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Tanzania to join EAC One Network Area soon

The United Republic of Tanzania will soon join the EAC One Network Area, which harmonises tariffs on voice calls within the East African Community.

The Director-General of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Dr Ally Yahaya Simba, said the harmonisation of mobile call tariffs which will significantly reduce roaming charges for calls originating from other EAC Partner States would come into effect as soon as the existing telecommunications policies and regulations have been revised.

Dr Simba disclosed that first to be harmonised would be roaming charges on voice calls, with data charges to follow later. The EAC Heads of State Summit at their last meeting directed the Council of Ministers to expedite the implementation of the framework for harmonised EAC roaming charges, including the removal of surcharges for international telecommunications traffic originating and terminating within the EAC by 15th July 2015.

Dr Simba was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha. The TCRA CEO, who was on a familiarisation tour of the EAC Secretariat, was accompanied by TCRA’s Deputy Director (Zonal Coordination), Mr Victor Nkya; Deputy Director (Postal Affairs), Mr Haruni Lemanya; Northern Zone Manager, Eng. Annette Matindi; and, Mr Julius Felix, Senior Frequency Management Scientist.

In his remarks, Amb. Dr Sezibera said the EAC One Area Network which has already been implemented by Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda would greatly enhance business within the Community.

Dr Sezibera said the Community had prioritised four main areas where progress must be made to drive the EAC integration process forward, namely Communications (harmonisation of roaming charges); civil aviation (high air travel fares); One-Stop Border Posts (transit charges); and, the need to actively engage the private sector in the integration process.

The Secretary-General said the EAC was currently negotiating with the Republic of South Sudan on the possibility of integrating the region’s broadband networks with the world’s youngest nation as a way of reducing voice and data roaming charges.

Dr Sezibera disclosed that postal numbering systems in the region would be harmonised so that people can be identified with their locations or residences.

He hailed the EAC Electronic Transactions (e-Transactions) Bill which is currently before the East African Legislative Assembly, adding that the Bill would provide a legal framework to govern online transactions which is a fast growing sector in the region.

Also present at the function was Mr Philip Wambugu, the Director of Infrastructure at the EAC Secretariat.

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.

EALA Members begin five-day Capacity Building workshop in Zanzibar

EALA Members commenced a five-day capacity building workshop on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Auditing processes yesterday in Zanzibar, Tanzania in a bid to enhance the oversight function of the Assembly.

EALA Speaker, Rt Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega said the workshop was deemed necessary to enhance the oversight function of the Assembly.

The capacity building workshop presents an opportune moment for EALA to be able to harness understanding of the technical workings of the MTEF budgeting and to comprehend the procedures that go on in the auditing processes.

“Interesting topics include the role of the Committee on Accounts and the Assembly in the Accountability process as well as the technical and political review of the Audit Commission Report. This is deemed necessary for the Members as a means to enhancing our oversight function”, the EALA Speaker said.

The Committees on Accounts and General Purpose called for enhancement of capacities in the field to arm the Assembly with the necessary skills and expertise and to improve the oversight function.

The EALA Members are also expected to undertake a capacity building course in Kiswahili to shore up their efforts in sensitising the citizens in the region.

The EALA Speaker remarked that Kiswahili was a key uniting factor for the region and in strengthening the integration process.

“As the integration deepens and specifically with the Common Market Protocol in effect, it is important for all EAC citizens to speak Kiswahili to avoid lagging behind. It is also expected to serve as an important tool in forging the much awaited Political Federation in the region”, Rt Hon. Kidega said.

Kiswahili is the lingua franca of the Community as envisaged under Article 137 of the EAC Treaty. Kiswahili is widely spoken in diverse regions across the EAC region.

He said Members would benefit a great deal by sharpening Kiswahili as they strive to sensitise citizens of the region.

“As an Assembly, we also have no choice but to perfect our Kiswahili. Already many of us are quite comfortable with Kiswahili, but this is no excuse for we need to be articulate, knowledgeable and fluent if we are to fully sensitise the citizens of this great region”, the Speaker added.

