By Our Reporter
The EU Ambassador to Tanzania and the East African Community, Manfredo Fanti and the Secretary General of the EAC, Amb. Libérat Mfumukeko, today launched a new Euros. 16.4 million joint programme to strengthen regional economic integration, through advancing implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols.
In particular, the Common Objectives in Regional Economic Integration (CORE) programme will be instrumental in moving towards a fully-fledged Customs Union, by supporting more robust information, communication and technology (ICT) based data exchange protocols for the clearing of goods. Thanks to digital solutions, customs operations will be simpler, quicker, as well as safer during this pandemic situation thereby resulting in a reduction of the costs of cross-border trade.
A new impetus will be given through this programme to promote free movement of services, a crucial building block for the creation of the EAC Common Market. The CORE programme will support implementation of services’ liberalisation commitments, facilitating mutual recognition of professions and allowing companies to provide their services beyond their national borders. During the first two years, the focus of this programme will be on the insurance, accounting and distribution sectors. Additional sectors could be covered at a later stage.
The capacity of the EAC Secretariat will be enhanced in order to ensure that this institution can deliver its overall mandate.
“The economic integration of the East African Community is at the heart of our cooperation agenda. This programme will be a catalyst for making the economic integration a reality,” said Ambassador Fanti.
On his part, EAC Secretary General Amb. Mfumukeko expressed the Community’s appreciation for the continuous support from the European Union to the EAC. He said the financing agreement comes at the right time when the Community had just marked its 20th Anniversary, adding that the EU had made significant contribution to the achievements made by the EAC in all the four pillars of integration, namely: the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.
“It is my sincere hope that the EAC cooperation with EU will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals. The EU has for many years provided significant support to various EAC programmes in sectors as diverse as peace and security, promotion of democracy and good governance, and fisheries, ’’ said Mfumukeko.
This 60-month programme will be implemented by the EAC Secretariat. It will complement several other initiatives to providing economic empowerment to the people of the East African Community.