DAR ES SALAAM - The East African Community is seeking alternative mechanisms for raising funds to support its activities to supplement the grants from the European Union and the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ), its key donors, as it becomes apparent that fundraising remains the Community’s biggest challenge.
EAC Secretary-General Juma Mwapachu said the new mechanisms will see the region’s bigger economies that earn huge revenues from Customs, remit a proportionate chunk towards the EAC budget.
“Funding has been a challenge because 40 per cent of the EAC budget is donor-dependent. And our governments are also equally dependent on donors.
So the EAC in that respect can only mirror the national budgets. We are looking into alternative mechanisms so that member states contribute based on the percentage of revenue from Customs,” said Mr Mwapachu.
Currently, the five partner states contribute equally, a situation that is deemed unfair to smaller economies such as Burundi, which has also emerged from 15 years of conflict not too long ago.
Burundi and Rwanda acceded to the EAC Treaty in 2007 and were given two years in which to harmonise their institutions with those of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the pioneer members of the Community.
However, a few aspects remain a challenge for the new members, not least of which is meeting their annual contributions to the region’s budget.
At the recent EAC Peace and Security conference in Kampala, the EU Head of Delegation to Tanzania Tim Clarke said that the Community was one of the beneficiaries of the euros 300 million ($447 million) fund till next year under the African Peace Facility and a further euros 300 million ($447 million) was available after 2010.
The money however is open to several organisations and projects across the continent involved in anti-terrorism, elimination of small arms and anti-money laundering, leaving the EAC with a smaller share of the fund.
Along with other regional economic communities — the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development and the Indian Ocean Community — the EAC is also set to benefit from the EU’s infrastructure fund worth euros 645 million ($961 million).
However, Mr Clarke, who also represents the European Commission at the EAC, added that they are “yet to arrive at a decision on what amount of this money the EAC will manage.”
Partly, these funding gaps are down to the number of projects and programmes that the Community is keen on accomplishing within such a short time since it was revived 10 years ago.
The EAC has reached the first two stages of integration — the Customs Union and Common Market — within that time.