The Kiswahili Commission was established as an institution of the EAC and is based in Zanzibar.

The objectives of the workshop are as follows:

  1. To enhance capacity of Members in the MTEF, budgeting process;
  2. To enhance the capacity of Members’ technical knowledge on EAC Audited Accounts;
  3. To enhance the knowledge and fluency in the Kiswahili language;
  4. To enhance the Members’ capacity to accomplish the fulfilment of the functions and roles of the Assembly by improved effectiveness in 1 and 3.

Under the Audit function, the workshop inter alia, expects to enhance Members’ capacity to carry out the post audit function that encompasses the need to monitor the implementation of the budget in a manner similar to internal audit. This is pursuant to Rule 72(1) of the EALA Rules of Procedure that enables the Assembly to monitor the implementation of the budget of the Community through the Committee responsible for budgetary control and other relevant Committees.

Topics to be covered hereunder include: the role of the Committee on Accounts and the Assembly in the Accountability process; the technical and political review of the Audit Commission Report and auditing standards. Audit processes and the role of stakeholders in Accountability relationships shall be looked at.

The Consultants are drawn from the Audit Commission and the University of Zanzibar.

As the regional Assembly, EALA’s mandate encompasses legislation, oversight and representation. Sensitisation of publics is a key plank of EALA’s activities and is the theme of its Strategic Plan anchored on a people-centred approach to widening and deepening of the EAC integration process.

East African Business Council and Innovation Norway sign Memorandum of Understanding

The Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Monica Mæland, and the Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, today witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the East African Business Council (EABC) and Innovation Norway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The MoU was signed by Innovation Norway’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Anita Krohn Traaseth, while EABC Chairman Dennis Karera signed on behalf of his organisation.

Under the MoU, which will be effective for a period of five years, EABC and Innovation Norway agreed to work together on various agreed upon priority areas including trade facilitation; joint activities that are beneficial to both institutions including conferences, trade missions (both international and regional); and, business to business engagement both in EAC and Norway and the Nordic countries.

Some of the main areas of co-operation will be in the petroleum and education sectors with the latter focusing on the information and communication technology sector. The two parties further agreed to increase market access through information sharing; promote investment in both regions; and, capacity building and technical assistance.

EABC and Innovation Norway also undertake to jointly: work together to advocate for beneficial trade and good investment climate in the two regions; work together to develop business to business engagement to enhance business partnerships and networking; and, exchange information on business opportunities in both regions.

Earlier on, the Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Monica Mæland, and the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, held bilateral talks on possible areas of cooperation between Norway and the EAC.

The talks focused on the upcoming negotiations between the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and the EAC. The Secretary-General informed Ms Mæland that the EAC Council of Ministers was quite positive about the negotiations with EFTA. EFTA is an inter-governmental organisation which comprises Ireland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Founded in 1960, it promotes free trade and economic integration among its Member States.

EFTA Member States have expressed interest in strengthening ties with the EAC Partner States and have proposed a Joint Declaration on Co-operation between the two Parties. It is hoped that the Joint Declaration on Co-operation will be signed in November this year.

Also present at the function were the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, Ms Hanne-Marie Kaarstad; EAC Deputy Secretary-General (Planning and Infrastructure) Dr Enos Bukuku; Director-General Customs and Trade, Mr Peter Kiguta; and, other senior officials.

Secretary-General urges Tanzania Media to build Peace and Social Consensus

The Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera has urged the media fraternity in Tanzania to build peace and social consensus as the country prepares for the forthcoming General Elections slated for October 2015.

The Secretary-General, who was on Wednesday, 16 September participating in a two-day Tanzania Media Peace Forum 2015 convened by the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT), Trinity Group East Africa and the EAC Secretariat at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, said during the electioneering period, the media in Tanzania is expected to build peace, social consensus and cohesion, without which democracy is threatened.

Amb. Sezibera, who was represented by his Head of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Department, Mr Owora Richard Othieno, said “it will be unfortunate if the media in Tanzania take the path of fanning flames of discord by taking sides, reinforcing prejudices, muddling the facts and peddling half-truths during the electioneering period”.

