials to the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania. Dr Sezibera thanked India for its support to the Partner States singling out the scholarships granted to students from the Partner States to study in India.
Dr Sezibera also cited the support granted to the Community by India in the preparation of the East African Railways Master Plan, the implementation of which he said would revolutionise the transport sector in the region.
He disclosed that that one of the challenges faced by the EAC in relation to the free movement of goods across the region was the porous borders with non-EAC neighbours, adding that this issue was being addressed.
The Secretary-General said there would be common Rules of Origin for goods within the EAC-COMESA-SADC Free Trade Area which is expected to become operational soon. He added that the EAC was also co-operating with COMESA and SADC on infrastructure development.
Dr Sezibera said the constitution making process for a Political Federation, the ultimate stage of the EAC integration process, would begin this year.
Later in the day, the Danish Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and Representative to the EAC, H.E. Einar Jensen also presented his letter of accreditation to the EAC Secretary-General, designating him as his country’s representative to the EAC.
In his remarks, the Danish Ambassador hailed EAC for the remarkable achievements so far recorded in the establishment of the Customs Union Protocol, Common Market Protocol and Monetary Union Protocol. “Denmark has chosen to formalise its relations with the East African Community in recognition of the aspirations and ambitions of the EAC”, noted Amb. Jensen.
The EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Sezibera, noted that the accreditation sets a new stage in the relationship between Denmark and the EAC. He lauded the long-standing ties between the EAC Partner States and Denmark, and reaffirmed the EAC’s commitment to strengthen the relationship.
Also present at the function was the Counsel to the Community, Dr Anthony Kafumbe.