By Our Reporter
The East African Community Secretariat and the EAC GIZ programme supporting East African Integration on behalf of the German Government, today signed an implementation agreement worth US$16 million for continuing support for EAC regional integration through their SEAMPEC and Pandemic Preparedness programmes.
The programmes are managed through the EAC-GIZ partnership to continue to grow regional economic and social integration which already has a significant impact in the region.
The Support to East African Market Driven and People Centred Integration East Africa (SEAMPEC) programme, through its multiple cross-cutting initiatives, takes a holistic approach to regional integration that encompasses civil society as well as the public and private sectors. Through targeted work in sectors including agro-processing, pharmaceuticals as well as services sectors such as tourism and ICT, SEAMPEC aims to facilitate the improvement of framework conditions to help create more competitive industries and cross border opportunities.
“GIZ and the Secretariat have been developing and managing key projects working with partners across the EAC region with a focus on making the Common Market, Customs Union and integration a reality.
Through the SEAMPEC programme many businesses and civil society organisations have all benefited from collaborating on the ground and high-level networking and coalition activities. We are proud to continue to implement programmes which are showing real results and bringing tangible benefits to the citizens of the EAC,” said Dr Mike Falke, GIZ Country Director for Tanzania and EAC.
Another US$3 million of the funding are going towards the ‘Support to Pandemic Preparedness in the EAC Region’ project, which started in March 2017 and entered its second phase in September 2019. This project is working closely with the EAC to implement the Regional Contingency Plan under the interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral One Health approach and to establish the discipline of risk and crisis communication in the region.
The project supports the EAC Secretariat in its coordinating and advisory role in the prevention and response to cross-border outbreaks. The project builds on important preparatory work and ensures that when pandemic health threats become a reality, EAC countries are in the best position to respond.
“Diseases such as Ebola and Dengue Fever are claiming lives and destroying livelihoods right now. High population density, increasing cross-border trade, climate change and many other factors increase the risk of spreading these infectious diseases. Being ready to respond and having the tools and expertise to be effective in emergency situations is crucial,” said Irene Lukassowitz, GIZ project manager. Following a successful cross border field simulation exercise between Kenya and Tanzania in June 2019, another field simulation exercise at the border between South Sudan and Uganda in 2020 will prepare the region even better.
“Germany’s development cooperation, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union (EU), has to date contributed to the regional integration in East Africa through a variety of programmes and projects aimed at building up regional expertise and value adding to trade, industrial development, innovation and investment. GIZ has been working with the EAC for over 20 years, building capacities and expertise at the EAC Secretariat and for regional stakeholders.
SEAMPEC and the Pandemic Preparedness programme already have many achievements, and by continuing to grow these initiatives and invest in their successes we are confident that real EAC development is happening,” said Dr Kirsten Focken, GIZ Cluster Coordinator.