He urged the media to shape public opinion responsibly and not to be influenced and manipulated by different interest groups in the society. “You are expected to promote democracy by among other things, educating voters, protecting human rights, promoting tolerance among various social groups, and ensuring that the government is transparent and accountable. Please don’t sow fear, division and violence which will lead to democratic decay”, asserted the EAC official.

In his keynote address, Dr Reginald A. Mengi, the Executive Chairman of IPP Limited and Chair of MOAT, commended the EAC Secretariat and the Trinity Group East Africa for bringing together the representatives of various political shades, religious organisations, international organisations, media owners, media practitioners and stakeholders to appreciate their various critical roles in deepening democracy in Tanzania.

Dr Mengi reiterated that for a long time Tanzania had been a haven of peace, a situation, which has given the country international applause and that the peace is a huge national asset and guarantees the country’s unity and national security.

“If we create and breed social instability, our existing peaceful co-existence will vanish at a great loss to all Tanzanians and the nation, and it will be very hard to reorganise and restore it”, noted the MOAT Chair.

The Chair cautioned the media on reporting what candidates and their campaigners say while looking for votes. “Newsrooms, online portals, radio and television producers, should report stories and developments that aim to promote peace and national unity”.

A representative of the Head of the European Union Delegation in Tanzania, Mr Fabio Di Stefano said the role of the media during elections cannot be under estimated and that development partners were ready to accompany the Tanzanian people during the general elections.

Rev. Canon Thomas Godda, the Executive Director of the Inter-Religious Council for Peace Tanzania and Mr Tom Ndahiro, former Head of Department of Civil and Political Rights in the Rwanda National Human Rights Commission shared their views on the role of the media in democracy and peace building.

Secretary-General sends condolence message to President Museveni on the tragic and untimely death of General Aronda Nyakairima

The Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera has sent a message of condolence to His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda on the tragic and untimely death of the former Chief of Defence Forces and Minister for Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, the late General Aronda Nyakairima.

In a message dispatched today, the Secretary-General, on behalf of the East African Community mourns the passing of “a great son of Uganda and a towering figure of our time who has left an indelible imprint on the history of Uganda”.

Amb. Sezibera notes that the late General Nyakairima played a big role in deepening the EAC integration process in regard to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Co-operation in Defence in the Community, while serving as Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces.

“Together with his fellow Chiefs of Defence Forces from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, the late General Nyakairima worked so hard through the Sectoral Council on Co-operation in Defence to ensure that the MoU is implemented to the letter”.

He says through the MoU, the EAC Partner States have continued to pursue an elaborate programme of activities of confidence building among the Defence Forces such as Joint Operations, Technical Assistance, Visits and Exchange of Information, Cultural Exchanges and Sports Competitions, to enhance a spirit of comradeship among the Armed Forces in the region.

The MoU, which has now been upgraded into a Protocol, lays emphasis on unity, peace, stability and strength to defend the region’s common interests.

The Secretary-General further observes that due to the dedication of the region’s Chiefs of Defence Forces, the Defence sector had undertaken the initiative to evaluate the defence co-operation with a view to coming up with a roadmap leading to a Defence Pact once the Protocol on Co-operation in Defence is ratified by all the Partner States.

“The entire East African Community and I share with Your Excellency, the bereaved family and the government and people of Uganda, the feelings of great loss at this moment of deep sorrow”, concludes the message.

EAC Secretary-General receives credentials from Swiss and Turkish ambassadors

The East African Community Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, today received credentials from the Ambassador and Representative of Switzerland to the EAC, Mr Arthur Mattli.

Speaking at the function, Amb. Mattli said that his appointment was out of his government’s commitment to deepen its co-operation with the EAC. Amb. Mattli noted that the EAC had made significant achievements including promoting regional trade and infrastructure development, adding that Switzerland was keen on providing support to drive the integration process forward. The Swiss envoy said his country was following the integration process closely and urged the EAC to engage the youth in their projects so that they can embrace the idea of regional integration.

He said the EAC could particularly collaborate with Switzerland in the area of vocational training which he noted has been his country’s key to economic growth.

