The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Peter Mathuki, and the Ambassador of Germany to Tanzania, Regine Hess, on Monday, November 8, signed technical and financial cooperation agreements worth $35 million to be injected in six-member bloc’s areas of integrated water resource management, economic integration and pandemic preparedness. The first technical cooperation project worth $3.8 million will be launched in January 2022. It aims at strengthening the capacities of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to fulfill its mandate in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). The second financial cooperation project valued at $17.3 million will focus on promoting further economic development of the region around the Lake Victoria. The Lake Victoria Basin is a designated regional economic growth zone which already generates about 40 per cent of the total GDP of all EAC Partner States and a crucial resource for the economic, ecologic and social development of about 40 million people living in its catchment area. Mathuki noted that the support will enhance the management the basin as well as contribute to increased water quality and water safety in the Lake Victoria Basin and the EAC. “This financing will play a huge part in contributing to environment development as we move towards exploiting the potential of this resource for the benefit of the Community,” Mathuki said. The third financial cooperation project, estimated at $13.9 million, will expand the ongoing EAC-German cooperation in pandemic prevention and strengthening of disease surveillance and control. Amb. Hess noted that by establishing a regional network of supranational and specialised reference laboratories, EAC pandemic preparedness capacities will be scaled higher and the EAC resilience towards future health challenges will be strengthened. “This gives the population access to a wide range of diagnostic services. Future outbreaks of disease can be identified at an early stage and epidemics and pandemics can be better prevented and controlled,” said Amb. Hess. Mathuki said Germany has been a strategic partner and walked the integration journey with the EAC for over 20 years; providing extensive technical and financial support to critical projects and programmes that have advanced the regional integration agenda. He lauded Germany’s support in the procurement of EAC Mobile Laboratories, which were deployed in the Partner States and are playing a critical role in the fight against Covid-19. The Mobile Laboratories in the Partner States have significantly reduced the turn-around time for testing in the areas of their deployment from the initial 72 hours to 10 hours, on average. Currently, more than 560,000 Covid-19 samples have been analysed, and 103 laboratory staff trained in the mobile laboratory while data collection for Covid-19 rapid diagnostics tests validation and sequencing studies have already started in Partner States. Amb. Hess dubbed EAC as a trustworthy Partner of Germany and reiterated her country’s commitment in supporting EAC build capacity of its institutions to ensure citizens feel the impact of regional integration.