The 2nd East African Community (EAC) Development Partners Consultative Forum aimed at promoting better coordination of development support to the bloc by various development partners was held Tuesday at its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The forum sought to foster synergies and leverage available resources while avoiding duplication of efforts in financing EAC programmes and projects.
Addressing the forum, the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said over the last five years, development Partners had committed about US$500 million direct and technical support to various aspects of the EAC integration.
“With this revamped collaboration, the EAC has been able to progress the integration agenda with remarkable speed,” said the Secretary General.
He disclosed that the main contributors to the EAC Development Programmes include Germany, the USA through USAID East Africa, European Union (EU), and the African Development Bank. The total German contribution to EAC amounts to €286,541,354.42; USAID $237,823,555; and the EU Euro 65,000,000.
Amb. Mfumukeko expressed EAC appreciation for the approval of the African Development Bank Regional Integration Strategy Paper for Eastern Africa (EA-RISP 2018-22), in which EAC Projects worth about US$2 billion have been considered in the RISP indicative operational programme. This includes loans to the EAC Partner States for regional programmes and grant to the EAC.
The Secretary General said that the EAC has transformed itself from a loose co-operation framework into a fast-emerging, solid and dynamic regional economic bloc. He added that the EAC has evolved strong institutions and vigorous programme delivery, which are already making an impact on the economies of the region.
Amb. Mfumukeko said that the EAC has been ranked as first among the eight (8) Regional Economic Communities (RECs) from the recently Africa Regional Integration Index Report launched in Addis Ababa through the collaboration between the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Union Commission (AUC)
He however called for more partnerships with the business community and, in particular, the East African Business Council in industrial development through investment in private sector development, improvement of doing business environment and finally an enhance.
On his part, the head of Delegation of the European Union, Amb. Roeland van de Geer said the forum is valuable for Development Partners to ensure an alignment of their respective cooperation programmes with those of the EAC.
He appreciated the willingness of the EAC Secretariat to engage on sector specific priority areas particularly on key regional priorities given the wide and ambitious portfolio of EAC.
Roeland emphasized the need for involving all EAC institutions and representatives of key regional non-state actors including the private sector in the forum to share their valuable experience of regional integration.
He assured the EAC that all Development Partners are willing to support the key priorities of as EAC articulated in the 5th Development Strategy endorsed in February 2018.
In his remarks, Mr. Marcellin Ndong Ntah, the lead Economist from the African Development Bank said the Development Partners Consultative Forum promotes the principle of ownership of the development assistance that may be availed to the EAC and its Partner states to drive Region’s development agenda.
He hailed the EAC for establishing the forum noting that it would enable better coordination of development assistance by Development Partners to the Community.
The Forum was attended by: Ambassadors accredited to the EAC; Members of the Proposed EAC Development Partners Group; Other EAC Development Partners and Representatives from EAC organs and institutions among other.