“Switzerland’s secret to economic growth is vocational training. We have the smallest country in Europe, which is also the least populated and the lowest education per capita in terms of university graduates in Europe. However, we have the highest level of patents and innovations. This shows that you need not have the highest number of university graduates in order to innovate”, said Amb. Mattli. Amb. Mattli said that vocational training in Switzerland is through public-private partnerships, adding that education must be meaningful to any economy.

“Lessons must be practical so innovations start very early. Investors want skilled people, not just people entering the job market”, he said, adding that for vocational training to be taken seriously, artisans must be given as much respect as highly educated people.

In his remarks, Amb. Dr Sezibera said the youth were a critical target for the EAC and disclosed that the Community had appointed youth ambassadors who were doing an excellent job promoting the integration process.

Dr Sezibera said the youth should not only buy into the integration but should be able to benefit from the process. The SG said the Community’s Education department was currently working on framework for vocational training in the region, which would address issues of training, qualifications and certification.

He, however, expressed concern that most Partner States had moved away from vocational training towards university education which is more academic rather than being practical.

Dr Sezibera urged Switzerland to consider supporting the EAC through the Partnership Fund, a basket fund which he said had enabled the Community to make significant achievements in various sectors.

The Secretary-General also called for Swiss support in upcoming negotiations between the EAC and the European Free Trade Area.

Meanwhile, the EAC Secretary-General Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera also received credentials from the Turkish Ambassador, Ms Yasemin Eralp, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Present at the function were EAC Deputy Secretaries-General, Dr Enos Bukuku (Planning and Infrastructure) and Mr Liberat Mfumukeko (Finance and Administration), as well as Mr Peter Kiguta, Director-General (Customs and Trade).

EAC to collaborate with ICRC to tackle Humanitarian Issues in East Africa

The Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, met with Mr Thierry Meyrat, Head of Regional Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss ways in which the two institutions can collaborate on areas of common concern, with the exclusive objective of safeguarding human dignity of the people of East Africa. The meeting took place today at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

In line with the EAC’s vision of creating a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable and politically united East Africa, this collaboration will help in buckling down the influx of refugees across the region.

Amb. Sezibera requested Mr. Meyrat to provide the Community with training in international humanitarian law for staff, Partner States and other members within the EAC. Other areas of co-operation will be stipulated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) being prepared by the two institutions.

“We are very keen on working in close collaboration with the EAC and in supporting it fulfil its mission on issues of concern to the ICRC”, said Mr Meyrat. “We are also happy in supporting the EAC to enhance its capacity to address specific humanitarian issues and at the same time, seek EAC’s support to facilitate its humanitarian work among its Partner States”, he said.

Visit of the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland

The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland and an accompanying Norwegian business delegation will visit East African Community Headquarters on September 17, 2015. The purpose of the visit is to promote stronger commercial ties between EAC and Norway within sectors of mutual interest.

The Hon. Minister is expected to hold discussions with the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera on among others, Trade related matters, and thereafter, witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the East African Business Council and Innovation Norway. Immediately after the signing of the MoU, the EAC Secretary-General and the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry will brief the press.

Members of the press are hereby invited to cover the visit and participate in the events.

WHAT: Visit of the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland

WHEN: Thursday, 17 September 2015

WHERE: EAC Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania

TIME: 3PM (East African Time)

Confirm your participation for this event latest by tomorrow 4pm to Mr Florian Mutabazi on Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Telephone: +255 753 288428

EAC Secretary-General meets with Indian Minister of State for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship

The Indian Minister of State for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship and a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, H.E. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, over the weekend met the East African Community Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Minister briefed Amb. Sezibera on the upcoming India-Africa Summit, which will take place in New Delhi in October this year and extend an invitation to EAC and other Regional Economic Communities to participate. Dr Sezibera appreciated the invitation from the Government of India and commended the ongoing preparation to host 3rd India-Africa Summit.

Meanwhile, the EAC Secretary-General briefed his guest on the latest developments in the regional integration process including implementation of the EAC Customs Union Protocol, Common Market Protocol and Monetary Union Protocol.

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