The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany committed a grant of over US $35 million to the East African Community (EAC) to further support the regional organisation in the areas of health, regional economic integration and education.
The EAC Secretary General, Amb. Libérat Mfumukeko, and the German Ambassador to the EAC, Dr. Detlef Wächter, jointly signed the agreement in Arusha.
Germany’s commitment includes US $14.5 million for the continuation of the joint financial cooperation programme under the “Regional Network of Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases” and EUR 3 million for the technical cooperation programme “Pandemic preparedness in the EAC Region”, thereby supporting the EAC’s efforts in fighting communicable diseases and strengthening the EAC’s capacities in dealing with pandemics.
US$ 10.7 million) was committed to the continuation of the technical cooperation programme “Support to the EAC Integration Process” which supports the EAC in increasing intra-regional trade through value addition in productive sectors, better market access, improved customs processes and harmonized standards. US $1.1 million was committed for the ongoing programme “Strengthening of a Regional Quality Infrastructure” that focusses on reliable quality control mechanisms and services for products in selected sectors that are traded in the EAC region and exported abroad.
US $5.5 million is dedicated for the continuation of the “EAC Scholarship Programme” which supports East African Master students and is implemented in cooperation with the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA).
Wächter said: “Germany remains a strong supporter of the EAC and the organisations’ efforts to enhance regional integration in its different facets. Strengthening economic integration, supporting the EAC in addressing key health and education challenges are at the core of our joint cooperation. Regarding our health cooperation, we believe it is vital to support the secretariat and the EAC Partner States to be better positioned when it comes to epidemics and pandemics.
The current Ebola crisis in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo highlights the necessity for regional cooperation dramatically.” On Germany’s commitment in the education sector, the Ambassador added, “From our experience in Europe, we know that regional integration is futile if we leave the youth and young generation behind.”
Beneficiaries of the scholarship programme will not only have improved job perspectives through this programme but they themselves will become ambassadors for the East African Community. We need this young generation to carry the EAC’s vision forward, added Wächter.
On his part, Libérat Mfumukeko said that the Federal Republic of Germany and the EAC have historically had strong and cordial relations since the founding of the EAC almost 20 years ago. For the last 20 years, German development cooperation has supported the EAC to the tune of US $350 million. “It is my sincere hope and trust that the EAC cooperation with Germany will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals.’’