Two regional groupings, the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) and the East African Community (EAC) have signed an agreement providing for a framework for cooperation between the two blocs.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on Thursday in Arusha, Tanzania, will enable both blocs to provide mutual assistance to each other as well as enhance cooperation and friendly relations among the six partner states of these organisations.
Secretary General Amb. Richard Sezibera signed on behalf of the EAC, while Herman Tuyaga, the CEPGL Executive Secretary, penned on behalf of CEPGL.
Under the deal, the parties agreed to harmonise their efforts so as to improve efficiency and enhance their cooperation in areas of regional integration.
Borders management, eradicating non-tariff barriers and facilitating free movement of people, goods, services and capital, economic development, especially through joint infrastructure; support for economic activities in the areas of agriculture and food security, industry and trade as well as human resources development are some of the key areas of cooperation.
The blocs also want to cooperate in the area of democracy and good governance at national and local levels, particularly through the promotion of the rule of law, fight against corruption, and respect for civil and human rights.
The five-member EAC comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, while the three-member CEPGL has two EAC members – Burundi and Rwanda, plus the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
EAC and CEPGL have a combined population of 201 million people.